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Buy-In: $7,500 + $200
Prize Pool: $1,873,275
Entrants: 261

No-Limit Hold'em Championship (WPT)

  • Mar 25, '08 - Mar 28, '08
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Updates on Final Day (Mar 28, 08)

 
 

Lee Markholt Wins the 2008 WPT World Poker Challenge

Markholt Makes his 15th Cash on the WPT his Most Impressive

By Ryan Lucchesi

The final table at the 2008 World Poker Tour World Poker Challenge featured two talented professional players looking for their first WPT win, and four solid, up-and-coming players. The reigning Card Player Player of the Year, David 'The Dragon' Pham, made his sixth final-table appearance, and his second in Reno (he finished third in this event last year). Lee Markholt embarked on his first final-table venture, which gives him 15 cashes for his career on the WPT. These two pros both had high hopes when the final table began, but they held quite different chip stacks when the cards got into the air shortly after 5 p.m. PDT:

Seat 1: Zachary Hyman - 285,000
Seat 2: Jeff DeWitt - 249,000
Seat 3: David "The Dragon" Pham - 406,000
Seat 4: Jason Potter - 1,156,000
Seat 5: Bryan Devonshire - 674,000
Seat 6: Lee Markholt - 1,137,000

The short stack at the final table wasted little time trying to make a move, and he risked all of his chips on the eighth hand of play:

Markholt raised under the gun to 40,000, and Jeff DeWitt called from the button. The flop came K75, Markholt bet 70,000, and DeWitt thought for about ten seconds before he announced, "All in." Markholt studied DeWitt and carefully examined the size of his stack. After a minute of deliberation, Markholt called with pocket queens and DeWitt turned over J10 for a diamond flush draw. The turn and river fell 24 and Markholt's queens held to win the pot. DeWitt was eliminated in 6th place, earning $84,297.

Markholt now held the chip lead and he increased it even further when he tangled with the Dragon a few hands later. Markholt picked up a 407,000 pot off of Pham with a pair of jacks, which sent the two pros on divergent paths during early play. Markholt was in good shape, while Pham was the new short stack at the table. Markholt was not completely invincible though, and Zachary Hyman proved that point when he doubled up through Markholt to survive on the 18th hand of play. Hyman ironically faded 18 outs that Markholt had with the AJ in the hole, and 10873 on the board on the turn, against his pocket fours. The river brought the Q and Hyman survived. Hyman built on this momentum and challenged Markholt for the chip lead a short time later after he scored a 765,000 pot against Jason Potter. Hyman hit a perfect river card (8) on the hand, which gave him a jack-high straight over Potter's set of eights, and Hyman crossed the million-chip mark after the hand.

Pham was pretty low at this point with just under 200,000, but he managed to more than double up without a single player calling his all-in bet of 115,000 on a flop of 875. Markholt, Hyman, and Bryan Devonshire all mucked their hands and Pham survived without having to show a single card. The next time the Dragon moved all in, he did have to show his cards and the outcome was a little different:

Pham raised under the gun to 86,000, and Markholt made the call from the small blind. The flop brought AQ7, Markholt checked, and Pham bet 131,000. Markholt moved all in and Pham thought for a minute before he called all in with A2. Markholt showed down A10 and he had Pham dominated.

The turn and river fell 102, and both players finished with two pair, but Markholt won with aces and tens, to increase his stack to about 1.95 million. Pham was eliminated in fifth place, earning $93,664, and has now finished in sixth, fifth, fourth, third (twice), and second place at WPT final tables, but a WPT title still eludes him.

A few hands later Devonshire hit an ace on the river to double up through Potter, and the result of that hand led to Potter's ultimate demise on hand 61:

Hyman had the button in seat 1, and he raised to 140,000. Potter moves all in from the small blind for 190,000 and Hyman called with A5. Potter showed down A3 and the board came Q8487. Hyman hit a flush on the river to win the hand, increasing his stack to about 1,035,000. Potter was eliminated in fourth place, earning $103,030.

The next elimination followed suit and was set up by a huge blow a few hands before the third-place finisher made his exit. Markholt scored a huge pot worth 855,000 off of Hyman with a pair of kings, and this sent Hyman on an inevitable path to destruction. It only took one more hand before Hyman would hit the rail.

Hyman moved all in from the small blind for 385,000, and Devonshire called from the big blind with pocket nines. Hyman showed down KJ and the board ran out QQ7410. Devonshire won the pot with two pair, queens and nines, and Hyman was eliminated in third place, earning $149,862.
Heads-up play was a short-lived affair. Just two hands in, Devonshire got all of his chips in the middle. After he was quickly called, Devonshire knew he was in trouble with his pair of fours. Trouble was an understatement, because Markholt had him drawing dead with two pair. Devonshire certainly enjoyed his time at the final table, and his second-place finish earned him $271,625.
Markholt was more than excited to finally get the monkey off his back and take down a WPT title. The former bull-rider walked away with $493,815 and a $25,000 seat into the WPT championship this April at Bellagio.

Here are the final results:

1. Lee Markholt - $493,815
2. Bryan Devonshire - $271,625
3. Zach Hyman - $149,862
4. Jason Potter - $103,030
5. David Pham - $93,664
6. Jeff Dewitt - $84,297

 

Hand #72: Lee Markholt Wins the WPT Reno World Poker Challenge ($493,815)

Hand #72 - Lee Markholt has the button, he completes to 40,000, and Devonshire checks his option. The flop comes 432, Devonshire bets 60,000, and Markholt calls. The turn card is the J, Devonshire bets 150,000, Markholt raises to 600,000, Devonshire thinks for a bit before he moves all in, and Markholt instantly calls with J4 for two pair, jacks and fours. Devonshire shows 84 for a pair of fours.

Devonshire is drawing dead, and Markholt has already won the tournament.

The meaningless river card is the 3, and Markholt wins the hand -- and the tournament -- with two pair, jacks and fours.

Bryan Devonshire is eliminated in second place, earning $271,625.

Lee Markholt wins his first WPT title in his 15th WPT cash, earning $493,815, which includes entry into the WPT World Championship at Bellagio in April. This victory puts Markholt over the million-dollar mark in WPT earnings, making him the 86th WPT Poker-Made Millionaire.

Player Tags: Lee Markholt,   Bryan Devonshire
 

Hand #71: Lee Markholt

Hand #71 - Bryan Devonshire has the button, and he folds.

 

Heads-Up Play Begins

After Layla's interviews and two takes of the money presentation, the final table is ready to resume. Bryan Devonshire starts with the button.

Reminder: In heads-up play, the button has the small blind and acts first before the flop.

 

Official Chip Counts

We are waiting for WPT hostess Layla Kayleigh to interview the two final tablists before heads-up play begins, and then there will be a quick money presentation involving attractive women in black cocktail dresses.

Here are the official chip counts:
Lee Markholt - 2,380,000
Bryan Devonshire - 1,525,000

 

Hand #70: Zach Hyman Eliminated in 3rd Place ($149,862)

Hand #70 - Lee Markholt has the button in seat 6, Hyman moves all in from the small blind for 385,000, and Devonshire calls from the big blind with 99. Hyman shows KJ, and it's a race situation.

The flop comes QQ7, and Devonshire retains the lead with his pocket pair. The turn card is the 4, and Hyman needs a king or a jack on the river to stay alive.

The river card is the 10, and Bryan Devonshire wins the pot with two pair, queens and nines.

Zach Hyman is eliminated in third place, earning $149,862.

There will be a short break before heads-up play begins. Official chip counts will be posted soon.

Player Tags: Bryan Devonshire,   Zachary Hyman
 

Hand #69: Lee Markholt Wins a Pot Worth 855,000 Against Zach Hyman

Hand #69 - Bryan Devonshire has the button in seat 5, Markholt completes the small blind to 40,000, and Hyman checks his option. The flop comes K32, Markholt bets 40,000, and Hyman calls. The turn card is the Q, Markholt bets 140,000, and Hyman calls. The river card is the 10, Markholt bets 200,000, and Hyman calls.

Markholt shows K7 for a pair of kings, and Hyman mucks. Lee Markholt wins the pot worth 855,000.

Player Tags: Lee Markholt,   Zachary Hyman
 

Hand #68: Lee Markholt

Hand #68 - Zach Hyman has the button in seat 1, Devonshire completes the small blind to 40,000, and Markholt checks his option. The flop comes A75, Devonshire checks, Markholt bets 60,000, and Devonshire folds. Lee Markholt takes the pot.

 

Hand #67: Bryan Devonshire

Hand #67 - Lee Markholt has the button in seat 6, Hyman completes form the small blind to 40,000, Devonshire raises from the big blind to 120,000, and Hyman folds. Bryan Devonshire takes the pot.

 

Hand #66: Lee Markholt

Hand #66 - Bryan Devonshire has the button in seat 5, and Markholt raises from the small blind to 120,000, winning the blinds and antes.

 
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