These Weeks’ Big Winners – May 12th

by , May 12, 2011 | 7:29 pm

As you’ll see somewhere further down the page, I was a bit busy on the other side of the poker industry last week, thus delaying this column. Other things delaying this column include the NBA Playoffs, a little league baseball game, and finally a wasp sting on my left pointer finger. But I digress. Unfortunately I didn’t make enough of a score or lock up enough points to necessitate a trip down to New Orleans for the next few weeks. Such is life. There’s been plenty of poker around the world in the meantime, and here are some of the biggest scores.

Von Kriegenbergh Wins Inaugural WPT in Florida, Longest Name Contest
WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Hollywood, Florida


Florida has been a new frontier for poker over the last year, and the final “first” in a long series was the first ever televised $10K event, the WPT’s Seminole Hard Rock Showdown. The first event of its kind got quite the turnout, with 433 players in total generating a prize pool north of $4.1 million. With the exception of Curt Kohlberg, the final six was a young group, with notables such as Tommy Vedes and Allen Bari.

After a rollercoaster ride of a final table, where Taylor Von Kriegenbergh started with the chip lead, then lost it, he fought his way back to the top to capture the crown. For his efforts, Von Kriegenburgh won over $1.1 million.

Heinzlemann Plays Bridesmaid For Second Consecutive Week in San Remo
EPT San Remo, Italy

C/O PokerStars Blog

Almost anyone has the capability of being lucky enough to final table any single event, but some of the most memorable and impressive feats in the poker world are easily recognizable when they occur back to back. For the second time in this season of the EPT, a player has finished second in two consecutive Main Events, a feat that takes a bit of the sting out of not closing it out.

Max Heinzelmann once again got down to heads up play in a massive field, and this time it was Rupert Elder getting the best of him. Elder’s performance netted him €930,000, but Heinzelmann accumulated over €1,000,000 in less than two weeks, so it’s not all bad.

Crane Hooks Spring Borgata Championship
Borgata Spring Poker Championship, Atlantic City, New Jersey

C/O Borgata

Most of the tournament action in the United States is driven by tournament series’ that travel around the country. A few casinos have been able to harness a strong local population to run their own tournaments, with Commerce, Foxwoods and the Borgata coming to mind. The Borgata’s most recent series, the Spring Poker Open, culminated in a $2,500 event with 447 runners.

Among the notables in the field were Kathy Liebert, Maria Ho, Josh Brikis, Jason Young, Lee Childs and “Hollywood” Dave Stann. Matt Matros made the final table and finished ninth, but it was Russel Crane, a tournament grinder that travels the country, who took this tournament down. Crane’s payday was a sizable one, coming in at $276,949.

Chris Johnson Runs Away With WSOPC Las Vegas Title
Caesers, Las Vegas, Nevada


Without openly rooting, members of the poker media generally pull for the player who has the most chips, in order to facilitate the fastest trip to post-action drinks and other festivities. The $1,600 WSOPC Main Event at Caesers Las Vegas may go down in the record books as one of the fastest of all time, and you need look no further than a tweet by F-Train, who was covering the event, to see the pure joy that a short final table can bring.

The short version of the story is that nine of ten all-ins that were called led to eliminations, leading to about two and a half hours from cards in the air to trophy in the air. 24-year-old Las Vegas local Chris Johnson was the beneficiary, to the tune of $153,559 and a lucrative spot in the upcoming WSOPC Championship coming up in a few weeks.

First Pokerbot ElkY Wins EPT Madrid High Roller
EPT Madrid, Spain

C/O PokerStars Blog

When Phil Laak beat the poker playing robot up in Canada a few years back, little did the world know that they were already perfecting a personified version of the bot and training it through thousands of hours of StarCraft. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit unfair, but Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier has done nothing but impress in the live and online poker scene for quite some time, and he hit again this past week.

The EPT Madrid €25,000 High Roller event brought together 57 of the best players in the world, and a final eight that included Vanessa Rousso, David “Doc” Sands, Peter Jetten, Juha Helppi and Galen Hall, but none were a match for ElkY. He picked up €525,000 for his win.

“Super Tuan” Wins Main Event, Keller Hits Trifecta While Idiot Finishes Seventh in PA
WSOPC Harrah’s Chester, Pennsylvania

With just a few weeks remaining in this season of the World Series of Poker Circuit, players are hopping around the country and hitting every remaining stop trying to rack up enough points to qualify for the $1 million freeroll. The stop that just wrapped up was in Chester, Pennsylvania, the next-to-last series with only New Orleans remaining. The $1,600 Main Event, with a seat on the line for the winner (as well as a six figure score) drew some big names, and the final nine included “Bodog” Ari Engel and WSOPC Choctaw Main Event winner Huy Nguyen. But another player would punch his ticket to Las Vegas, as Kenny “Super Tuan” Nguyen took home just under $95,000 and the gold ring as well.

In other news from Chester, There was a $345 Omaha 8/b ring event that was won by Pennsylvania native Brent Keller, which is his third Omaha ring on the circuit. The biggest news from that tournament certainly had to be the seventh place finisher, who oddly has the same name as the guy who is currently writing this column. It’s his first Hendon Mob entry and he’s very proud of how he played. He also can’t stop talking in the third person.

Team Pokerati Couple Makes Strong Charge Towards WSOPC National Championship

La Sengphet and David Clark have been traveling the country the whole year following the WSOP Circuit. The official poker playing couple of Team Pokerati are down in New Orleans in an attempt to accumulate enough points to qualify for the $1 million freeroll. La currently sits in 5th place for an at large qualification, and is pretty much locked in, but DC is currently 10 points outside of the current cutline. It could, however, take just one more preliminary final table appearance to put him into the tournament. To take a look at the current standings, head over here (with thanks to Kevmath for the link).

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