Second Time's the Charm for Tommy Vedes
Level 31: 60,000-120,000, 20,000 ante
Featured Blog, Tommy Vedes, John Dolan, Joe Serock, Kyle Bowker, Sharon Levin, Craig Bergeron, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Season X
Let's be honest. The deck was not stacked in Tommy Vedes favor at this year's Seminole Hard Rock Showdown final table. Sure, he had experience on his side as the only WPT Champions Club member at the final table, but experience can only make up for so much. Vedes started the day with half as many chips as everyone else. He was fighting against overwhelming odds, as only two players have ever started sixth in chips to pick up the title. He was aso aiming to do something only Scotty Nguyen had done before him: final table the same WPT event back to back years and win it the second time around.
Even with all that going against him though, Vedes still fought and, up to the very last night, it seemed as though the deck was not stacked in his favor, but he still found a way to prevail and pick up his second WPT title and earn redemption after a sixth place finish in this tournament one year ago.
Like we said, Vedes began the final table as the short stack, while Joe Serock began the action with an overwhelming lead and a stack twice the size of any of his other opponents. Vedes picked up chips out the gate though, winning a coinflip against Kyle Bowker to double early and leave Bowker running on fumes. Even though he managed to triple up, then double up, Bowker could not make up the ground he lost and he exited in sixth place after he ran QJ into Serock's AJ.
Just four hands later, Sharon Levin would join Bowker on the rail. After losing some pots, Levin pushed with A3 and Vedes looked him up with pocket sixes. The pair held and the Seminole Lucky Hearts fourth place finisher had to settle for a fifth place showing at his second WPT final table.
With Levin's elimination, Serock could rest a little easier knowing that he officially claimed the lead in the WPT Player of the Year race. Serock's lead in the race got bigger after Craig Bergeron exited in fourth place when he open shoved pocket sixes right into Vedes' pocket queens.
Bergeron's bust gave Serock points, but it also gave Vedes chips and started to narrow the gap in chips going into three-handed play. John Dolan turned the entire table dynamic upside down when he doubled thru Serock after Serock four bet all-in with the hand of the night, pocket sixes, and Dolan called with AJ. Dolan flopped a jack to double to a big chip lead while Serock fell even with Vedes in the counts.
Serock lost a little more chips after that as Dolan put the pressure on his opponents. In one of the pressure points, Dolan effectively put Serock all-in from the small blind and the two got the last of Serock's stack in on an 833 flop. Dolan's K8 for top pair looked to be in bad shape against Serock's pocket queens, but Dolan turned a king to bust Serock, who picked up his second consecutive third place finish.
The pot gave Dolan the advantage in chips going into heads-up play, but Vedes was a guy with something to prove and he had no intention of giving up. Vedes tread water for a while, but picked up momentum when he flopped a flush and got it in against Dolan's top pair to double up.
The second double up, where both players flopped top pair and got it in with Vedes holding the bigger kicker, gave Vedes his first chip lead of the night, which he would never relinquish. Vedes called it then, telling the crowd, "It's all over. Lights out."
It was over just seven hands later. Dolan three-bet all-in with K6 and Vedes called him with A10. The KJ6 flop looked to be all Dolan, but the turn was Vedes' saving grace, as it brought the Q, giving him a straight. When the river failed to fill Dolan up, Vedes could pop some champagne and celebrate, as he defied the odds, claimed redemption, and picked up a nearly $800,000 payday.
Here are the final table results from the Season X Seminole Hard Rock Showdown:
1st: Tommy Vedes - $779,520 (includes $25,500 WPT World Championship seat)
2nd: John Dolan - $459,360
3rd: Joe Serock - $306,240
4th: Craig Bergeron - $212,976
5th: Sharon Levin - $158,688
6th: Kyle Bowker - $122,496
02:05 AM, 04/24/12
Hand #50: Sharon Levin Eliminated in 5th Place ($158,688)
Level 26: 20,000-40,000, 5,000 ante
Tommy Vedes raises from the cutoff to 90,000, Sharon Levin moves all in from the button for 615,000, and Vedes thinks for more than a minute before he calls with 66. Levin turns over A3, and he'll need to improve to stay alive.
Featured Blog, Tommy Vedes, Sharon Levin, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Season X
The board comes KJ629, and Vedes wins the pot with a set of sixes to eliminate Sharon Levin in fifth place.
Seat 1. Craig Bergeron - 1,230,000
Seat 2. Tommy Vedes - 1,920,000
Seat 3. Sharon Levin - Out in 5th Place ($158,688)
Seat 5. John Dolan - 1,355,000
Seat 6. Joe Serock - 4,190,000
06:32 PM, 04/23/12
WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Day 5 Recap
Level 24: 12,000-24,000, 4,000 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Featured Blog, Tommy Vedes, David Paredes, Joe Serock, Justin Zaki, Fred Goldberg, Jess Yawitz, Robert Georato, Eli Berg, Craig Bergeron, Sharon Levin, Ravi Raghavan, Kyle Bowker, John Dolan, Jimmy Tran, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Season X
The WPT Final Table set was being constructed in the Seminole Hard Rock Live arena, so the final two tables moved into the poker room for Day 5.
Tommy Vedes arrived a little late, so his chips were blinded off as he missed the first few hands.
Joe Serock had a rough time in the early going, losing a few key pots, including a double up for David Paredes (seated, top right). Paredes moved all in preflop with AA, and Serock called with KQ. Tommy Vedes (standing, center) gives Paredes a celebratory fist-bump after the hand.
Justin Zaki (left) moved all in preflop with AJ, but he ran into the AK of Fred Goldberg (right). The board blanked out for Zaki, and he fell short of making the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown final table for the second year in a row. Zaki earned $33,408 for his 15th place finish, though he is the only player who has cashed in all three WPT events held at the Seminole Hard Rock.
Joe Serock (left) and Tommy Vedes (right) continued to clash side-by-side as they had the previous day. Serock bluffed the river with Q9 on a board of J107410, but Vedes called with A5 (ace high) to win the pot. It wasn't a big pot, but it continued the ascent of Vedes on the leaderboard, and the slide of Serock.
Tommy Vedes (right doubled up in a pot worth 1.2 million in chips against Jess Yawitz, all in on the turn with the board showing A947. Yawitz shoved with AJ (pair of aces), and Vedes snap-called with A-9 for top two pair. The river was a blank, and Vedes doubled up.
Joe Serock (right) managed to bounce back with a key double up against Robert Georato (left). Serock was all in preflop with JJ against Georato's 1010. This pot raised Serock's chip stack to nearly what it was at the start of the day when he was chipleader.
Tommy Vedes had been taking a smoke break and missed this hand. When he returned to see that Serock apparently had all of his chips back, he said, "Whoa, where'd you get those chips?"
Eli Berg (foreground, left) moved all in preflop with AJ, but he was dominated by the AK of Tommy Vedes (top right). The board came K85910, and Vedes won the pot to eliminate Berg in 14th place.
In a situation reminiscent of a hand they played late on Day 4, Sharon Levy (right) faced an all-in bet against Craig Bergeron (left). This time, Bergeron open-shoved the small blind for 25 big blinds, and Levy was conflicted. After several minutes, a clock was called, and Levy folded, claiming he had pocket jacks.
Levy's logic? He felt that Bergeron would only open-shove there with aces, kings, or ace-king. John Dolan said if he had pocket jacks in that spot, he would have snap-called.
Robert Georato (center) started the day second in chips, but lost a few pots early. This looked like it would be the hand to put him back near the top of the leaderboard, as he held 22 on a board of KQ2K4 against Tommy Vedes -- a full house!
Unfortunately, when they got it all in on the river, Vedes flipped over KQ for a higher full house. Georato was stunned as he was eliminated in 12th place.
With 11 players left, Ravi Raghavan (left) got it all in preflop with AA against the KK of Craig Bergeron. But the board came J109K2, and Bergeron flopped a gutshot straight draw and turned a set of kings to eliminate Raghavan on a bad beat.
The final 10 players redrew for seats at a single table, at a time when John Dolan had the chip lead with nearly 1.5 million. The players, in seat order: (1) Craig Bergeron, (2) Tommy Vedes, (3) Jess Yawitz, (4) David Paredes, (5) Sharon Levin, (6) Kyle Bowker, (7) John Dolan, (8) Joe Serock, (9) Fred Goldberg, (10) Jimmy Tran.
In Hand #11 at the final table, David Paredes (left) moved all in preflop with AK, but ran into the KK of Sharon Levin (center). The board offered no help, and Levin doubled up near the chip lead while Paredes was crippled down to four big blinds.
Paredes would double up once and outlast Jimmy Tran, who busted in 10th place. But Paredes would be eliminated by Joe Serock in Hand #31, earning $50,112 for ninth place.
In Hand #47, Fred Goldberg (right) three-bet all in after a flop of K94 against John Dolan (right). Goldberg showed A9 for a pair and a flush draw, while Dolan turned over AA for an overpair. The turn was the 6, the river was the A, and Dolan won the pot with a set of aces to eliminate knock Goldberg down to 10 big blinds -- the short stack at the table.
Fred Goldberg (pictured) was eliminated by Joe Serock a short while later, and gave an exit interview to the WPT cameras. Serock had nearly 2 million in chips as he increased his chip lead over the rest of the field.
In Hand #82, Tommy Vedes (left) played a pot against Sharon Levin (right) on a board of Q83A5. Levin showed QJ to win the pot with a pair of queens, and Vedes mucked. Jess Yawitz (center) was still the short stack at the table, but Vedes wasn't doing too much better.
In Hand #95, Jess Yawitz (standing, left) moved all in after a three-way flop of 1085. Joe Serock (top right) called, and Vedes folded. Yawitz showed 65 for a pair of fives, and Serock had him in trouble with AA.
The turn was the 3, the river was the 2, and Serock won the pot with his aces to eliminate Jess Yawitz on the TV bubble in seventh place.
Joe Serock is wearing a custom-made t-shirt that reads, "All I want for Christmas is a WPT Title." Serock will be starting the televised WPT Final Table with more than twice as many chips as anybody else, so he's in a good position to take home the title and get his name engraved on the WPT Champions Cup.
Monday's WPT Final Table is set. There are nine minutes left in the current level before the blinds increase to 15,000-30,000 with a 5,000 ante. Here are the official chip counts and seating positions:
Seat 1. Craig Bergeron - 1,235,000 (41 BBs)
Seat 2. Tommy Vedes - 590,000 (19 BBs)
Seat 3. Sharon Levin - 1,216,000 (40 BBs)
Seat 4. Kyle Bowker - 1,070,000 (35 BBs)
Seat 5. John Dolan - 1,454,000 (48 BBs)
Seat 6. Joe Serock - 3,137,000 (104 BBs)
The televised WPT Final Table begins at 4:00 pm ET. Stay tuned to WPT.com for complete hand-for-hand coverage of all the action, and be sure to check out the WPT Final Table Live Stream, with analysis from WPT Raw Deal Host Tony Dunst.
03:08 PM, 04/23/12
Joe Serock Leads Seminole Hard Rock Showdown Final Table
Level 24: 12,000-24,000, 4,000 ante
Just five weeks ago, Joe Serock made his WPT final table debut at the Bay 101 Shooting Star event. Now he is back under the spotlights and wielding the chip lead. He will begin Monday's final table with the big stack and the momentum, not to mention the chance to take the lead in the WPT Player of the Year race with a fourth place finish or better.
Featured Blog, Craig Bergeron, Tommy Vedes, Joe Serock, John Dolan, Kyle Bowker, Sharon Levin, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Season X
Serock will begin with more than twice as many chips than any other player at the table, but he is up against an experienced line-up. Sharon Levin was at the Seminole Lucky Hearts Poker Open final table two months ago and Tommy Vedes is seeking redemption after he made this final table last year only to bust in sixth place. Throw in three pros, Kyle Bowker, John Dolan, and Craig Bergeron, and you have a talented line-up of players.
The final table action will get underway at 4pm ET tomorrow with the livestream complete with hole cards and commentary from Tony Dunst and Dan O'Brien on a 30 minute delay.
When play resumes, there will be eight minutes left in Level 24 with blinds at 12,000-24,000 ante 4,000.
Here are the chip counts and seat assignments for Monday's final table:
Seat 1: Craig Bergeron - 1,235,000 (51 BBs)
Seat 2: Tommy Vedes - 590,000 (25 BBs)
Seat 3: Sharon Levin - 1,216,000 (51 BBs)
Seat 4: Kyle Bowker - 1,070,000 (45 BBs)
Seat 5: John Dolan - 1,454,000 (61 BBs)
Seat 6: Joe Serock - 3,137,000 (131 BBs)
06:58 PM, 04/22/12
Hands #81-83: Sharon Levin vs. Tommy Vedes
Level 24: 12,000-24,000, 4,000 ante
Sharon Levin, Tommy Vedes, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Season X
Photo: In Hand #82, Jess Yawitz (center) watches as Tommy Vedes (left) and Sharon Levin (right) stare each other down.
Hand #81 - Joe Serock raises from the cutoff to 50,000, and Jess Yawitz calls from the big blind. The flop comes A72, Yawitz checks, Serock bets 35,000, and Yawitz folds. Serock takes the pot.
Hand #82 - Tommy Vedes raises from the button to 52,000, and Sharon Levin calls from the big blind. The flop comes Q83, Levin checks, Vedes bets 54,000, and Levin calls.
The turn card is the A, Levin checks, Vedes bets 133,000, and Levin calls. The river card is the 5, and both players check. Levin shows QJ to win the pot with a pair of queens, and Vedes mucks.
Sharon Levin - 1,320,000 (55 BBs)
Tommy Vedes - 520,000 (21 BBs)
Hand #83 - Joe Serock raises from middle position to 54,000, and Kyle Bowker calls from the big blind. Both players check to the turn on a board of 5428, Bowker checks, Serock bets 85,000, and Bowker calls.
The river card is the 6, Bowker checks, Serock bets 180,000, and Bowker calls. Serock shows 74 to win the pot, and Bowker mucks.
06:21 PM, 04/22/12
Hand #18: David Paredes Doubles Thru Sharon Levin
Level 23: 10,000-20,000, 3,000 ante
David Paredes, Sharon Levin, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Season X
Hand #18 - David Paredes (standing, left) is under the gun and moves all-in for 93,000. Sharon Levin (center) is next to act and calls. Everyone else folds.
Paredes turns over A10 and Levin has him outkicked iwth AQ. The AKJ flop gives both players a gutshot. The 7 on the turn changes nothing, but the Q on the river completes Paredes' straight draw to give him the pot and the double up.
David Paredes - 220,000 (11 BBs)
Sharon Levin - 1,345,000 (67 BBs)
04:02 PM, 04/22/12
Hands #10-13: Sharon Levin Doubles Thru David Paredes
Level 22: 8,000-16,000, 2,000 ante
Sharon Levin, David Paredes, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Season X
Photo: In Hand #11, Sharon Levin (center) doubles up thru David Paredes (standing, left).
Hand #10 - Kyle Bowker raises under the gun to 35,000, winning the blinds and antes.
Hand #11 - Jess Yawitz raises from the cutoff to 43,000, David Paredes reraises from the button to 105,000, and Sharon Levin cold four-bets it from the small blind to 408,000. Yawitz quickly folds, Paredes moves all in, and Levin insta-calls with KK. Paredes turns over AK, and the two players are fairly close in chips.
The board comes J8636, and the pocket kings hold up for Sharon Levin to win the pot. The chip stacks are counted down, and Paredes is left with just 68,000.
Sharon Levin - 1,451,000 (90 BBs)
David Paredes - 68,000 (4 BBs)
Hand #12 - Fred Goldberg raises from early position to 35,000, Craig Bergeron reraises from middle position to 105,000, and Goldberg folds. Bergeron takes the pot.
Hand #13 - David Paredes moves all in from late position for 64,000, winning the blinds and antes.
03:44 PM, 04/22/12
Craig Bergeron Shoves on Sharon Levin's Big Blind
Level 22: 8,000-16,000, 2,000 ante
Craig Bergeron, Sharon Levin, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Season X
Craig Bergeron (left) moves all in from the small blind for 413,000, and Sharon Levin (right) is stunned from the big blind. Levin says he has a good hand, and tanks for several minutes, talking to Bergeron in a similar fashion to their big hand last night. (Read about that hand by clicking here.)
Levin seems taken aback by Bergeron's open-shove, and eventually, somebody calls the clock. Levin folds soon after that, claiming he had pocket jacks. Levin claims he showed Bergeron his cards, but Bergeron didn't see anything.
Levin says he figured that Bergeron would only open-shove like that with aces, kings, or ace-king. Bergeron softly laughs at this notion, and John Dolan says if he had pocket jacks in the big blind, he would snap-call.
Craig Bergeron - 449,000
Sharon Levin - 695,000
02:25 PM, 04/22/12
Mark Rose Eliminated in 13th Place ($33,408)
Level 21: 6,000-12,000, 2,000 ante
Sharon Levin raises to 27,000 from middle position and Mark Rose moves all-in on the button for 130,000 total. Levin thinks for a good 30 seconds before calling.
Sharon Levin, Mark Rose, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Season X
Rose flips over AQ and Levin trails with AJ. Levin gets some luck with the J64 flop though and he pairs up to take the advantage in the hand. The 10 on the turn doesn't give Rose any help and, with the A on the river, Rose is eliminated shortly before the end of Level 21.
Sharon Levin - 810,000 (68 BBs)
Mark Rose - eliminated in 13th place ($33,408)
01:34 PM, 04/22/12
Sharon Levin Doubles Thru Ravi Raghavan
Level 21: 6,000-12,000, 2,000 ante
Sharon Levin, Ravi Raghavan, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Season X
Sharon Levin (top right) moves all in under the gun for about 330,000, and Ravi Raghavan (foreground, left) moves all in over the top from the small blind for about 770,000. Craig Bergeron folds the big blind.
Levin shows AQ, but he'll need to improve to stay alive against Raghavan's 99.
The board comes A832A, and Levin wins the pot with trip aces to double up in chips.
Sharon Levin - 680,000 (56 BBs)
Ravi Raghavan - 440,000 (36 BBs)
01:09 PM, 04/22/12