First Time's the Charm for Gregory Brooks
Level 32: 75,000-150,000, 25,000 ante
When the LA Poker Classic final table began, poker fans were pretty divided between those who believed Carlos Mortensen would pick up his record fourth title and those who believed Vivek Rajkumar would breeze thru the final table en route to a second win. Those people didn’t count on Gregory Brooks.
It took three hands for Brooks to take the chip lead at this final table and, for the next 93, he maintained his spot as one of the big stacks at the table. The 23 year-old New Jersey native may have been a WPT rookie surrounded by seasoned vets, but confidence and a little good old patriotism served him well at this stacked final table. With a crowd of friends and family decked out in red, white and blue to cheer him on in his first-ever WPT event, Brooks used his aggressive style to upset the vets and become the latest WPT-made millionaire.
Many predicted the deep stacks would result in a long final table, but it took just three hands for the carnage to begin. Brooks jumped to the chip lead early when a cooler of a hand saw him get it all-in against Rajkumar holding pocket aces to Rajkumar’s pocket queens. The aces held and Brooks only built on his momentum from there.
While it was smooth sailing for Brooks, it was rough waters for Rajkumar, as he found himself all-in with the best of it against Steve Gross on two separate occasions, only to chop the pot once and double Gross up in the other.
On Hand #31 the eliminations began. Darryll Fish was running low on chips and shoved all-in over the top of a raise from Carlos Mortensen with Q10. Mortensen quickly called with pocket queens and sent Fish to the rail in sixth place.
Gross was the next to go. He battled a short stack all afternoon and staved off elimination a couple of times, but it was not his day. He got it in holding J10 to Rajkumar’s A3 and failed to come from behind a third time. Rajkumar’s ace-high held on a KK974 board and Gross went home in fifth place.
Levahot followed suit just four hands later. He lost a chunk of his stack when he made two pair in a hand where Brooks hit a set to drop him to just over a million. The rest of the chips went in on a J96 flop when he called Rajkumar’s check-raise all-in holding KQ to Rajkumar’s QQ. The 4 on the turn and 3 on the river were no help to Lehavot ad, suddenly, the field was down to three.
Brooks had a big chip lead, but Mortensen and Rajkumar weren’t exactly short on chips. With more than 50 big blinds in each player’s arsenal, it seemed like this could be a long night, however, it took just six hands to get the field down to heads-up.
Just one hand after Brooks took more than a million of Mortensen’s chips, the two tangled again. All three players saw a flop of J53 and Rajkumar checked to Brooks, who bet 380,000. Mortensen raised to 800,000, Rajkumar folded, and Brooks moved all-in. Mortensen called with KJ for top pair and Brooks showed 46 for straight and flush draws. The 5 on the turn kept Mortensen in the lead, but the 10 on the river gave Brooks the pot and dashed Mortensen’s hopes of a fourth WPT title.
Brooks had the advantage when heads-up play began, but Rajkumar brought things close to even thanks to one of the biggest calls of the season. Rajkumar check-called a big bet from Brooks on a QJ7 flop and checked again when the turn brought the 5. Brooks moved all-in and Rajkumar thought for several minutes before calling with 88. He had the best hand for the moment, as Brooks turned over K10 for a big draw, and Rajkumar doubled up when the river brought the 4.
The double up gave Rajkumar new life, but a second double was not in his future. Instead, Brooks steadily chipped away at his opponent, pulling out to a 4 to 1 chip advantage. Down to under four million chips, Rajkumar called a raise from Brooks and they saw a flop of 732. Rajkumar checked, Brooks bet 400,000, and Rajkumar took a few moments before announcing he was all-in.
Brooks thought the situation through and called with 78 for top pair, which was in the lead against Rajkumar’s J10 for just jack high. With the 2 on the turn and an A on the river, Brooks’ pair of sevens held and he captured his first WPT title in the first WPT event he ever played.
It may have been his first event, but it certainly won't be his last. Brooks will most definitely play in $25,000 Championship in May and he guarantees there will be more WPT events, and hopefully more WPT final tables in his future.
Here are the final table results from the Season IX LA Poker Classic Main Event:
Featured Blog, Gregory Brooks, Vivek Rajkumar, Carlos Mortensen, Steve Gross, Amir Lehavot, Darryll Fish, Commerce Casino, Tournaments, L.A. Poker Classic, Season IX
1st: Gregory Brooks - $1,654,120
2nd: Vivek Rajkumar - $908,730
3rd: Carlos Mortensen - $640,680
4th: Amir Lehavot - $421,680
5th: Steve Gross - $304,000
6th: Darryll Fish - $235,350
11:00 PM, 03/03/11
Hand #50: Steve Gross Eliminated in 5th Place ($304,000)
Level 29: 40,000-80,000, 10,000 ante
Steve Gross moves all in from the button, and Vivek Rajkumar calls from the big blind with A3. Gross turns over J10, and he'll need to improve to stay alive.
Featured Blog, Steve Gross, Vivek Rajkumar, Commerce Casino, Tournaments, L.A. Poker Classic, Season IX
The board comes KK974, and Gross picks up a double-gutshot straight draw along with a flush draw, but misses all of his outs. Vivek Rajkumar wins the pot with ace high to eliminate Steve Gross in fifth place.
Seat 1. Vivek Rajkumar - 5,285,000
Seat 3. Gregory Brooks - 9,480,000
Seat 4. Amir Lehavot - 1,265,000
Seat 5. Steve Gross - Out in 5th Place ($304,000)
Seat 6. Carlos Mortensen - 4,330,000
07:10 PM, 03/03/11
Hand #22: Steve Gross Doubles Thru Vivek Rajkumar
Level 27: 25,000-50,000, 5,000 ante
Steve Gross moves all in from the button for 475,000, and Vivek Rajkumar calls from the big blind with AJ. Gross turns over K10, and he'll need to improve to stay alive.
Featured Blog, Steve Gross, Vivek Rajkumar, Commerce Casino, Tournaments, L.A. Poker Classic, Season IX
The board comes KQ72K, and Steve Gross celebrates with his friends on the rail as he wins the pot with trip kings to double up in chips.
Seat 1. Vivek Rajkumar - 3,535,000
Seat 2. Darryll Fish - 1,225,000
Seat 3. Gregory Brooks - 4,965,000
Seat 4. Amir Lehavot - 4,665,000
Seat 5. Steve Gross - 1,005,000
Seat 6. Carlos Mortensen - 5,035,000
05:30 PM, 03/03/11
Hand #3: Gregory Brooks Doubles Thru Vivek Rajkumar
Level 27: 25,000-50,000, 5,000 ante
Vivek Rajkumar raises under the gun to 125,000, Gregory Brooks reraises from the cutoff to 315,000, and Steve Gross reraises from the small blind to 655,000.
Featured Blog, Vivek Rajkumar, Steve Gross, Gregory Brooks, Commerce Casino, Tournaments, L.A. Poker Classic, Season IX
Rajkumar thinks for about 30 seconds before he moves all in, covering both other players. Then Brooks thinks for another 30 seconds before he calls all in. And now it's Gross's turn in the tank, and he's thinking longer than they did.
Gross thinks for more than two minutes before he folds, and Rajkumar turns over QQ. But Brooks shows AA, and he's a big favorite to double up here.
The board comes 10925J, and the pocket aces hold up for Brooks, who doubles into the chip lead.
Pot Size: 5,255,000
Seat 1. Vivek Rajkumar - 3,120,000
Seat 2. Darryll Fish - 2,260,000
Seat 3. Gregory Brooks - 5,255,000
Seat 4. Amir Lehavot - 4,025,000
Seat 5. Steve Gross - 600,000
Seat 6. Carlos Mortensen - 5,170,000
04:39 PM, 03/03/11
Photo Recap: Day 5 of WPT L.A. Poker Classic
Level 26: 20,000-40,000, 5,000 ante
by BJ Nemeth
Featured Blog, Kathy Liebert, Darryll Fish, Matthew Berkey, Carlos Mortensen, David Bakes Baker, Jason Dewitt, Vivek Rajkumar, Allen Cunningham, Jason Senti, James Carroll, Shannon Shorr, Amir Lehavot, Gregory Brooks, Kimberly Lansing, Mike Sexton, Steve Gross, Commerce Casino, Tournaments, L.A. Poker Classic, Season IX
Now that the WPT Celebrity Invitational has wrapped up, attention returns to the $10,000 buy-in WPT L.A. Poker Classic, with an impressive lineup that includes Carlos Mortensen going for his record fourth WPT title. Here's a photo recap of Day 5, as 18 players battled for six seats at the televised WPT final table.
Kathy Liebert (left) came into Day 5 in 17th position with 18 players left, but she couldn't overcome her short stack. Within the first few hands, Liebert moved all in from late position with A10, but ran into the JJ of Darryll Fish (not pictured). Liebert earned $50,340 for her 18th place finish.
With the board showing KQ94 on the turn, Matthew Berkey (left) calls a bet from Carlos Mortensen. The river card would be the 3, and Berkey would fold to Mortensen's all-in move, saying, "Queens are good, Carlos." Berkey would eventually be eliminated in 15th place, earning $56,880.
After a flop of KQ3, David Baker (standing back from the table, center) moved all in against Jason Dewitt. Baker had K10 for a pair of kings against Dewitt's 109 (flush draw with a gutshot straight draw). The last two cards were blanks, and Baker would double up.
With the board showing Q8446, chipleader Vivek Rajkumar makes a huge bet (605,000) against Carlos Mortensen.
After the big river bet from Vivek Rajkumar (foreground, right), Carlos Mortensen (top, left) would fold, showing one card -- the 3. Rajkumar would also show a card -- the 7. Rajkumar took this pot to extend his chip lead to more than twice as much as anyone else with 15 players remaining.
Jason Dewitt (seated, left) three-bet all in after a flop of K43, and Allen Cunningham (standing, right) called with KQ for a pair of kings. Dewitt was caught bluffing with A6, and Cunningham doubled up.
Jason Senti was all in preflop with QQ against the KJ of Gregory Brooks, but luck wasn't on his side -- a king on the flop gave the pot to Brooks as Senti was eliminated in 14th place, earning $56,880.
The key pot of the tournament happened with 12 players left, when James Carroll (seated, left) four-bet all in, Carlos Mortensen (seated, center) moved all in over the top, and Shannon Shorr (foreground, left) called. They all had premium hands -- Shorr had AA, Carroll had KK, and Mortensen had QQ.
But the flop came J82, changing the dynamics of the hand dramatically, as Mortensen was the only player with a spade in his hand.
The turn card was the 10, clinching the three-way pot for Carlos Mortensen (seated, center). Shannon Shorr (foreground, left) and James Carroll (standing, center left) were eliminated, and since Jesse Yaginuma (not pictured) busted at the same time at the next table, it created a three-way tie for 10th place ($63,410 each).
Jason Dewitt (right) was short stacked and moved all in preflop with K10, and he was racing against the 77 of Carlos Mortensen (left). The board came A5343, and Mortensen won the pot to eliminate Dewitt in ninth place ($94,800).
Vivek Rajkumar (left) and Darryll Fish (right) played quite a few pots against each other on Day 5. Rajkumar was the massive chipleader with 15 players left, but fell back with the rest of the pack as they approached the final table.
A look at the table -- and the chip sculpture of chipleader Carlos Mortensen (foreground, right) -- with eight players remaining.
Amir Lehavot (left) four-bet all in with Q10, but he was dominated when Allen Cunningham (center) called with A10.
Allen Cunningham (center) motions his hands as if to say, "What can you do?" when his A10 can't hold against the Q10 of Amir Lehavot (left). The board came JJ495, giving Lehavot a flush, and moving him up to second in chips behind Carlos Mortensen. Cunningham was eliminated in eighth place, earning $130,750.
On his way out of the room, Allen Cunningham (left) receives a handshake of congratudolences from chipleader Carlos Mortensen.
Gregory Brooks stares down David Baker (foreground, left) during a hand with seven players remaining on the TV bubble.
Carlos Mortensen is tied with Gus Hansen for most WPT titles with three each. As chipleader with seven players left, Mortensen is within sight of a record-setting fourth WPT title. Mortensen is already the all-time money winner on the World Poker Tour, and his lead continues to grow every time he moves up a spot in the money.
With seven players battling for the six seats at the televised WPT final table, the situation takes on added importance.
WPT Commentator Mike Sexton (standing, in red) checks out the action with seven players remaining. In this hand, five players have seen a flop of A97, including Steve Gross (seated, left), Carlos Mortensen (seated, center), and Vivek Rajkumar (foreground, right).
After Carlos Mortensen (left) raised from the button, short stack David Baker (right) moved all in from the small blind. Mortensen would fold here, but they did it again the next hand -- Mortensen raised, and Baker reraised him to take the pot.
The next hand, Baker would four-bet all in against Vivek Rajkumar (not pictured). Baker turned over KK, and he was a favorite to double up against Rajkumar's A10. But the board came AJ8104, giving Rajkumar the pot with a pair of aces. David Baker was the unfortunate TV bubble boy, earning $176,520 for seventh place. That pot propelled Rajkumar to second in chips, closely behind chipleader Mortensen.
As the chipleader going for his record fourth WPT title, Carlos Mortensen is awarded the RISE Clothing Player of the Day from WPT Anchor Kimberly Lansing.
The six final tablists were invited by the Commerce Casino to an NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Houston Rockets. With two tables remaining, the players were told that the chipleader would get to go down on the court at halftime for the traditional win-money-by-making-a-series-of-baskets contest.
Though several players said they would love to see Vivek Rajkumar make that attempt, Carlos Mortensen got the honor as the chipleader. Mortensen went down to the court at halftime, and had to make a layup, a free throw, a three-pointer, and a half-court shot in 30 seconds.
How did he do? Well, you'll need to watch the video that ClubWPT uploaded to YouTube -- Click Here.
The Final Table begins Thursday at 4:00 pm PT. Return to WorldPokerTour.com for complete live coverage, including hand-for-hand updates, chip counts after every hand, and a video of Kimberly Lansing interviewing the winner.
Here's a look at the official seating and chip counts for the final table:
Seat 1. Vivek Rajkumar - 5,185,000 (104 BBs)
Seat 2. Darryll Fish - 2,275,000 (46 BBs)
Seat 3. Gregory Brooks - 2,300,000 (46 BBs)
Seat 4. Amir Lehavot - 4,115,000 (82 BBs)
Seat 5. Steve Gross - 1,320,000 (26 BBs)
Seat 6. Carlos Mortensen - 5,235,000 (105 BBs)
12:08 PM, 03/03/11
Jesse Yaginuma Also Out in 10th Place ($63,410)
Level 26: 20,000-40,000, 5,000 ante
Gregory Brooks raises under the gun to 90,000, and Jesse Yaginuma moves all in from early position for 170,000. Steve Gross reraises from the cutoff to 300,000, and Brooks folds.
Jesse Yaginuma, Steve Gross, Commerce Casino, Tournaments, L.A. Poker Classic, Season IX
Yaginuma turns over A9, but he's dominated by the A10 of Gross. The board comes Q73K4, and Steve Gross wins the pot with his ten kicker to eliminate Yaginuma. Since this hand was simultaneous with the double-elimination at the other table, all three players receive a tie for 10th place.
Steve Gross - 2,050,000 (51 BBs)
Jesse Yaginuma - Out in 10th Place ($63,410)
04:20 PM, 03/01/11
Jason Dewitt vs. Steve Gross
Level 25: 15,000-30,000, 5,000 ante
Gregory Brooks raises under the gun to 60,000, Steve Gross calls from the cutoff, and Jason Dewitt calls from the big blind. The flop comes 1042, Dewitt bets 120,000, Brooks folds, and Gross calls.
Jason Dewitt, Steve Gross, Commerce Casino, Tournaments, L.A. Poker Classic, Season IX
The turn card is the 10, Dewitt bets 200,000, and Gross calls. The river card is the Q, and both players check.
Dewitt shows 96 for nine high, and Gross turns over 55 to win the pot with a pair of fives.
Steve Gross - 1,385,000 (46 BBs)
Jason Dewitt - 610,000 (20 BBs)
03:37 PM, 03/01/11
Photo Recap: Day 4 of WPT L.A. Poker Classic
Level 23: 10,000-20,000, 3,000 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Featured Blog, Shannon Shorr, Jason Dewitt, Michael McClain, Carlos Mortensen, Matthew Berkey, James Carroll, Almira Skripchenko, Dinara Khaziyeva, Erik Seidel, Elky Grospellier, Darren Elias, Steve Gross, Vivek Rajkumar, James Carroll, Kathy Liebert, Melissa Hayden, Allen Cunningham, Tim West, Nikolay Evdakov, Gregory Brooks, Jason Senti, Kimberly Lansing, Commerce Casino, Tournaments, L.A. Poker Classic, Season IX
The money bubble burst at the end of Day 3, so Day 4 started with 63 players and played down to the final 18. Here's a look at the official leaderboard from the end of the day:
1. Vivek Rajkumar - 3,231,000 (161 BBs)
2. Gregory Brooks - 2,326,000 (116 BBs)
3. Jason Dewitt - 1,916,000 (95 BBs)
4. Matthew Berkey - 1,614,000 (80 BBs)
5. Amir Lehavot - 1,595,000 (79 BBs)
6. Carlos Mortensen - 1,467,000 (73 BBs)
7. James Carroll - 1,270,000 (63 BBs)
8. Allen Cunningham - 1,079,000 (53 BBs)
9. Steve Gross - 964,000 (48 BBs)
10. Brandon Crawford - 935,000 (46 BBs)
11. David "Bakes" Baker - 736,000 (36 BBs)
12. Shannon Shorr - 690,000 (34 BBs)
13. Jesse Yaginuma - 599,000 (29 BBs)
14. Darryll Fish - 584,000 (29 BBs)
15. Jason Senti - 533,000 (26 BBs)
16. James Dowdy - 363,000 (18 BBs)
17. Kathy Liebert - 304,000 (15 BBs)
18. Matt Marafioti - 210,000 (10 BBs)
Here's a photographic look back at Day 4 of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic:
On Day 4, the WPT Live Updates featured a live webcam provided by the team from All 360 Poker. It's a unique webcam that provides a 360-degree view of the entire table, allowing viewers to see in whichever direction they'd like. The camera itself is the metallic red object that appears to be hanging over Carlos Mortensen.
The players, clockwise from the bottom left: Shannon Shorr, Jason Dewitt, Michael McClain, Carlos Mortensen, and Matthew Berkey.
Day 4 began with 63 players at the final seven tables, leaving most of the Commerce ballroom empty. There was an eighth table in play (far right), but it was the final table for the LAPC $25,000 high-roller event.
James Carroll took the chip lead early, and was at or near the top of the counts for most of the day.
Jason Dewitt plays a big pot against Carlos Mortensen.
On the other side of the same hand, Carlos Mortensen waits for Jason Dewitt to respond to his bet on the turn.
Almira Skripchenko (left) and Dinara Khaziyeva are both chess masters, and they played a game against each other for the WPT cameras while Day 4 of the main event played out in the background. Skripchenko and Khaziyeva are two of the final tablists who will be at the WPT Celebrity Invitational final table on Wednesday evening.
Off to the side of the main event, Erik Seidel (foreground, bottom left) won a huge three-way all-in situation in the $25,000 high-roller event. Elky Grospellier (standing, left) was the short stack with AQ, up against Seidel's AA and the 99 of Darren Elias (far side of the table). The aces held up for Seidel, busting Grospellier in third place and giving Seidel the heads-up chip lead.
Erik Seidel carried the momentum of the big three-way hand to go on and win the tournament. Amazingly, this is the fourth high-roller event that Seidel has cashed in so far in 2011. Seidel has a fourth-place finish, a third, and two victories, giving him more than $3.5 million in earnings in those events alone.
Steve Gross plays a pot late on Day 4.
The most memorable hand of Day 4 was between James Carroll (left) and Vivek Rajkumar. Carroll four-bet it preflop, and then check-called Rajkumar's bets on the flop and the turn. With the board showing KJ8105, Rajkumar moved all in on the river, and Carroll tanked for about 10 minutes before he folded.
It took nearly as much time for Vivek Rajkumar to stack his chips as it did to play the hand. While Rajkumar refused to divulge any details about his hand, the table talked about the hand for several more minutes.
After a raise from Amir Lehavot and a reraise from Jason Dewitt, Steve Gross (far left) made a cold four-bet to 270,000. Shannon Shorr (far right) moved all in from the small blind, and Lehavot and Dewitt quickly folded. Gross was caught bluffing, but the pot odds were good and he called with J2. Shorr turned over AK, and the board came K93Q3 to give Shorr the double-up.
Carlos Mortensen's chip stack during a break. Day 4 included a lot of table changes as the field got smaller and smaller, so Mortensen had to dismantle and rebuild his structure a few times.
Without warning, Carlos Mortensen's chip-stack sculpture imploded, sending chips everywhere. Mortensen claims it's the first time that has ever happened. Kathy Liebert, who was treading water with a short stack all day, would love to have the problems of so many chips.
Melissa Hayden (foreground, right) takes an iPhone photo of her boyfriend Allen Cunningham (top left) late on Day 4.
Tim West (left) moved all in from the small blind after looking at just one card -- the 10. Allen Cunningham (right) called from the big blind, and West asked, "Can you beat my ten?" West then turned over his other card to see it for the first time -- 102. West briefly cursed his luck with a smile, until Cunningham flipped over 94. West was amazed that he was slightly ahead preflop, but the board came AA834, and Cunningham spiked a four on the winner to win the pot and eliminate Tim West in 21st place.
Nikolay Evdakov (far left) had five-bet all in preflop with AK, and Jason Dewitt (far right) thought for a few moments before calling with JJ. The board came 66536, giving Dewitt the double up and knocking Evdakov down toward the bottom of the chip counts.
Here's a little setup: With the board showing 109539 and a healthy pot in the middle, Gregory Brooks (right) moved all in, and Evdakov called with A10 for two pair, tens and nines. But Brooks showed A9 to win the pot with trip nines and eliminate Evdakov in 19th place, bringing Day 4 to an end. Brooks finished the day with 2,326,000, while Jason Senti (top left) seemed more than happy to reach Day 5 in 15th place with 533,000.
WPT Anchor Kimberly Lansing interviews RISE Clothing Player of the Day Vivek Rajkumar.
Day 5 begins Tuesday at 12:00 noon PT. Return to WorldPokerTour.com for continuing live coverage, including hand updates, frequent chip counts, video interviews with Kimberly Lansing, and another episode of "The Jess & BJ Show."
10:00 AM, 03/01/11
Shannon Shorr Doubles Thru Steve Gross
Level 23: 10,000-20,000, 3,000 ante
Amir Lehavot raises to 48,000 from under the gun and Jason DeWitt reraises to 130,000 behind him. Action folds around to Steve Gross in the cutoff and he cold four-bets to 270,000 total.
Shannon Shorr, Steve Gross, Featured Blog, Commerce Casino, Tournaments, L.A. Poker Classic, Season IX
Shannon Shorr is in the small blind and keeps the action going by moving all-in for 385,000 total. Lehavot and DeWitt folds and Gross needs a count.
"It's only 115,000 more," Shorr tells him. Gross still thinks about it, but eventually calls with J2. He is drawing live against Shorr's AK.
The board runs out K93Q3 and Shorr's pair of kings take the pot and double up.
Shannon Shorr - 1,000,000
Steve Gross - 940,000
09:27 PM, 02/28/11
Lauren Kling Eliminated in 29th Place ($37,260)
Level 21: 6,000-12,000, 2,000 ante
Lauren Kling raises to 26,000 from middle position and Steve Gross reraises to 65,000 out of the big blind. Kling checks her cards one last time and moves all-in for her last 150,000 or so.
Steve Gross, Lauren Kling, Commerce Casino, Tournaments, L.A. Poker Classic, Season IX
Gross quickly calls with KK and Kling turns over AQ. The board runs out J5294 and Gross' kings hold to eliminate Kling.
Steve Gross - 1,350,000
Lauren Kling - eliminated in 29th palce ($37,260)
06:51 PM, 02/28/11