Allen Carter Survives a Roller Coaster Final Table to Take the Million-Dollar Title
Level 23: 60,000-120,000, 20,000 ante
WPT Southern Poker Championship (Biloxi, MS), Final Table Recap
By Tom Bostic
Biloxi, Mississippi was the first stop of 2009 for the World Poker Tour, and 283 players arrived on the Gulf Shore for the WPT Southern Poker Championship. Tournament organizers were hoping for 288 attendees, the magic number needed for a $1 million first prize. But with 283 players, the field came up just a little short. Even though this wasn't a guaranteed tournament, the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino cut into their own profits by adding an extra $24,219 to the prizepool, enough to increase the first prize to an even $1 million. The players heartily cheered the news that a casino was willfully adding money to the prizepool.
The first day resembled many other WPT events; five 90-minute levels with a lot of famous pros in the field. But when the day ended, only 39% of the players had busted, and this was a four-day tournament. Because of this, Day 2 would be a marathon -- it took 16 hours to get down to the final three tables (27 players) to stop for the day.
Day 3 started two hours late, giving the final 27 a chance for a little sleep before they played down to the six seats at the WPT Final Table. It was Vanessa Rousso who bubbled the TV table -- the second time she's had that unfortunate distinction. (She also finished seventh in the 2006 WPT World Championship.)
With Rousso's elimination, the final six were set:
Seat 1: Hilbert Shirey - 1,353,000
Seat 2: Bobby Suer - 651,000
Seat 3: Tyler Smith - 1,271,000
Seat 4: Allen Carter - 1,673,000
Seat 5: Soheil Shamseddin - 3,091,000
Seat 6: Chuck Kim - 486,000
The WPT Final Table began shortly after 4:00 pm on Saturday, and action started slowly with small pots and few flops. But this was an unassuming prelude for the intense action that would follow for the next seven hours -- there were plenty of double-ups, lead changes, insane bluffs (both called and not), and ultimately a five-outer to end the tournament.
Chuck Kim was the short stack at the table, but he perfected his all-in move on Day 3, when he used it often. With two players entering the pot ahead of him in Hand #15, Kim moved all in with JJ, and after Allen Carter folded, Soheil Shamseddin called with 107 -- not realizing how badly he was dominated. The jacks held up, and Kim doubled up to about a million in chips.
Not long after this, chipleader Shamseddin would continue donating chips by doubling up Bobby Suer -- twice in a row. In the first hand, Shamseddin mistimed a post-flop bluff with ten high into Suer's two pair. In the next hand, Shamseddin moved all in on the turn with a much stronger holding -- a pair of aces with the nut flush draw. But Suer had flopped a set of fives, and they held up. That gave Suer the chip lead, while Shamseddin was staring at the possibility of busting in one of the more epic collapses in WPT history.
But Shamseddin picked up pocket kings and was able to double through Hilbert Shirey's KQ to reach a more comfortable (but still short) stack. A few hands later, Shamseddin called an aggressive preflop reraise from Suer, and immediately moved in on a flop of 854. Suer tanked so long that another player called a clock (five minutes or so), and Suer eventually folded J-J face up. Shamseddin took the pot, showing 66 for a middle pair with a gutshot straight draw. Suer wanted his jacks back.
There had been several all ins to this point, but still, no one had busted. It took 93 hands for the first player to be eliminated, which was just one shy of the WPT record -- and it came on a bad beat. Chuck Kim was all in with AK against the A9 of Shamseddin. A nine on the river turned the tide, and Chuck Kim was eliminated in sixth place.
Not long after that, 22-year-old Tyler Smith moved all in from the small blind after a Hilbert Shirey raise -- but he didn't count on Allen Carter waking up with QQ in the big blind. Shirey folded, and Smith was in a race with AK. He never improved, and Mississippi's own Tyler Smith was eliminated in fifth place.
Three hands later, Shirey moved all in with from the small blind with J10, but Suer called with A8. An ace on the flop held up, and three-time WSOP bracelet winner Hilbert Shirey was eliminated in fourth place.
The final three players were relatively close in chips. There was a little movement back and forth, until Suer and Shamseddin were both all in after a two-diamond flop with flush draws -- but Suer's was higher, and he went on to double up with ace high.
Suer knocked Shamseddin down, but it was Allen Carter who would knock him out. The next hand, Shamseddin picked the wrong time to bluff on the river with jack high -- Carter instacalled with trip tens. Just like that, Soheil Shamseddin was eliminated in third place.
Heads-up play would begin with the following chip counts:
Allen Carter - 5,085,000
Bobby Suer - 3,410,000
That was pretty much the high point for Suer, who lost a series of small pots to dwindle his stack down to about a million before winning a race with AK against Carter's 22, doubling to about 2.4 million. But Suer immediately gave those chips back the next hand. After a flop of K54, Carter bet, Suer raised to a million, and Carter quickly moved all in. Suer thought for nearly three minutes before he folded, leaving himself with about 1.1 million.
In Hand #154, Suer moved all in with AK, dominating Carter's A4 and poised to double up again. The flop came J53, giving Suer a club flush draw and Carter a gutshot straight draw. With five outs in the deck, Carter caught the 2 on the turn to make the straight. The Q on the river failed to fill the flush, and Bobby Suer was eliminated in second place.
With that five-high straight, Allen Carter won the WPT Southern Poker Championship, earning $1,000,000, a $25,500 seat in the season-ending WPT World Championship, and two bracelets (one from the Beau Rivage Casino, and one from the World Poker Tour). Carter is a 40-year-old former accountant from Texas, an online player ("AawwNutz") that is more in the mold of Chris Moneymaker than in the thousands of twenty-something online pros that Moneymaker inspired.
Here is a look at the final standings:
1st: Allen Carter - $1,025,500
2nd: Bobby Suer - $501,028
3rd: Soheil Shamseddin - $263,725
4th: Hilbert Shirey - $184,607
5th: Tyler Smith - $134,500
6th: Chuck Kim - $105,490
Return to WorldPokerTour.com on February 22nd for the start of one of the largest tournaments of the year: the L.A. Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino.
Allen Carter, Bobby Suer, Soheil Shamseddin, Tyler Smith, Hilbert Shirey, Chuck Kim, Beau Rivage, Southern Poker Championship, Season VII, Featured Blog
02:20 AM, 01/18/09
The Mississippi Kid Hits the Rail
Level 22: 40,000-80,000, 10,000 ante
Tyler Smith had become the hometown hero in today’s tournament. The 22 year old Mississippi native is a professional poker player that has had previous success in both online and live tournaments. Proving himself to be a solid young player, Smith recovered from a devastating loss yesterday after his pocket kings went down to the ace-king of Stewart Yancik courtesy of a three outer on the river. Smith was notably shaken, knocking over his chair and temporarily leaving the tournament area. However, he collected himself and continued to grind it out, tripling his short stack within 15 minutes of the beat. He continued to play well yesterday and was able to make it all the way to the final table here today to finish in 5th place, collecting $134,500.
Tyler Smith, Beau Rivage, Southern Poker Championship, Season VII
07:40 PM, 01/17/09
Hand #106: Tyler Smith Eliminated in 5th Place ($134,500)
Level 22: 40,000-80,000, 10,000 ante
Hand #106 - Bobby Suer has the button in seat 2.
Hilbert Shirey raises from the cutoff to 400,000, Tyler Smith moves all in from the small blind for 830,000, and Allen Carter moves all in for 1,005,000. Shirey folds 7-7 face up to get out of the way.
Smith shows AK, and it's a race situation against Carter's QQ. Smith needs to improve to stay alive, but whoever loses is going to be out or extremely short.
The flop comes J84, and Carter retains the lead with his pocket queens. The turn card is the 2, and Smith needs an ace or a king to survive.
The river card is the 8, and Allen Carter wins the pot with two pair, queens, and eights.
Tyler Smith is eliminated in fifth place, earning $134,500.
Tyler Smith, Allen Carter, Featured Blog, Beau Rivage, Southern Poker Championship, Season VII
07:39 PM, 01/17/09
Hand #6: Allen Carter
Level 19: 15,000-30,000, 4,000 ante
Hand #6 - Bobby Suer has the button in seat 2.
Tyler Smith raises from the small blind to 90,000, and Allen Carter calls from the big blind. The crowd applauds as they are about to see their first flop.
The flop comes K63, Smith bets 115,000, and Carter calls. The turn card is the 10, Smith checks, Carter bets 175,000, and Smith folds. Allen Carter takes the pot.
Tyler Smith, Allen Carter, Beau Rivage, Southern Poker Championship, Season VII
02:40 PM, 01/17/09