Level 27: 40,000-80,000, 10,000 ante
By BJ Nemeth
The playdown day for WPT Festa al Lago was a crazy one, as the chipleaders crashed early and the short stacks made comebacks -- over and over again. It was a day when short stacks always seemed to find a way to double up, even if they were dominated preflop. Read the photo captions for more details.
It took a little more than 12 hours to play down from 13 players to six, but the televised WPT final table is set:
Seat 1. Skip Wilson - 1,200,000 (15 bb)
Seat 2. Michael Benvenuti - 1,390,000 (17 bb)
Seat 3. Jason Koon - 2,555,000 (31 bb)
Seat 4. Noah Schwartz - 3,135,000 (39 bb)
Seat 5. Randal Flowers - 3,215,000 (40 bb)
Seat 6. Andy Frankenberger - 1,935,000 (24 bb)
And the prizepool they'll be playing for:
1st - $831,500 (includes $25,500 seat into WPT World Championship)
2nd - $564,200
3rd - $344,968
4th - $225,680
5th - $161,200
6th - $112,840
And now, a photographic look back at Day 5 of the WPT Festa al Lago at Bellagio:
Last night, Jeff Madsen grabbed some late-night Chinese food, and found this in his fortune cookie: "Your hard work is about to pay off." Madsen hoped it was a sign of making his first televised WPT final table.
Shortly before Day 5 began, Jeff Madsen (left) and Andy Frankenberger rebuild their chip stacks from the night before.
Annette Obrestad (top left) seems like an innocent young woman, but she commands a powerful presence at the poker table, especially when she has chips. Obrestad began the day as the only player with more than 2 million in chips. Before play began, the other players were jokingly asking her to be merciful.
Day 5 started horribly for Annette Obrestad, as Skip Wilson doubled through her twice in the first hour. In the first hand, they were all in after the flop, Obrestad's overpaid against Wilson's flush draw -- and Wilson turned his flush. Wilson was relatively short-stacked, so Obrestad survived in good shape. But half an hour later, Wilson was all in with QQ against Obrestad's AK -- and you can see the board in this photo. Wilson cheered when he turned a set of queens, but it actually favored Obrestad, who picked up a gutshot straight draw and a flush draw to go with her two overcards. But it wasn't Obrestad's day, and she missed all her outs and was knocked down to just 16 big blinds. Skip Wilson, who started the day in 13th place, was now the chipleader.
Talk about a reversal of fortune -- in less than an hour, Annette Obrestad and Skip Wilson swapped chip stacks and positions on the leaderboard. Obrestad's boyfriend, Scott Montgomery, watches the carnage from the background.
Jeff Madsen (top left) also had a horrible start to Day 5. Madsen started the day in third place on the leaderboard, but he doubled up Michael Benvenuti before losing this race (AQ vs. JJ) to John Monnette (foreground, right). Like Annette Obrestad, Madsen was knocked down to just 16 big blinds, and he had a lot of hard work ahead of him to make his fortune cookie come true.
Now short-stacked, Annette Obrestad moves all in, and Brandon Steven (not pictured) asks if she's looking for a call. Annette says she'll take whatever comes, because she needs chips. Steven eventually folded, and Obrestad showed K6. Obrestad assured him it wasn't a bluff, saying, "Honestly, I'd have taken a call."
Jeff Madsen (background, right) starts work on his comeback, doubling through Andy Frankenberger (center) with KQ against AJ. Madsen caught a queen on the turn and a king on the river to win the pot.
Annette Obrestad moves all in preflop with Q10, but she's dominated by Brandon Steven's A10. Obrestad calls over her friend WPT Anchor Kimberly Lansing (standing, right) to hold her hand for good luck as the board comes out, but it didn't work -- Steven won the pot with ace high, and Annette Obrestad was eliminated in 13th place.
Brandon Steven stacks his chips after eliminating Annette Obrestad in 13th place. Steven was the high-profile 10th-place finisher in this year's WSOP Main Event, just missing a coveted spot in the November Nine. Steven was hoping to redeem himself by making this televised WPT Final Table.
Short stack John Krpan (right) doubled up with AK against the AQ of Randal Flowers (center) with 11 players remaining. (John Monnette was eliminated in 12th place.)
Noah Schwartz (left) reraises Jason Koon after a flop of 10106 with 11 players remaining.
Michael Benvenuti (center) plays a hand against Noah Schwartz (right) during hand-for-hand play with 11 players remaining.
Jeff Madsen (top left) is stunned after he is eliminated in 11th place. Madsen was all in preflop for 15 big blinds with AQ, and he dominated the A5 of Jason Koon (foreground). The flop was a good one for Madsen, but the final board of 8739J gave Koon a spade flush to win the pot. Madsen was motionless for more than 10 seconds as he watched a WPT final table slip out of his reach.
Day 5 took place in Bellagio's poker room, in the high-limit section. While the final 10 players resumed play at a single table, the WPT crew and reporters operated from repurposed poker tables.
Randal Flowers (left) and Andy Frankenberger have both won WPT titles -- Flowers won the WPT Spanish Championship last season, and Frankenberger won the WPT Legends of Poker earlier this season. In this battle-of-the-champions hand, Flowers got the best of it. With the board showing QQ9J on the turn, Flowers moved all in with KQ (trip queens) and doubled through Frankenberger's A10.
With 10 players remaining, Brandon Steven (background, right) talks to Andy Frankenberger (foreground, left) after a flop of 1092. Steven claimed to have had a set, but felt that Frankenberger had a higher set. Steven eventually folded, and Frankenberger took the pot without showing.
John Krpan (right) shakes hands with the other players after busting out in 10th place. Krpan lost a preflop race with 77 against the AK of Jason Koon (not pictured).
Brandon Steven (left) moves all in under the gun, and waits for a decision from Jason Koon (center, left). Koon would eventually fold, but Bobby Suer (far right) would call with AK and win a race against Steven's 88. The hand would cripple Steven, who ultimately busted in ninth place.
Skip Wilson (standing, right) pumps his fists after doubling up with AA against the AQ of Randal Flowers (foreground, left). Wilson didn't play many hands at the final table, but he showed down strong hands whenever he did.
Allen Kessler attempts to make his third televised WPT final table, and is wearing a "Texas Hold'em Chainsaw Massacre" shirt that a fan created.
Michael Benvenuti (far left) puts a bad beat on Bobby Suer (far right) -- Benvenuti was all in preflop with 86 against Suer's QQ, but caught a diamond flush to win the pot. On this day, there were quite a few times when the short-stacked all-in players were dominated preflop and dishing out bad beats.
To keep the game running, Tournament Director Craig Lumpp sits in the box and deals a hand to the final eight players until a new dealer can be rounded up. Lumpp dealt one hand, but it wasn't without controversy, as Jason Koon (foreground, right) open-folded the river in a three-way pot. Koon received a warning, and Andy Frankenberger (left) bet Allen Kessler (seat 9) out of the pot.
After Bobby Suer's elimination in eighth place, the final seven players battle it out on the TV bubble.
WPT Announcer Mike Sexton (standing, left) and the WPT's new "Raw Deal" analyst Tony Dunst (standing, center) check out the action with seven players remaining.
Allen Kessler waits alone at the table during one of the breaks with seven players remaining. Except for the dealer, that is.
A race situation turns into a chop for Randal Flowers (left) and Andy Frankenberger. Flowers was all in with 33 against Frankenberger's AK. The board brought out an eight-high straight, and Jason Koon said, "Well, if there's ever a good time for a chop, I guess it's a race situation."
Michael Benvenuti (foreground, right) lays a bad beat on Jason Koon (foreground, left) when his J6 turns the tables on Koon's A6 -- Benvenuti caught a runner-runner king-high straight.
Skip Wilson (standing, left) doubles up again, this time with 1010 against the 6-6 of Noah Schwartz (right). Wilson seemed to be the only player who could win with the best preflop hand.
A short while earlier, Allen Kessler doubled through Jason Koon with pocket aces against Koon's A-K. Kessler won that battle, but Koon won the war -- in the last hand of the night, Kessler moved all in with AK and ran into Jason Koon's AA. Andy Frankenberger (left) offers condolences to Kessler after his seventh-place finish on the TV bubble.
The televised WPT final table begins tomorrow (Thursday) at 4:00 pm PT, when the final six players will battle it out for the title. Return to WorldPokerTour.com for complete hand-for-hand coverage of all the action, including chip counts after every hand, a winner's interview with WPT Anchor Kimberly Lansing, and a video recap from Jessica Welman and BJ Nemeth.
Level 24: 20,000-40,000, 4,000 ante
Hand #25 - Jason Koon raises from middle position to 100,000, winning the blinds and antes.
Hand #26 - Michael Benvenuti raises from early position to 87,000, winning the blinds and antes.
Hand #27 - Brandon Steven limps from early position for 40,000, Jason Koon raises from middle position to 135,000, Frankenberger calls from the cutoff, and John Krpan moves all in from the small blind for 314,000.
Steven folds, and Koon moves all in over the top. Frankenberger says, "That made my decision easy," and he folds. Krpan shows 77, and he's racing against Koon's AK.
The board comes JJ310K, and Koon pairs his king on the river to win the pot and eliminate John Krpan in 10th place.
Jason Koon - 2,420,000 (60 bb)
John Krpan - Out in 10th Place ($38,688)
Level 23: 15,000-30,000, 4,000 ante
John Krpan moves all in for 257,000 from under the gun with AK, and Randal Flowers calls from the small blind with AQ.
The board comes J94310, and Krpan wins the pot with his king kicker to double up in chips.
John Krpan - 550,000 (18 bb)
Randal Flowers - 1,500,000 (50 bb)
Level 19: 6,000-12,000, 2,000 ante
John Krpan is in the big blind and checks on a board of A844. Matt Stout is in middle position and bets 42,000 into a pot of 60,000 or so. Krpan check-raises all-in for an additional 104,000 and Stout gets a count before calling.
As Krpan turns over A4 for fours full, Stout just says, "Oh." he pauses a beat, then adds, "I sucks," as he turns up AT for aces and fours. The river is the 9 and Krpan doubles up.
John Krpan - 360,000 (30 big blinds)
Matt Stout - 440,000 (37 big blinds)