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Second Time's the Charm for Tommy Vedes
Level 31: 60,000-120,000, 20,000 ante
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