Five Diamond World Poker Classic
|Dates||Dec 12 - 16, 2005|
|Final Table Date||Dec 16, 2005|
|Buy-In||$15,000 + $300|
|Number of Entrants||555|
J.J. Liu sat in a wash of contrast. Her hologram sunglasses were frivolous, but her shirt's neckline plunged seductively and dangerously toward her stomach. She was, no doubt, all woman. She sat with five of the most dangerous male poker players in the world. When the cards hit the air, however, Liu had them all out-stacked. She was the first woman to ever start a World Poker Tour televised table with the chip lead.
Here's how the players stacked up as they started at the televised final table.
Seat 1: Darrell "Gigabet" Dicken - 3,510,000
Seat 2: Patrik Antonius - 1,755,000
Seat 3: Rehne Pedersen - 3,225,000
Seat 4: J.J. Liu - 3,630,000
Seat 5: Phil Laak - 2,505,000
Seat 6: Doyle Brunson - 2,030,000
Liu may have been making news with her chip lead, but the buzz in the room was all about Finland's Patrik Antonius, a male model-turned-poker player who spent the better part of the last twelve months taking the poker world by storm. Young and good looking, Antonius seemed to have tapped into some supernatural poker power. As play began, Antonius aimed to show American legend Doyle Brunson and legend in the making Darrell "Gigabet" Dicken what a young European could do. Antonius began final table play by summoning pocket aces and pocket tens within the first few hands. Though he had started the day last in chips, he was now on his way toward the top.
With the blinds at 40,000/80,000 and a 10,000 ante, Antonius picked up pocket aces again and made it 200,000 to go. With nary a breath of final table air yet in his lungs, the ever-active Phil "The Unabomber" Laak picked the wrong time to bluff and pushed all-in with king-three offsuit. Antonius made the immediate call and flipped over his rockets.
"It's going to be a long while before I get to another final table," Laak muttered and watched the board come out KJT/A/5. With that, the Unabomber fizzled out in sixth place, earning $160,729. Laak's chips, now in Antonius' stack, moved the young Fin into the chip lead with nearly 6 million in chips.
It quickly became apparent that the players would be battling the blinds and antes as hard as they would battle each other. So, when Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson—who had lost some chips to Antonius with an earlier ill-timed raise—pushed in his last 805,000 with Big Slick. Dicken looked down to find an ace and a jack and made the call. Dicken didn't improve and Brunson doubled up. While Brunson had suddenly risen to third chip position, he wouldn't hold on to the chips for long. Facing a raise from J.J. Liu, Brunson made the bet 1 million to go with pocket jacks. Liu, holding Big Slick, pushed all in. Had Brunson known he was up against AK, he would've called in a shot. Instead, he went in the tank and emerged believing Liu held a bigger pair. Brunson mucked and said goodbye to his 1 million in chips.
With the blinds now up to 60,000/120,000 with a 15,000 ante, there remained little time to be patient. With that in mind, Dicken found pocket fours and moved the rest of his stack to the middle. Antonius made the call with AJ. The dealer burned the deck's top card and then peeled off one of the six cards Dicken didn't want to see, a jack hit the felt and Dicken never found his two remaining outs. He exited in fifth place and added $241,495 to his bankroll.
Sitting quietly, Rehne Pedersen had been waiting for a hand—any hand—that he could win. Finally, he found it. When the play folded to him in the small blind, Pedersen picked up pocket kings and moved in for 1.8 million. The bet was noticeably larger than it should've been and moved Liu to call with pocket fours in the big blind. Liu couldn't find a way to improve her hand and Pedersen, once a quiet factor in the game, sprang into action.
Although the blinds once again jumped up, now to 100,000/200,000 and a 20,000 ante, Brunson still hoped to play some post-flop poker. Facing an Antonius raise to 600,000, Brunson called from the big blind with ten-eight offsuit. When the flop came out 8-4-2, Brunson pushed in the rest of his stack. Antonius, holding a pair of nines, made the instant call and prepared to take out the Legend. Instead, fate smiled on Brunson and gave him a ten on the turn. The river blanked and Brunson doubled up.
Antonius, however, wouldn't back down. On two subsequent hands, he picked up pocket pairs, came over the top of Brunson's raises, and forced Texas Dolly to muck his hand.
With blinds now 150,000/300,000 with a 50,000 ante, the action was bound to pick up, and it did. When Antonius tried to steal the blinds with eight-two, Pedersen woke up with pocket queens, and vaulted to the chip lead.
Buoyed by his newfound chip lead, Pedersen came in for a raise with a pair of deuces. When Brunson pushed all in with pocket tens, Pedersen was committed to the pot and had to call. Brunson doubled up and found new life in the multi-million dollar contest.
Liu, who had battled her way to the final table with the chip lead, suddenly found her stack to be no match for the blinds and pushed in the rest of her chips with ace-three offsuit. Antonius called the bet with ace-ten. Liu didn't improve and left the contest in fourth place, earning $362, 140 for her efforts.
With Liu out of the contest, the remaining men went to battle. Brunson limped in with pocket threes. Antonius, with a firm chip lead, pushed all in with A2, sure Brunson couldn't call with a limping hand. Instead, Brunson called, doubled up, and took the chip lead.
"How could you make that call?" Antonius asked incredulously.
"How could I make that call?" Brunson responded with a smile. "How could you make that bet? We're playing poker, not solitaire."
The players continued to trade the chip lead until Antonius' A9 held up against Brunson's A6 and Brunson's stack was reduced to 1.5 million. With KJ, Brunson pushed all in and ran directly into Pedersen's pair of kings. Although the board offered some drama and offered Brunson a few outs on the river, Brunson's luck would run out. He left in third place and added $563,485 to his lifetime winnings.
With the two European players left, Rehne Pedersen held around 10 million in chips to Antonius' 6.6 million. In the early stages of heads up play, Antonius used his special brand of aggression to regain the chip lead. By the time the blinds were up to 300,000/600,000 and a 50,000 ante, 1 million was in the pot before the flop of every hand.
After a few hands of play, Antonius made a massive overbet with ace-king suited. Pedersen decided he liked his ace-four suited and called for the rest of his chips. The crowd, now firmly behind Antonius, exploded. However, before the celebration could settle down, the board ran out 765/3/T, giving Pedersen the pot and nearly every chip in the game. One hand later, the game was over and Pedersen was the champion.
Antonius won $1,046,470 for his second place finish. Pedersen earned a massive $2,078,185 for the champion spot.