Foxwoods Poker Classic
|Dates||Apr 6 - 9, 2006|
|Final Table Date||Apr 09, 2006|
|Buy-In||$9,700 + $300|
|Number of Entrants||431|
If you're playing in a World Poker Tour event, there's a good chance that you've dreamed—at least once—about winning a WPT title. The daydream crosses many a mind during a World Poker Tour season. Some people get but one chance to shoot for the title. Then, there are other players who try, try, and try again without reaching the elusive first place finish. Over three years, semi-pro poker player Victor Ramdin chased his dream all over the globe. Like Ahab to the great white whale, Ramdin traveled many a mile but had not captured the one thing he chased.
Oddly, even as he reached the Foxwoods Poker Classic final table and even as his contemporaries lauded him as a professional, Ramdin sat back and declared himself no more than a semi-pro in search of a title.
"Hopefully, someday I'll be a pro," he mused.
Looking around the baize at his opponents, one could only wonder what Ramdin was thinking. A doctor, a student, a used car salesmen, and a couple of retired businessmen guarded their chips with every ounce of concentration, but not one of them had as much big time tournament experience as Ramdin.
These six had battled their way through the 431 players in the Foxwoods Poker Classic and all of them had their eyes set on the $1.3 million first prize and seat at the WPT Championship. Here's how they stacked up as they started to play on the WPT final table.
Seat 1: Bruce Kater - 564,000
Seat 2: John Russell - 639,000
Seat 3: Alex Jacob - 1,066,000
Seat 4: Larry Klur - 1,687,000
Seat 5: Victor Ramdin - 1,793,000
Seat 6: Ed Jordan - 2,875,000
Ramdin is an enigma to his opponents. Half of his opponents think he is impossibly tight. The other half thinks Ramdin is a maniac bully. That is, in fact, exactly how he likes it. It's hard to put the man on a hand. So, it's no big surprise that Ramdin starts off final table play in the Foxwoods Poker Classic by raising with a ten and a four in his hand. That time, Larry Klur popped him back with AK, and Ramdin went quietly away.
Anyone who had seen Ramdin's cards might have asked, "Ten-four? What is that all about?" Indeed, there is a method to Ramdin's faux madness.
And what is that method? Ramdin with AQ came in for a standard raise to 120,000. Across the table, Dr. Bruce Kater, no doubt an intelligent man and good poker player, looked down at AT. Certainly, six-handed, AT looks good. But good enough for a re-raise? Against another player, Kater might have made a different decision. Against Ramdin, Kater had a legitimate reason to believe his AT—or at the very least, an all-in re-raise—might be good enough to take down the pot. So, that was, in fact, what Kater did. He pushed all his chips in the middle.
Ramdin, ever-plotting, sat back and considered the problem. Kater had pushed in more than half a million chips. As Ramdin contemplated the call, Kater sat stoic, like he was just about to deliver bad news to the family of a patient. Behind dark glasses, with his finger pressed to his moustache, Kater waited and gave nothing away.
Finally, Ramdin decided he would call and it became painfully clear to Kater that he had misread his opponent. He would need more than a medical miracle to survive. By the time the board came out 5-K-3-J-J, Kater accepted his fate and collected $167,008 for his sixth place finish..
Perhaps sensing the kind of action he was in the middle of, used car salesman, John Russell, started to get aggressive. First, he picked off Alex Jacob when Jacob tried to steal from the button. Buoyed by his success, Russell found himself on the button with AJ offsuit. With nary a flourish, Russell moved all in. His timing could not have been worse. Ramdin held pocket aces in the small blind. Rather than play slow, Ramdin moved all in and forced Larry Klur to lay down pocket jacks in the big blind. With little chance to improve, Russell didn't even need to look at the board. Instead, he stood up to collect his fifth place winnings, $208,000.
If players were ever confused by Ramdin's enigmatic play, they found it even harder to read 21 year-old Ivy League student Alex Jacob. Whether he was winning pots or losing them, Jacob's expression never changed. Although he was only 21 years old, he already had significant tournament experience. His final table appearance was no surprise to the people who knew him. However, since the final table began, Jacob's stack had dwindled to the shortest at the table.
So, when businessman Ed Jordan made it 125,000 to go with AK, Jacob decided it was time to make a decision. After a significant amount of thought, Jacob moved all-in with pocket sixes. Jordan made the easy call, but it turned out to be a less than easy result. No ace or king fell and the young Ivy League student doubled up. However, Jacob wouldn't keep the chips for very long. Jacob, holding pocket queens, attempted to trap Jordan in a battle of the blinds. By the time the hand was over, Jordan made a straight and got Jacob to pay him off.
Then, something odd began to happen. Ramdin's hyper-aggressiveness started working against him. Within a couple of levels, Ramdin had fallen from chip-leader to the shortest stack at the table. It seemed the other players found a way to understand Ramdin's methods and cut him off at the knees.
Perhaps the quietest and least active player at the table was Larry Klur. Whether it was fear of being blinded off or the need to get in the action, Klur decided to come in for a big raise with 86 suited. Again, the timing was horrible. Ramdin moved all in with AJ. Even worse, pot odds forced Klur to call. When the board didn't improve Klur's hand, he found himself crippled. What's more, Ramdin now had enough bullets to get back in the game.
With barely enough chips to play and facing a raise from Ed Jordan, Klur sighed and said, "Okay, I guess I've had my day." With A7, he moved all in. This time, pot odds forced Jordan to call with his pocket fours. The fates of drama then took over and laid out the flop: A95. It seemed for a moment, as Klur raised his hand in temporary triumph, that the retired cosmetics man would survive. Instead, the turn and river came, 3-2, runner-runner, to give Jordan a straight. Klur received $292,264 for his fourth place finish.
In a table full of drama and oddities, Alex Jacob managed an amazing feat. After losing a lot of chips with his pocket queens earlier in the game, he'd somehow found a way to go from short-stack to chip leader without showing down a hand. Before the final table began, Jacob had said he thought he was only outmatched by Victor Ramdin. It was quickly becoming clear how the event would proceed.
As if to speed along the process, Ed Jordan picked the wrong time to read Ramdin for a steal. Facing a Ramdin raise, Jordan moved all in with the Q6 of diamonds. Ramdin with Ac Qs made the call instantly and built a pot worth more than four million chips in it. Jordan seemed resigned to his fate, but then the flop came out 865. It was a cruel blow, but Ramdin's face didn't move, even when the turn gave him a spade flush draw and a lot more outs. And then fate took over once again. An ace fell on the river, crippling Jordan to well under 1 million in chips, and moving Ramdin to dance around like a prize fighter who just recovered from nearly being knocked out to win the battle. Three hands later Jordan was out of his misery when he went all-in with a 73 and Jacob made a full house,. Jordan went home with a respectful third place finish and $417,520.
Finally, the tournament was down to two players. The first, Jacob, had been chasing a title for just a few months. The second, Ramdin, had been chasing a WPT title for three years. As the heads-up match began, Jacob stole the blinds and antes with marginal hands. Then, without warning, all of the chips were in the middle of the table. Jacob held AK to Ramdin's pair of nines. The flop removed much question of what was about to happen. Ramdin flopped a set and took most of the chips on the table.
Nearly crippled, Jacob moved the rest of his chips to the middle of felt with Kd Jc. Ramdin called with Ah Js. The board came 3s-Qh-7h-8s-Jh, giving both players a pair of Jacks but Ramdin the win with his Ace-kicker. Jacob earned $655,507 for an exceptional second place finish. Splashing face-down on the table, Ramdin knew that he had finally won., Victor Ramdin captured the great white whale, the WPT title he pursued diligently for three years. With his victory, he earned $1,331,889 and a seat at the WPT Championship.