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‘Paint Drying Contest’ won by Johnny Landreth:

Alabaman Makes Deal with Opponents, then Wins Bracelet
reported by Nolan Dalla

On the broad spectrum of poker tournament final tables, there are ‘legendary’ clashes such as the Chan-Seidel rematch at the 2001 World Series of Poker.  There are ‘great’ final tables, such as Sirous Baghchehsaraie’s stunning comeback win after being down 87 to 1 against Scott Fischman at this year’s JBWPO.  There are ‘good’ final tables, such as gadfly Avner Levy’s victory over Maria Stern here last week.  There are ‘average’ final tables – which constitute many of the mid-level events.  And occasionally, there are lackluster final tables, which happen every so often.  Then -- there is Event #9, the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event at this year’s Jack Binion World Poker Open – which stands alone in the colorful kaleidoscope that is the poker world.

To say that this final table lacked drama would be a gross understatement.  There were few big hands, no turning points, no amazing comebacks, nor lively banter that normally characterizes just about every tournament finale.  It wasn’t necessarily the players’ fault.  They played well, and deserved to be here, having topped a very tough field of 677 entrants.  Most of them were relative newcomers to the final table experience, having never played for these stakes before.  It certainly wasn’t the fact that the stakes were below par – this event awarded the third-highest prize money pool so far this year, including a whopping $175,597 for first place.  Fact was -- the final table was so utterly without drama that the sparse crowd gradually got fed up with the match, especially when play became short-handed, and drifted off to watch the NFL playoffs on television or play in live games.

It all comes down to deals and dealmaking.  When play became four handed, the remaining players cut a deal. They reportedly took $90,000 and change each.  Such is the case with poker tournaments, where as long as the prize money is being put up exclusively by the players, they have the right (in most cases) to cut up the loot as they wish, whenever they want.  We can debate the practice of dealmaking, and whether it’s good or bad for poker.  Or, we can simply say that deals are a part of the game and acknowledge the fact.  They happen.

Following Day One, during which 668 players were eliminated, the nine finalists took their seats at the final table.  Thereafter, players were eliminated in the following order:

9th Place – Giovanni Rocca, from Toronto, Canada, arrived lowest in chips.  He flopped a flush draw with K-Q of clubs, but missed on the final two cards and lost to Lee Grove’s pocket Kings.  Rocca, who won a poker tournament at St. Ignace, last year, added $12,542 to his poker bankroll.

8th Place – Steve Hohn was second lowest in chips, and par for the course, he went out next.  The Overland Park, KS-based poker player, who has won major tournaments at the Commerce Casino in the past, and finished in the top spots at World Series events in recent years, played his last hand with A-J, which lost to Charlie Dawson’s Q-Q.  A Queen fell on the turn, for overkill, eliminating Hohn.  He received $18,813.  

7th Place – Vince Byrd, a Supervisor for the LA-Z-BOY chair company (man, couldn’t we have used some of his products at this final table), went out next with A-Q against Karl Limbert’s 9-9.  The pocket Nines held up, and Bryd had to recline from his chair in 7th place, good for $25,084.

6th Place – After doubling up ‘all in’ with pocket Aces early, Karl Limbert went out with J-J against Johnny Landreth’s A-Q, when two queens came on board.  Limbert, a UK bookmaker (it’s allowed by law there, folks), booked a nice payday -- $31,355.

5th Place – Tracey Phan, a Long Beach, CA poker player who finished third in the women’s event at the 2004 World Series of Poker, moved ‘all in’ hoping to steal the blinds with A-J.  Lee Grove had Q-Q.  Phan baited Grove into calling, by saying “please call – I want you to call.”  Grove was only too happy to call with the pocket queens which held up and eliminated Phan.  Phan, who stated her goal is to be “the first and youngest Vietnamese lady to win the poker world championship,” received $37,625 for fifth place.


4th Place – After the four finalists made a deal, Larry Butler, who has finished in the money multiple times at the JBWPO in the past, took a tough beat when his top pair of Aces lost to a set.  Charlie Dawson flopped a set of Threes, which ripped most of the chips out of Butler’s stack.  Butler, a trauma surgeon, was now on life support.  A few hands later, Johnny Landreth flat-lined Butler with a set of Jacks.  Butler took home $43,896 officially.

3rd Place – Lee Grove a wheat farmer from Nebraska was next cut from the chafe.  Grove, who had two 4th place finishes at the World Series, and was playing in the JBWPO for the first time, collected $50,167.  

The heads-up match between Johnny Landreth and Charlie Dawson lasted nearly two full hours.  During the duel, neither player seemed willing to commit his stack at any time.  Often, the opponent would fold whenever either player showed the least bit of aggression.  The snoozefest was occasionally overshadowed by Dawson’s cheering section, made up of family and friends.  The Kentucky crew did everything to encourage Dawson, even calling out the board cards at one point – which begat a rebuke from Tournament Director, David Eglseder.

Dawson enjoyed a 3 to 2 chip lead at the start, but after Landreth made a flush on one key hand, he had Dawson by 3 to 1.  Half an hour later, Landreth made another flush, and the end seemed mercifully near.  But Dawson, rooted on by his cheering section, staged a rally and drew back close to even.  The monotony went on, and on, and on, as blinds and a few chips moved back and forth in an apparent cat and mouse game. 

After a short break, the end came in bizarre fashion.  Dawson tried to make a move on the pot by raising ‘all in’ with 7-3 off-suit (not exactly they type of hand one would expect to see after two hours of tedious conservatism), which was called instantly by Johnny Landreth holding Q-10 of clubs.  Okay, so it was sooooted.

The final board showed Q-10-J-J-4, giving Landreth a sledgehammer of a hand over Dawson – two pair. 

For second place, Dawson officially collected $90,929.  Given that he agreed to a deal, this is about the same money he would have received anyway as the runner-up.  Dawson, an engineer, was playing at the JBWPO for the first time.  It was quite a payoff for a first-time visit.

Johnny Landreth, a retired used car dealer from Alabama, was the ‘winner.’  Afterward, as bystanders stood around anxiously anticipating even a tiny morsel of drama, it became clear there would be none.  It was as though a business deal had just been consummated in a boardroom somewhere.  There were no cheers.  There was no confetti.  There were no tears of joy or sadness.  It was just business.


2005 Jack Binion World Poker Open Event #9 Results

Horseshoe Casino Hotel and

Gold Strike Casino-Resort, Tunica, MS

Daily Report

January 15, 2005

Event #9

No-Limit TexasHold’em

Buy-In: $1,000

Number of Entries: 677 

Prize Money: $630,818

Official Results:

1.   Johnny Landreth               Lanett, AL     $175,597 *

2.   Charlie Dawson               Lexington, KY    $90,929

3.   Lee Grove                        Superior, NE     $50,167

4.   Larry Butler                     Colorado Springs, CO   $43,896

5.  Tracey Phan                       Los Angeles, CA          $37,625 

6.  Karl Limbert                      Margate, UK           $31,355

7.  Vince Byrd                        Dayton, TN              $25,084

8.  Steve Hohn                        Overland Park, KS      $18,813

9.  Gio Rocca                         Toronto, Canada         $12,542

* plus a seat in the $10,000 buy-in championship event


10. Edward Moncada             Oakland, CA               6,898

11. Scott Loye                        Weatherford, TX          6,898

12. Michael John Dean          Dunedin, FL                  6,868

13. Phil Johnson                    Atlanta, GA                   5,818

14. Michael Johnson              Charleston, IL                5,818

15. Mark Seif                         Incline Village, NV            5,818

16. Rob Hollink                     Groningen, Netherlands      4,525

17. Brian Owens                    Lexington, KY                    4,525

18. David Randall                  Tucker, GA                       4,525

19. Fred Brown                      Howell, MI                        3,232

20. Guillermo Ruz                Tampa, FL                        3,232

21. Mike Pruett                      Carrollton, GA                    3,232

22. Bill Seber                         Houston, TX                      3,232

23. Charles Blair         
Hodgenville, KY              3,232

24. J.C. Tran                           Sacramento, CA              3,232

25. Richard Cohen                 Cincinnati, OH                 3,232

26. Bill Eichel                        Parker, SD                      3,232

27. Gino Sabella                   
New Bern, NC                  3,232

28. Dennis Waterman            Myrtle Point, OR               2,263

29. Mousey Davis                  Houston, TX                    2,263

30. Parviz Amleshi               
St. Louis, MO                   2,263

31. Eric Seiler                       
St. Louis, MO                   2.263

32. Jo Jo Trevino                   Corpus Christi, TX             2,263

33. Jo Handman                     London, England               2,263

34. Chris Hunt                       Paris, KY                         2,263

35. Buster Jackson                
Elm City, NC                    2,263

36. Andy ‘Turtle’ Pachman   Atlanta, GA                     2.263

37. Earl Holmes                     Valdosta, CA                   1,939

38. John De Francis               Kendall Park, NJ               1,939

39. Paul Fehlig                     
St. Louis, MO                   1,939

40. Roy Swindle                    Valdosta, GA                    1,939

41. Sonny Perry                1,939

42. Louis Adat                   1,939

43. Joey Ganim                  1,939

44. Jeff Gibralter                1,939

45. Carlos Fuentes             1,939

46. Shamill Kostashuk          1,616

47. William Banks                 1,616

48. Phillip Hernke                 1,616

49. Dan Delnoce                 1,616

50. Jerry Zehr                    1,616

51. Chris Grigorian               1,616

52. Glen Bean                    1,616

53. Richard Abrell               1,616

54. Thomas Stinson            1,616

55. Jack Markowitz             1,293

56. Don Sekorky               1,293

57. Wilson Carnes             1,293

58. Don McCarthy             1,293

59. Dayne Baverman          1,293

60. Steve Hobbs               1,293

61. Pete Cikesh                 1,293

62. Andy Fine                   1,293

63. Phi Nguyen                  1,293

Final Table Started at: 4:00 pm CST

Final Table Ended at: 10:30 pm CST


Report by Nolan Dalla – JBWPO Media Director


Tournament Director – David Eglseder

Co-Tournament Director (Horseshoe) – Ken Lambert, Jr.

Co-Tournament Director (Gold Strike) – Robert McGovern


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