Scott Dove won the No Limit Hold’em event at the Los Angeles Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino. But it took some high-intensity negotiations to seal the deal.
This may have been the only major tournament in history where the negotiations took almost as long as the play. It took roughly an hour to get down to four players, and then another 50 minutes of bargaining before the event ended in a chip-count deal.
In fact, the negotiations lasted almost as long as the night before, which went on for an hour, with one dealer spending his entire rotation at the table without dealing a hand.
When the deal was finally consummated, Scott Dove, with 295,000 in chips, was declared the winner of this $485 no-limit, $25,000-added event. Finishing second was Larry Eubanks with 200k. Mickey "Mouse" Mills was third with 181k, and Patrick Wachs, a landscape designer, was fourth with 95k.
Dove, a resident of Scottsdale, Arizona has been playing poker for only 16 months after being tutored by two of his friends. He spends about 70 percent of his poker time online, his biggest cash-out being $87,000 for winning one of PokerStar’s Sunday tournaments. He prefers online cash games, particularly $30-$60 hold’em. Online has been good to him. His total gross for the past 12 months, he calculates, has been more than $300,000.
Final-table play began with blinds of $3,000-$6,000 and $1,000 antes, 31:56 remaining. Wachs had the chip lead with 134k. It was bang-bang action from the opening bell, with three players gone in just five hands.
The slaughter started on the second hand. Mills raised in late position for 15K with A-7. David Tamaguchi, on the button, moved in for his remaining 21k with pocket 5s. The board came 10-10-2-A-8, and the mouse’s paired ace left Tamaguchi, a supervisor, in 10th place.
On the next hand, Wachs opened for 15k with Ad-Kd. Kevin Gugliotta raised all in for 9k more. He was in bad shape with A-5, and a board of Q-J-7-10-8 failed to rescue him.
Then, just two hands later, restaurateur Paul Vinci raised to 18k. Wachs called. When the board came J-6-4, Wachs bet 63k and Vinci moved in for a total of 75k with pocket 10s. Wachs, with K-J, had flopped top pair, and in no time the table was down to seven.
Wachs now had a tall mountain of chips, more than $200,000 worth, that were spilling all over the table as he tried to stack them. "It’s like looking over Mt. Everest," one of the players cracked.
But then Wachs began giving his chips away. Six times in the next 13 hands he would call raises, sometimes with trash hands, losing each time. This play may have made him hard to read, but it also made him hard to win.
The first time, he raised to 22k with just 8-6 and called when Eubanks moved in for 49k more with A-10. When the board came Q-J-3-10-6, Eubanks doubled up at Wachs’ expense. Three hands later, Wachs called a raise by Eubanks, then folded when the Vegas pro moved in on the flop. Next, he called a 12k raise by Dove, and again folded on the flop when Dove moved in. With limits now at $4,000-$8,000, he called another raise, this time by Mills, and once more folded on the flop.
This puzzling play continued when he called Dove’s 22k raise and again folded when Dove moved in on a flop of J-10-8. On hand 18 he bled off chips for the sixth time. This time Dove raised 16k and got a call from Marku Shpend and Wachs. The flop of Q-Q-3 was checked. When a king turned, Shpend, who had slow-played his A-Q, moved in. Wachs folded. The majority of his 200k-plus had evaporated in those 13 hands.
But at least Wachs was still in the tournament. Shpend’s slow-play of his trip queens cost him his seat. Dove, with pocket kings, made kings-full on the turn, and he knocked Shpend out in seventh place.
On the next hand, Wachs got up and walked away from the table in the small blind before action had gotten to him, perhaps to re-think his strategy.
While Wachs was taking a walk on that hand, pro player Scotty Brown ended up taking a walk too. Short-chipped, Brown moved in with a 15k raise from the big blind holding A-Q. Dove decided to call with A-9, and then put a bad beat on the Michigan resident when the board came 10-9-6-7-K.
Dove now had the unquestioned lead with close to 300,000 of the 768,000 chips on the table, while Wachs had blown off something like 3/4ths of his. Just 19 hands had gone by, and only two more remained. J.R. Rodeffer, who owns a high technology network resale company, had not been been getting much in the way of cards. Finally, he looked down at a pair of treys and decided he had to make a move. He raised for his last 28k and was called by Wachs, who had As-8s. The match was nearly a toss-up, and Wachs, finally recovering some of his chips, won it when the board came A-K-10-4-10.
The table was now four-handed, and the players began talking...and talking...and talking. Wachs was a holdout. Finally, it was a done deal and the tournament ended.
LA Poker Classic
Prize Pool: $396,995
1. Scott Dove $142,916
2. Larry Eubanks $69,474
3. Micky Mills $34,142
4. Patrick Wachs $20,247
5. J.R. Rodeffer $15,880
6. Scotty Brown $11,910
7. Marku Shpend $9,925
8. Paul Vinci $7,940
9. Kevin Gugliotta $5,955
10.David Tamiguchi $4,367
11. Susan Joseph, $4,367
12. Arthur Katz, $4,367
13. Andrew Kelley, $3,573
14. Gary Beck, $3,573
15. Edward Antanasio $3,573
16. David Lewis, $2,779
17. Renee Wexler, $2,779
18. Billeh Waleed, $2,779