Ali Lari, a civil engineer with modest tournament experience, was the eventual winner of Winnin’ o’ the Green’s $300 limit hold’em event at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.
For an extended period, the four finalists were fairly even in chips, with each leading at one point. Three of the players wanted a chip-count deal, but James Siebert, a project manager, repeatedly said no. Finally, Siebert went broke and a deal was made.
Lari, who had moved ahead after a couple of draw-out hands, had 47k in chips. Sang Tran, a poker dealer at Ocean’s 11, had 47.5k, and Chung Ng, a commercial pilot for Northwest Airlines, had 17k.
Charles Chatterton, who is in the transport business, obviously hadn’t had much poker experience, because he repeatedly had to ask what the bet was. Still, after starting with just 4,500 chips, he was still around. On hand 27, the board showed J-10-4-7, and Chatterton bet out with pocket 9s. Ng raised. "Let’s go all in. You have the best hand," Ng said, not exactly telling the truth. Chatterton hesitated, finally called and lost to Ng’s K-J. With no big disparity in chips, an even chop was proposed and nixed by Siebert.
Hand 38 was a turning point for Lari. Holding A-9, he bet all in on a flop of Q-9-6. He was about a 4-1 underdog to Siebert, who held Q-8. An ace turned, and Siebert took a hit, but still declined a chop. Three hands later, Lari again had the worst of it against Siebert. He had J-9 and Siebert had A-8 with the board showing A-9-2-Q. A river 9 gave Lari trips, and Siebert was now down to 7k.
Limits went to 3k/6k, with hand 49 being the last. Siebert’s tormentor was the one who finally finished him. This time Lari had the better hand: A-6 versus Js-8s. Nobody caught, Siebert missed his flush draw, and Lari’s ace-high left him in fourth place. A quick chip-count deal ended the evening.
In earlier action, Thai (Ty) Tran, a sales executive, was tied up in a luncheon meeting and arrived 10 minutes late for day two of a $300 no-limit hold’em event. He quickly retook his lost blinds and antes and went on a rush the final few hands to take the lead when the tournament ended in a three-way deal.
On hand 26, blinds went to 3k/6k with 1k antes. Kutash still led with 150k, followed by Magar, 81k; Tran, 73k; Pineda, 73k; and Turner, 22k, and a second chip count deal was done. On the first hand, Turner, a Bicycle Casino host, moved in with A-2. "I don’t have a hand," Tran said, calling for the extra chips from the big blind with 8-3. It was adequate. A trey flopped, and the old Chip Burner was out fifth.
On hand 31, Magar, a film writer/director/producer, was left with 6k after a bad beat. Pineda opened for 16k, with A-5, Magar moved in with Ah-Kh and Pineda called for a total of 44k. The board came A-J-2-9-5, and Pineda, a contractor, won with two pair. On the next hand, Magar had the small blind holding 8d-6d. Tran put him in with A-9. Ace-high did it, and we were down to three. Tran now turned very aggressive, picking up and stealing several pots with uncalled bets on the turn and river, and moved into the lead. After hand 37, he was in front with 177k to107k for Kutash and 90k for Pineda, and a third and final deal was made.