by Johnny Hale
The World Poker Tour’s final event of the season was a lollapalooza as perennial bridesmaid Alan Goehring bested his opponents in a dramatic finish to win the Five-Star World Poker Classic at the Bellagio on Friday night.
Billed as the richest event on the tour for its $25,000 buy-in, the Classic paid Goehring of Henderson, Nev. $1,011,886 for his efforts.
Rounding out the top six finishers were Kirill Gerasimov (Moscow, Russia), who took second place and $506,625; Phil Ivey (Atlantic City), third place and $253,313; Doyle Brunson Las Vegas), fourth place and $159,987; Ted Forrest (Las Vegas), fifth place and $119,990; and James Hoeppner (Las Vegas), sixth place and $93,326.
The WPT final event began on Monday, April 14 when 111 well-healed poker players each put up $25,000 to buy their seat into the No Limit Hold’em Poker Tournament which culminated the inaugural WPT at the Bellagio.
It was a poker happening, a nonpareil ”” there has never been an equal. This WPT set the bar so high that other events will have great trouble in offering its players and the public anything to match it.
To begin with it was held in the jewel of Las Vegas, the Five-Star Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
The advance planning and preliminary tournaments of the WPT were held at Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, Ultimatebet.com in Aruba, Casino Europa in Costa Rica, Lucky Chances, Foxwoods, the Horseshoe /Goldstrike, Aviation Club in Paris, Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, Partypoker.com on a cruise ship, and the Reno Hilton.
The poker players who played in the event read like a who’s who of poker. Just to name a few included Doyle Brunson and his son Todd, Ted Forrest, Surinder Sunar, Dr. Max Stern, Jim Bechtel, Jeff Shulman and his dad Barry, Annie Duke, David "Devilfish" Elliott, Jim McManus, Chip Reese, Bob Stupak, Bruno "King" Fitoussi and many more.
The management team included Doug Dalton, Director of Poker Operations for the Bellagio and Jack McClelland, Poker Host and Tournament Director, as well as all of their excellent staff and dealers. Please add the Travel Channel the WPT director Steve Lipscomb, and everyone’s friend and poker angel Lyle Berman, who helped bankroll the World Poker Tour.
Each of the players was given $50,000 in chips to begin play and on Monday the table and seat drawing and announcements were made. At noon, Jack, the best director of poker that I have known in my lifetime, gave the words to the dealers to "shuffle up and deal."
Three levels of play were finished the first day beginning with blinds of $50 and $100. Each level of play lasted two hours so that after six hours of play only 11 had lost all of their chips so that the remaining one hundred players quit for the day and were to return at noon on Tuesday for the second day of play.
The second day began with the fourth level of play with an ante of $50 and blinds of $200 and $400. And when they had completed one hour of the 7th level of $200 ante and $800 & $1,600 blinds, some seven hours later, about 50 poker players still had chips and were invited to return on Wednesday at noon for the third day of the tournament.
The third day began with the last hour of level seven and continued until only 27 players remained. All of the remaining 27 lucky and /or good players were now in the pay zone and would receive a part of the prize pool.
Overall, the total prize pool reached $2,691,750.
In addition to the top six prizes listed above, payouts for seventh through 27th place included:
Play of the final table began at noon on Friday and the Blinds were $ and
Order of finish and Prize money won
#2 $ 506,625
#3 $ 253,313
#4 $ 159,987
#5 $ 119,990
#6 $ 93,326
You may watch this World Poker Tour final table on June 25 at 9PM E/P
on the Travel channel ”” My friend Mike Sexton does his usual excellant job describing all the action as he announced the play during all the preliminary events which you may also view each Wednesday beginning April 2nd at 9 p.m. leading up to the World Poker Final Tour Championship on June 25th 2003.
Until next time remember to STAY LUCKY!!!!