World Poker Open Main Event - Day 4
2006, Jason Kirk  

Day Four of the World Poker Open Main Event began with 17 players, thanks to a double elimination on the last hand of Day Three that sent Franklin Caldwell and Farzad Rouhani home at the same time. The remaining players drew new seats just before the tournament resumed at noon, ending up in the following order:

Table 47

1 Raul Paez (Barcelona, Spain)
2 Bau Le (Atlantic City, NJ)
3 Karlo Lopez (San Juan, PR)
4 Eric Cloutier (Lafayette, LA)
5 Michael Mizrachi (Hollywood, FL)
6 Rodeen Talebi (Dallas, TX)
7 Scotty Nguyen (Henderson, NV)
8 Josh Arieh (Atlanta, GA)

Table 74

1 Allie Prescott (Memphis, TN)
2 Matt Keikoan (Richmond, CA)
3 Gary Gibbs (Hot Springs, AR)
4 Gavin Smith (Las Vegas, NV)
5 An Tran (Las Vegas, NV)
6 Chris Bell (Raleigh, NC)
7 Fred Ferrington (Barkburnett, TX)
8 Johnny Donaldson (Monticello, AR)
9 Josh Tieman (Kilder, IL)

It appeared there would be an elimination on the very first hand. Josh Arieh and Bau Le saw a flop that held two 9s. Arieh got Le all-in, and both players turned over 9-8 suited for a chop pot. It took another hour and fifteen minutes for the first elimination to occur. Arieh made a raise to $30,000 from early position and found himself re-raised another $50,000 by Karlo Lopez. Eric Cloutier then pushed for another $60,000. Arieh folded, Lopez called and showed J-J, and Cloutier turned up A-K of clubs. The board failed to help Cloutier, who took home $25,171 for his 17th place finish.

Thirty minutes later, Fred Ferrington moved all-in on a rainbow board of A-8-5-Q. Gavin Smith made the call with 5-5 for a flopped set, while Ferrington was drawing dead with A-K. Smith moved up to $600,000 in chips, while Ferrington takes home $25,171 for his finish. Within 10 minutes, Allie Prescott became the next casualty. With the board reading 8-7-5, Prescott pushed all-in. Chris Bell called with A-7 of spades, and Prescott had 7-4 of clubs. No straight card or 4 hit the turn or river, sending Prescott home with $31,464 for 15th place.

"Chicago" Josh Tieman was the next to go. He made a raise to $36,000 from late position, and Matt Keikoan shoved his stack in from the button. Tieman called with K-J, and Keikoan held A-T. The flop came A-A-2 and Tieman was drawing dead. His comeback story didn't end with an overall victory, but he did earn $31,464 for his 14th place finish. Twenty minutes later, Josh Arieh got all his chips in the middle before the flop with A-9. Michael Mizrachi called with A-J of spades, and when the board brought no help departed in 13th place with $31,464.

While the field was growing smaller, Gavin Smith started to accumulate an amazing stack of chips. He picked up a $350,000 pot from Gary Gibbs when his K-K held on an ace-high board. A bit later, he made a raise to $38,000 from the blind and got a call from Chris Bell. The flop came K-9-5, Bell led out for $50,000, and Smith re-raised to $150,000. Bell called, and both players checked the turn when the 8 of hearts appeared. The river brought the jack of diamonds - Bell checked, and Gavin immediately moved out a bet of $200,000. After a solid five minutes in the tank Bell made the call, only to drop the pot when Smith showed J-9 of hearts for two pair. Just a short time later, Bell limped in with 3-3 when Scotty Nguyen was in the big blind. Bell check-raised all-in on a K-7-7 flop, but Nguyen called with 7-2 - the hand known as the Hammer - and sent Bell home in 12th place.

With only one more elimination needed to set the final table, the atmosphere grew tense. It appeared the 10-handed final table was set when Karlo Lopez pushed before the flop and got a call from Raul Paez. Lopez held J-J, Paez held A-K of clubs, and the king on the flop was enough to send Lopez out in 11th place. At the same time, however, Gary Gibbs found himself up against Gavin Smith. With the board reading K-Q-5 with one spade, Gibbs bet $65,000 and Smith called. The 7 of spades came on the turn, Gibbs led out for $150,000, and once again Smith called. The river card was the 9 of spades. Gibbs checked, Smith bet $400,000, and Gibbs moved came over the top for the rest of his chips. Smith called with no hesitation, turning up T-8 of spades for the runner-runner flush. Gibbs held 8-6 for a runner-runner straight, and found himself eliminated. Gibbs and Karlo Lopez divided the combined 11th and 10th place money, sending both men home with $34,610.50.

At that point Gavin Smith had well over $2 million in chips and seemed poised to cruise into the final table. Then he caught good cards at the wrong time. Smith opened a pot in middle position for $49,000 and the action folded around to An Tran in the small blind. Tran made it another $100,000 more to go. Smith announced himself all-in without a pause, and Tran beat him to the pot. Smith held A-K, and Tran showed A-A. No miracle cards came for Smith, and suddenly he found himself down to $1.5 million and no longer firmly in control of the table. Things only got worse when Smith opened a subsequent pot for $49,000 and got a call from Scotty Nguyen. On the 9-4-2 flop, Smith bet $80,000 and got a call. Both players checked the turn, the 4 of diamonds, and the river came the Q of clubs. Nguyen quickly bet $200,000, sending Smith into deep-thinking mode. After several minutes Smith finally called, mucking his cards when Nguyen showed Q-9 for two pair on the river. In the space of an hour, Smith fell from 1st to 3rd in chips and Nguyen became the new chip leader.

Matt Keikoan was eliminated when his 9-9 didn't hold up against Bau Le's A-K. His 9th place finish was good for $44,050. Rodeen Talebi was the next victim of A-K - but this time Gavin Smith's A-Q caught a queen on the flop to crack Talebi's Big Slick. Talebi took home $50,342 for finishing in 8th place. Finally, after an hour and a half of making all-in moves and surviving, Johnny Donaldson made his exit. Scotty Nguyen opened the pot in early position for $79,000, Donaldson moved all-in, and Nguyen quickly called. He turned up Q-Q, and Donaldson showed J-T. Donaldson had 5 outs when a ten hit the flop, but the other streets blanked and he finished in 7th place with $62,928.

The 7th Annual World Poker Open's TV table is set to begin filming at 5 PM CST, complete with the entire WPT crew of Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten, and Courtney Friel. This is without a doubt one of the most exciting times of the year in Tunica, and the tournament area is sure to be packed to capacity.

1. Scotty Nguyen $2,144,000
2. Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi $1,271,000
3. Raul Paez $862,000
4. An Tran $845,000
5. Gavin Smith $774,000
6. Bau Le $645,000

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