Thursday, January 15, 2015

Video: Main Event Winner's Interview & Final Table Results

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Interview with winner Brian "Zeke" Zekus and montage of all 10 final table players

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Main Event Winner - Zekus ($71,222) & Final Results

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em
 

Blinds: 200k/400k/25k ante

Brian "Zeke" Zekus (Washington, DC) 
$71,222 

Brian Zekus had the chip lead over Tam Nguyen 14.8 million to 11 million at the start of the new level when Zekus is declared the winner of the DeepStack Extravaganza Main Event.

"This is my largest cash ever, so I should be happier," says Zekus who took home $71,222 for the win, "but it's 7 o'clock in the morning, I'm tired."

The pivotal hand for Zekus came just before the final table when he held Q8 and cracked Mike Melkerson's pocket Aces to double-up.

Zekus is an officer in the Coast Guard and is scheduled for early retirement this spring when he'll play poker full time.

"It was a great tournament," said Zekus, "the structure was good, almost too good, especially for this buy-in."

Final Results

Entries: 646
Prize Pool: $316,540

 
Place-Name-Payout

1st Brian "Zeke" Zekus (Washington, DC) $71,222
2nd Tam Nguyen (Lancaster, PA) $43,999
3rd Louie LePore (Revere, MA) $28,837
4th Frank Petrillo (Union, NJ) $20,037
5th Thai Ha (Factoryville, PA) $14,561
6th Mike Melkersen (New Market, VA) $11,300
7th Kevin Huber (Stroudsburg, PA) $9,496
8th Yuriy Kalantarov (Rego Park, NY) $7,914
9th TJ Farrell (Croydon, PA) $6,331
10th John Borger (Kunkletown, PA) $4,875

2nd Place - Nguyen (43,999)

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em
  
Blinds: 200k/400k/25k ante

Tam Nguyen (Lancaster, PA) 
$43,999

Tam Nguyen trails Brian Zekus by 3.8 million chips when play ends and Nguyen settles for second place.

"I'm pretty happy with how I played," says Nguyen who earns $43,999 as runner-up. "It's my biggest cash."

Nguyen is originally from Vietnam and has been playing poker full time for eight years.

Running Updates: Break Time

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em
 

Next Blinds: 200k/400k/25k ante
2 players remaining, 12.9 mill avg (32 bb) 


Tam Nguyen was forced to fold to a Brian Zekus 2.4 million river bet on a board of K-T-8-6-9.

The hand gives Zekus the chip lead as players head to break holding an intense conversation.

Brian Zekus 14.8 mill
Tam Nguyen 11 mill

Perfect 10s

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds: 150k/300k/25k ante
2 players remaining, 12.9 mill avg (43 bb) 


"We're getting bored here," laughs Tam Nguyen, "he's calling me with Ten high."

Brian Zekus just won, not one, but two small pots with Ten high.

The grind continues as these two have been playing heads up for more than two hours.

Chip Counts

Brian Zekus 17.3 mill (58 bb)
Tam Nguyen 8.5 mill (28 bb)

Remaining Prize Pool

Place-Payout

1st $71,222
2nd $43,999

Zekus Leads as Binds are up

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds: 150k/300k/25k ante
2 players remaining, 12.9 mill avg (43 bb)  

Chip Counts

Brian Zekus 16 mill
Tam Nguyen 9.8 mill

Remaining Prize Pool

Place-Payout

1st $71,222
2nd $43,999

Nguyen Doubles to Take Lead

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds: 100k/200k/25k ante
2 players remaining, 12.9 mill avg (52 bb)  


Nguyen (right) Bets New Found Chips
 
On a flop of A K♣ 9 , Tam Nguyen bets 500k.  Brian Zekus makes it 1.5 million, Nguyen moves all in for 7.1 million and Zekus snap calls.

Tam Nguyen: Q J (flush and gutshot straight draws)
Brian Zekus: A K (two pairs)

Turn: T (Nguyen flush)

River: 7♣

And just like that Nguyen is now the chip leader 16 million to 9.8 million.

Break Time Chip Counts

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Next Blinds: 100k/200k/25k ante
2 players remaining, 12.9 mill avg (52 bb) 
 

Tam Nguyen was down to less than 5 million chips, but wins the last hand of the previous level.

Brian Zekus bets 1.2 million on a K-10-3-4-8 board, Nguyen calls and beats the 9-high bluff with pocket 6s.

Players are on a 15 minute break.

Chip Counts

 Brian "Zeke" Zekus (Washington, DC)18.1 mill
 Tam Nguyen (Lancaster, PA) 7.7 mill

3rd Place - LePore ($28,837)

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds: 80k/160k/25k ante
2 players remaining, 12.9 mill avg (81 bb)  


Louie LePore (Revere, MA) 
$28,837

Louie LePore was one card away from heads up play, but settles for third place.

LePore ships a 2.265 double-up to Tam Nguyen when the two were all in.
Nguyen: 9♣ 7
LePore: T♠ 8♠

LePore flopped an 8 to extend his lead, but a river 9 gave the hand to Nguyen and cuts LePore in half.

Two hands later, the Nguyen-LePore rivalry ends with a race:

Nguyen: 7 7
LePore: 4 5♣

Flop: A 2 2 (Nguyen still leads, LePore gutshot straight draw)

Turn: 9♣ (no change)

River: 4

Nguyen gets LePore's last 2.5 million with the winning two pairs, 7s and 2s.

LePore earns $28,837 for his third place finish.

"It's the best I played in a long time," says the 24-year old full time player. "I had more patience than I usually do."

LePore says it's his first trip to Sands and played the Main Event on his way to Atlantic City.  He was glad to have friend Michael on the rail for the final day.

Nguyen and Brian Zekus are heads up for the Main Event title.

Chip Counts

Brian Zekus 18.3 mill
Nguyen: 7.5 mill

3-Way Action at 3 am

 $550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds: 60k/120k/20k ante
3 players remaining, 8.61 mill avg (40 bb)  



 (l-r) Nguyen, Zekus & LePore

Final Three Chip Counts 

Brian Zekus  14.3 mill
Louie LePore 7.5 mill
Tam Nguyen 4 mill

4th Place - Petrillo

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em 

Blinds: 60k/120k/20k ante 
3 players remaining, 8.61 mill avg (40 bb) 

'Caddilac' Frank Petrillo (Union, NJ) 
 $20,037

On a flop of K 4♣ 3♠, Frank Petrillo has the lead against Louie LePore as they both flop a King.

Petrillo: A♣ K♠
LePore: K 7

The 7 on the turn has LePore dancing around the table as his two pairs, Kings and 7s, holds when the 3 comes on the river.  Petrillo loses his last 3.5 million to LePore who has him slightly covered.

"It always hurts," says 'Cadillac' Frank, who finishes in 4th place for $20,037, "because you're not playing anymore."

This is Petrillo's second final table of the DeepStack Extravaganza after finishing third in the $20K Guaranteed event.

"My wife will be happy I'm heading home," says Petrillo, who sends a shout out to Dolores.

Petrillo is a Sands regular and a retired Cadillac salesman.

Final Three Chip Counts 

Brian Zekus  14.3 mill
Louie LePore 7.5 mill
Tam Nguyen 4 mill

Chop, Chop

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds: 60k/120k/20k ante
4 players remaining, 6.5 mill avg (54 bb)


Louie LePore and Tam Nguyen have a spirited rivalry and LePore has check-raised all in a couple of times with Nguyen folding to the aggression.

But the most recent time there are fireworks with both players holding roughly 4 million each.

On a flop of J T♠ 2 , LePore check-raises all in and Nguyen snap calls.

LePore: K♠ Q (open ended straight draw)
Nguyen: KK (over pair)

"Ace or a 9, Ace or a 9," chants LePore, who explodes from his chair when the A peels off on the turn.

But the celebration is short lived when the Q♠ gives both players Broadway.

"Can't get rid of this guy," laments LePore, "he's got nine lives."

"I've never seen someone so excited to get their chips in on a draw," says Brian Zekus, his reaction to how quickly and proudly LePore tabled his hand.

And they play on.

Final Four Chip Counts

Brian Zekus 14.3 mill
Louie LePore 4 mill
Tam Nguyen 4 mill
Frank Petrillo 3.5 mill

Back from Break Chip Counts

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds: 60k/120k/20k ante
4 players remaining, 6.5 mill avg (54 bb)


Chip Counts

Brian Zekus 11.6 mill
Frank Petrillo 5 mill
Tam Nguyen 6 mill
Louie LePore 3.2 mill

5th Place - Ha ($14,561)

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em 

Blinds: 50k/100k/15k ante
4 players remaining, 6.5 mill avg (65 bb)

Thai Ha (Factoryville, PA) 
$14,561

After one limper is in the pot, Thai Ha raises to 375k. Brian "Zeke" Zekus makes it 775k and Ha goes in the tank.

Ha moves all in for 4.9 million and Zekus snap calls.

Ha: Q Q♣
Zekus: A A

Flop: J 8 2(Zekus still leads)

Turn: T(no change)

River: T♠

Zekus wins the hand with two pairs, Aces and Tens, to take his stack to more than 11 million.

Ha earns $14,561 for his 5th place finish.

"It was bad," says Ha about the final hand cooler. "There's nothing you can do about it."

Ha, who is originally from Vietnam, is 23-years old and plays poker full time after earning his accounting degree.

Final Four Chip Counts

Brian Zekus 11.6 mill
Frank Petrillo 5 mill
Tam Nguyen 6 mill
Louie LePore 3.2 mill

6th Place - Melkersen ($11,300)

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds: 50k/100k/15k ante
5 players remaining, 5.1 mill avg (51 bb)

Mike Melkersen (New Market, VA) 
$11,300

Mike Melkersen was on fire early on the final day, but runs out of gas down the stretch.

"My good hands didn't hold up in the end," says Melkersen who's against Louie LePore for his last 1.5 million.

Melkersen: 9♣ 8♣
LePore: J♣ J♠

Flop: Q T♣ 9♠ (LePore still leads)

Turn: 5♣ (Melkersen flush draw)

River: Q

LePore wins the hand with two pairs, Queens and Jacks to take his stack to 5 million.

Melkersen finishes in 6th place for $11,300.

"Twenty-two times your buy-in isn't a bad day," says Melkersen who had fiance Christian watching from the rail.

Melkersen, a Virginia lawyer, cited two hands after dinner break that crippled him, including when his Aces were cracked by Brian Zekus.

"That took two-thirds of my stack and never got it back." 

 Christina & Melkersen

7th Place - Huber

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds: 40k/80k/10k ante
6 players remaining, 4.3m avg (54 bb)

Kevin Huber (Stroudsburg, PA)
$9,496

In his first major tournament ever, Kevin Huber takes home $9,496.  Great score for the Stroudsmoor bartender who rarely gets a chance to play poker.

His bust-out hand was packed with back and forth action.

Kevin's 4♠ 4 vs. Tam Nguyen's 9♣ 9.  Kevin would need to hit a 4 to survive.

Wow, Kevin hit his two-outter 4♣ on the flop but the turn brought a third club.  Could Kevin sweat a club or a 9 and double up.  Unfortunately this hand would be this bartender's "last call".

Board: 4♣ 8♣ 2 7♣ A

With Tam shouting club, club, the fourth club, spiked the river giving him a flush.  And just like that Huber is four-flushed out of the Sands Bethlehem DSE Main Event.

Looks like the kid who got to the final table eating beets and rice just got smacked with a bad beat of his own.

Tam jumps up to 4.2 million after the hand.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Break Time Chip Counts

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds 40k/80k/10k ante
7 players remaining, 3.7m avg. (44 bb)

Frank Petrillo - 6,800,000

Frank Petrillo - 6.8 m
Mike Melkersen - 1.9 m
Kevin Huber - 1.2 m
Louie Lepore - 3.0m
Tam Nguyen - 3.0 m
Thai Ha - 1.6 m
Brian "Zeke" Zekus 6.6 m

Frank's QQ just four flushed Zeke's KK for a monster pot.  Zeke pushed over 2 million to Frank on spade heavy flop.  Runner, runner spades gave Frank the scoop and the chip lead by only 200,000.

8th Place - Kalantarov ($7,914)

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds: 30k/60k/10k ante
7 players remaining, 3.7 mill avg (62 bb)


Yuriy Kalantarov (Rego Park, NY) 
$7,914
Yuriy Kalantarov is down to 400k when he makes his last stand and is against Mike Melkersen.

Kalantarov: K 7♣
Melkersen: A♣  Q

Flop: J♠ 5 3♠ (no change)

Turn: Q♠ (Melkersen pair of Queens)

River: T♣  

Melkersen wins the hand with a pair of Queens

Kalantarov finishes in 8th place for $7,914.

"I played well, but ran bad at the end," says Kalantarov, "I couldn't find any spots at the final table."

Kalantarov is a lawyer who says it's his first time to Sands Bethlehem and that he'll be back.

9th Place - Farrell ($6,330)

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds 30k/60k/10k ante
8 players remaining, 3.7 mill avg (62 bb)

Thomas "TJ" Farrell (Croyden, PA)
$6,330

Thomas "TJ" Farrell just scored one of the biggest tournament cashes of his poker career.  The 911 dispatcher from PA takes home $6,330.

All day when TJ took a major hit he came right back with a much needed double up.  It was as if he could will them.

The hand that crippled TJ came at the final table when he held A♠ K♠ suited, flopped a nut flush draw, then bricked out.  His opponent, Mike Melkersen shipped the his stack and tabled Q-Q.

Board: 8♠ 7 3♠ 10 3

Mike went up to 2.7 million on the hand and TJ dropped to 500k.  He would need one more comeback.  Alas, this one didn't come.

On TJ's exit hand, he shipped his short stack of 455,000 pre-flop with K-J, up against Louie Lepore's Q-9.

Board runs out: Q-A-7-Q-9 giving Louie a full house.  Queens were not good to TJ at the FT.

TJ had fun during this 3-day Main Event and you could tell the players enjoyed laughing and playing with him.

10th Place - Borger ($4,875)

$550 DSE Main Event No Limit Hold-Em

Blinds: 30k/60k/10k ante
9 players remaining, 2.9 mill avg (48 bb)


 John Borger (Kunkletown, PA) 
$4,875

John Borger moves all in for 485k and is against Tam Nguyen.

Borger: Q T
Nguyen: A K

Flop: A T♠ 3(Nguyen pair of Aces, Borger flush draw)

Turn: A♠ (Nguyen trip Aces)

River: 9♠

Borger misses his river flush and loses to Nguyen's trip Aces.

"It could've been better," says Borger of his10th place finish, "but a win (cash) is a win."

Borger turned his $125 satellite entry into a $4,875 score. He's a telecom business owner who plays poker at Sands when he can find time.