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Event #3 - WSOP Circuit No Limit Hold'em Results & Report

Grand Casino Tunica Poker Tournament - WSOP Circuit Event

Event #3 - WSOP Circuit No Limit Hold'em
Grand Casino Tunica
13615 Old Highway 61 North, Robinsonville
Tunica, MS, 38664, US
Full Schedule
Kerry Rowden Attorney Kerry Rowden Starts Last, Ends First; Pocket Queens are Key
Ladies Give Him Lead and Final Winning Hand, And His Son Also Cashes 18th in First Event Tunica, MS. -- Last night...
Profile: Kerry Rowden
Date: January 5, 2008 Time: 12:00 PM

Buy-In: $700
Prizepool: $186,698
Entries: 277
Game Type: No Limit Hold'em

Place Country Name Prize
1 USA Kerry Rowden $57,974
2 USA Matthew Botzer $31,896
3 USA Kyle Strader $16,322
4 USA Khalid Dghaim AKA "kal" $12,700
5 USA Ross Rehrig $10,889
6 USA Renea Mahaffey $9,078
7 USA Grant Phillips $7,267
8 USA Steven Hipes $5,601
9 USA Michael Ciaravino $3,734
10 USA Randall Witt $2,240
11 USA Terry Crosby $2,240
12 USA Adam Lippert AKA "Lippy" $2,240
13 USA Craig Brownell $1,867
14 USA Douglas Carli AKA "Rico" $1,867
15 USA Warren Jurkowitz $1,867
16 USA William Lambert $1,494
17 USA Shane Carr $1,494
18 USA Dale Hinson $1,494
19 USA James Burns $1,127
20 USA Harold Mahaffey AKA "Big Daddy" $1,127
21 USA Brian Paulus $1,127
22 USA Danny Gibson $1,127
23 USA David Rylander $1,127
24 USA Allen McClueny $1,127
25 USA Allan Zwick AKA "STLzwick82" $1,127
26 USA Tim Frazin $1,127
TIE USA Matthew Kelly $564
TIE USA David Ruddle $564

Tournament Report

Attorney Kerry Rowden Starts Last, Ends First; Pocket Queens are Key

Ladies Give Him Lead and Final Winning Hand, And His Son Also Cashes 18th in First Event

Tunica, MS. -- Last night, straights gave Carlos Cuentas first the chip lead and then the winning final hand. Tonight criminal defense attorney Kerry Rowden duplicated his feat with pocket queens, which gave him first the lead and later what was essentially the winning hand. But Rowden did it the hard way, starting the final table lowest-chipped before climbing to victory in the third event of the WSOP Circuit at Grand Casino Tunica, $700 no-limit hold'em. The win was worth $57,974 and a gold trophy ring.

Rowden later said he wanted the ring more than the money. He got his wish when he played and won a final showdown hand with runner-up Matthew Botzer which Rowden won after Botzer mucked without showing. Rowden, 43, is from Iberia, Missouri, is married with six children, and taught himself poker four years ago. His normal cash game is $2-$5 no-limit at the Isle of Capri in Biloxi, and this is his fourth year and third Circuit series at Tunica. Last year he also made three final tables in a row, with one win, in second-chance events at the Gold Strike. Despite all his cashes, he said his poker highlight was having his son, Tyler Rowden, finish 18th in the opening Circuit event here.

We got down to 10 last night, and they began play today with blinds of 6,000-12,000, which went to 8,000-16,000 with 2,000 antes two minutes later. Botzer, with 405,000 chips, was the leader, closely followed by Michael Ciaravino and Grant Phillips. Botzer would continue to hold the lead until he ran into Rowden's Q-Q. Here were the starting chip counts:

Seat 1. Steven Hipes		129,000
Seat 2. Ross Rehrig		269,000
Seat 3. Kyle Strader		327,000
Seat 4. Khalid Dghaim	        321,000
Seat 5. Matt Botzer		405,000
Seat 6. Randall Witt		253,000	
Seat 7. Michael Ciaravino	398,000
Seat 8. Grant Phillips		386,000
Seat 9. Renea Mahaffey.	        162,000 
Seat 10.Kerry Rowden	        125,000
Randall Witt, a local favorite, went out on the fourth hand. He opened for 46,000 with A-K and was well in front when Botzer moved in with A-J. Then a jack turned, and Witt got $2,240 for 10th as Botzer increased his lead to about 675,000.
Witt, whose nickname is "The Weasel," is 52, retired, and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He's been playing "for eons," this is his second Circuit, and his poker highlight was winning a $1,000 no-limit hold'em event at the First Annual Jack Binion World Poker Open event, which paid $42,292. He's also a football fan and likes moves and TV.

Through the next 39 hands, there were numerous all-ins but only two calls. The first time, Steven Hipes, starting almost as low as Rowden, doubled through when his A-Q held up against Grant Phillips' K-10. The second time, two players had A-K and chopped. Then, with blinds at 8,000-6,000, Botzer opened for 100,000 and Michael Ciaravino moved in for 85,000 more with A-J. He was behind to Botzer's pocket queens, and dead when Botzer flopped quads. Ciaravino took out $3,734 for ninth while Botzer's chip count neared the million mark.

Ciaravino, 43, is a former construction worker turned pro from Rockledge, Florida. He's married with two children, has played numerous Circuit events, and had a $30,127 win in a $300 no-limit event here last September. Another 21 hands went by as blinds went to 15,000-30,000 with 3,000 antes. There was another same-hand chop and an all-in escape with pocket aces by Renea Mahaffey, the only woman to make a final table thus far. Then, down to 50,000 and one away from the big blind, Hipes moved in with Jd-2d and was called by Ross Rehrig with pocket 10s. Hipes couldn't hit when the board came A-9-7-K-Q and finished eighth, worth $5,601.

Hipes, 49, is from St. Louis and is self-employed. He began playing in home games and started tournaments three years ago. This is his second Circuit. His poker highlight was making two final tables at the World Poker Tour two years ago. As the level ended, Rowden got back in contention when he re-raised all in with pocket 8s, which held up. Returning from break, players now had 20,000-40,000 blinds and a 5,000 ante. Botzer had dropped down but still led with more than 700,000. After 81 hands, seven players were still left. Then the action really revved up as four of them departed in the next six hands.

Botzer accounted for the first three. Phillips was the first to go after his last few chips went in from the big blind. He had K-2 and Botzer, in the small blind, had A-9. A board of 7-7-4-10-7 changed nothing, and Phillips went out seventh, worth $7,267.

Phillips is a 47-year-old business consultant from Madison, Mississippi who learned poker through trial and error ("lots of error") and only began playing seriously a year ago. He's entered seven events and has a second and a ninth at the IP Poker Classic in Biloxi last year. His other hobby is golf.

On the next hand, Mahaffey had the blind with only 60,000 left and decided to go for it with just 10s-4d. Up against Botzer's Kc-Qh, she had a lot of outs to a pair, flush or straight when the board showed 9d-5d-6d-8h, but an Ah ended her hopes and she cashed sixth, worth $9,078.

Mahaffey, 39, is from Anderson, South Carolina, and owns a window treatment business with her husband, "the best Big Daddy." She's been playing poker three years, and has a fourth in a $1,000 WSOP Circuit at Lake Tahoe in November. Her other hobby is riding Harleys, and she donates a portion of her winnings to the Outdoor Dream Foundation, which fulfills "outdoor dream wishes" for children terminally ill with cancer. Two hands later, Botzer, now with over 1 million chips, made his third kill. He opened for 150,000 with A-8 and Ross Rehrig moved in from the small blind for 140,000 more holding 8d-7d. Rehrig departed in fifth place, worth $10,889, after the board came J-10-2-10-2.

Rehrig is a 36-year-old pro from Franklin, Tennessee. He is married, taught himself poker 20 years ago, and this is his fifth Circuit. He also enjoys golf and football. And two hands after that, after Botzer raised to 150,000, Rowden called, Khalid "Kal" Dghaim pushed in for 280,000 more with Ad-4d. Botzer folded and Rowden called with 9c-8c, winning when he paired an 8 on the flop. Dghaim took home $12,700 for fourth.

Dghaim, 37, originally from Jordan, now lives in Atlanta. He is a student in graduate studies, is married with one child, learned poker four years ago watching ESPN, this is his second Circuit, and his other hobby is car-racing. He has a second at a Circuit event in New Orleans, and his poker highlight was "experiencing the play" at the 2006 WSOP, where he came in 565th in the championship event, which paid $22,266.

The breakthrough hand for Rowden came on the 99th deal. Botzer opened for 170,000 with As-6h, then called when Rowden moved in for 830,000 with the first of his pocket queens. The board came 10d-7h-4c-3d-Ks, and suddenly Rowden was in front with about 1.7 million of the 2.77 million chips on the table. Blinds now moved up to 25,000-50,000 with 5,000 antes. Five deals later the tournament ended. Kyle "Big K" Strader moved in with Jh-5h from the button. Rowden had an easy call with his two black queens. A board of 6h-2d3h-9s-Ah was useless to Strader, and he went out third, picking up $16,322.

Strader, 34, hails from Plantation, Florida. A former accountant, he has played poker since he was a kid and turned pro 14 months ago. He made final tables three times last year in large monthly tournaments at his local casino, finishing first, second and 10th. This is his third Circuit, and he praised his "wonderfully supportive" family and friends.

The event ended with the final showdown hand, and Rowden had his cherished ring, along with a lot of money. Botzer, meanwhile, earned $31,896 for second. He is 34, lives in Morett, Missouri and works as a programmer. He learned poker from his father 30 years ago, and this is his third Circuit. --Max Shapiro

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