Cunningham wins WSOP Circuit event at Caesars.

Author // drsliq
Posted in // Poker News

Allen CunninghamAllen Cunningham has added a ring to his WSOP championship collection which already included Five World Series of Poker Gold Bracelets. He won the ring last night, along with the $499,162 in prize money, for his first place finish at Caesars Palace Las Vegas WSOP Circuit Main Event.

When the final table started Cunningham found himself 7th in chips.

Ben Fineman – 828,000
Thomas Hover – 407,000
Kelly Samson – 385,000
Blair Hinkle – 382,000
Ralph Perry – 319,000
Doug Lee – 324,000
Allen Cunningham – 296,000
Justin Bonomo – 272,000
Motoyuki “Moto” Mabuchi – 142,000

To give you an idea of the task Allen Cunningham was facing here are some brief details about each of his final competitors.

Ben Fineman, known online as bfineman, is no stranger to final tables. Only ten days ago he finished in first place at a $1000 buy-in preliminary event to this same tournament series and last year won that same event as well. Also, last year he won over $100K for his 5th at a $3,000 buy-in WSOP event which was eventually won by Shankar Pillai. With his massive chip lead he was probably considered the odds on favorite to win this event.

Thomas Hoover, despite being a lesser known player when compared to this field, had $150,000 in career poker winnings coming into this event- all of them fairly recently and most of them in prelim events with lower buy-ins.

Kelly Sampson was runner up in the $1,500 buy-in Bellagio Five Diamonds Classic WPT Event last year.

Blair Hinkle, known online as blur5f6, is a 22 year old poker prodigy. He has cashed in 3 previous championship events, but despite having recently come close; this was his first championship final table.

Ralph Perry is an accomplished high stakes poker pro from Vegas. He is known for his cash game play but has also cashed in 21 WSOP events, including his 3rd place finish in 2002 and his gold bracelet in a Pot Limit Omaha event in 2006 and has near $2 million in career tournament winnings.

Doug Les you might remember as he won a WSOP Circuit event a few years back in an event in which Jennifer Harmon was the runner up. This final table included several other pros such as Phil Ivey, Gabe Thaler and Jean-Robert Bellande so it got a lot of television coverage at the time.

Justin Bonomo is a 22 year old poker prodigy better known for his multi account cheating scam under the user name ZeeJustin which got him banned from the internets largest poker rooms. Since he’s been banned he has been on a tear in the live poker scene as this event saw him make his 12th final table and he has raked up over $1 million dollars in tournament winnings in a relatively short period time.

Motoyuki “Moto” Mabuchi is one of Japan’s top poker talents. In the past couple years he’s managed to do quite well on the US circuit having raked up 2 first place finishes in preliminary events and over $350K in career tournament winnings.

Allen Cunningham, while certainly an underdog going into the final table, was still favored in the eyes of many poker players, followers and enthusiasts. We don’t think anyone, other than perhaps some of the other final table players themselves (and maybe their friends and family) would argue the fact that Cunningham was certainly the most skilled player at the table. He is a super-star so to speak with 5 WSOP championships, dozens of final tables and now just under $10 million in career winnings.

When play reached heads up Cunningham was out chipped 3.5 to 1. While still a big underdog, he had already managed to go from 7th in chips, at the outset of the final table to becoming a finalist.

With just 700,000 chips to play with against Fineman’s 2.6 million, the odds seemed to be against Mr Cunningham. However, much like Michael Jordan or the turtle who took on the hare; once the finish line is in sight there can be no stopping a true champion.

Cunningham was able to double up on the first hand of heads-up play when he flopped top pair against Finemans pocket 7’s. A few short hands later, Allen would take over the chiplead and never look back. The tournament came to an end when Fineman made it all in holding As Jd and a broadway straight on a board of Kc Qc Qd 10c. Allen Cunningham turned over his 4c 5c for the winning flush and Benjamin Fineman was sent home in second place.

The final table results are as follows:

1st – Allen Cunningham – $499,162
2nd – Benjamin Fineman – $257,637
3rd – Kelly Samson – $128,816
4th – Motoyuki Mabuchi – $112,714
5th – Justin Bonomo – $96,612
6th – Blair Hinkle – $80,510
7th – Thomas Hover – $64,408
8th – Ralph Perry – $48,306
9th – Doug Lee – $32,204

Congratulations Allen, we hope to see you at another final table soon. Unless, of course, we make the final table ourselves.

Editor’s note: Allen Cunningham plays his online poker exclusively at Full Tilt Poker.

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