Grant Hinkle Wins WSOP Event #2 topping Chris Ferguson

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Grant Hinkle 2008 WSOP Event 2 championGrant Hinkle a 27-year-old marketing manager from Kansas City, MO accomplished the dream of many poker players last night. He managed to win himself a World Series of Poker championship gold bracelet along with $831,462 in cash. He was sponsored by Bodog Poker during the final table.

When this event started, Grant Hinkle was a name not many in the poker world would have heard of. This was the first time he had ever entered a WSOP tournament but he did have some training from his brother who is a well known internet player. His brother is Blair Hinkle (blur5f6) who has done quite well for himself since recently joining the high stakes poker tournament circuits, but not as well as Grant did last night.

“He told me that early in the day everyone is pretty tight. So, just go in there as the short stack and start firing away,” Hinkle said. “That helped me build up to over a million in chips.”

Grant Hinkle’s mother, father and his brother Blair “blur5f6” Hinkle all caught a last minute flight to Vegas to watch him play live.

2008 WSOP Event #2 Final Table Recap:

When the final table was reached most players were visibly exhausted. This tournament had already set records for the largest field in a WSOP preliminary event with 3929 entrants and for the most players ever to return for a Day 2 with 448 players. The 448 players had played down to 18 after a sixteen hour long marathon just 7.5 hours before the returned to play down to a champion today.

After two and a half hours of Day 3 play the final table was finally decided after PokerStars sponsored Mike Ngo eliminated Jeff Wiedenhoeft on the final table bubble. The players took only a quick ten minute break and headed over to the Milwaukee’s Best Light final table area where the events championship would be decided.

Having a final table start so quickly after its participants have been determined is quite rare for a televised WSOP event. For this reason we don’t have official starting chip counts to report but here is a close estimation of what they were:

Mike Ngo – 2.2 million
James Akenhead – 2 million
Aaron Coulthard – 1.5 million
Theo Tran – 1.4 million
Melvin Jones – 1.3 million
Chris Ferguson – 1.2 million
Joe Rutledge – 785 thousand
Grant Hinkle – 680 thousand
David Bach – 675 thousand

Joe Rutledge eliminated in 9th Place ($83,127)
The final tables first elimination came on its 12th hand, when Joe Rutledge unsuccessfully raced pocket sixes against Chris Jesus Ferguson’s pocket Ace-Nine off suite.

Joe Rutledge, for those not familiar with him, is a Texan who has been playing poker for years. His most noteworthy tournament finish was an overall victory in the 2005 Jack Binion World Poker Open WPT event.#1 PLO where he took home a $104,021. He earned $83,127 for his ninth place finish on tonight advancing his career tournament winnings over the quarter million dollar milestone. He perhaps made a bit more for himself as he wore a Full Tilt hat during his short appearance on the final table.

David Bach eliminated in 8th Place ($117,987)

Despite all these players showing visible signs of exhaustion there was not much evidence that any where ready to take much risk. There were several passes and several small pots before on the 28th hand of the final table another player would be eliminated.

Hand #28 saw two of the more experienced players of the final table collide. These players being David Bach, who is no stranger to the WSOP as he finished runner up in a 2007 event and has several other high stakes cashes and Las Vegas poker player Theo Tran who is an underdog only to Chris Jesus Ferguson on this final table. At age 23 Tran has has over $1.1 million in live tournament winnings, a WSOP runner up finish worth $387,193 and numerous other poker accomplishments.

This hand saw David Bach open the pot for 130,000 and both Theo Tran and Chris Ferguson call from the blinds. The flop came down K 9 5 rainbow and Tran and Ferguson both checked to which Bach responded with an All-In. After getting a count Tran also declared himself all in and Ferguson folded.

Bach shows: 7d 6d for a double gut shot and back door flush draw.
Tran shows: Jd 9d for 2nd par and a higher backdoor flush draw.

The turn and river are no help for David Bach and he is eliminated in 8th place. Also worth noting: David Bach was the only final table competitor who declined endorsement deals, all other players wore gear provided by online poker rooms.

Melvin Jones eliminated in 7th Place ($158,211)

Melvin Jones cinderella story would come to an end when on hand #52 of the final table when he found himself all in preflop with Qs 10s against Theo Tran’s pocket aces. Jones did have some hope when the flop came KQ6, but was unable to improve on the turn or river. This was Melvin Jones first time entering a WSOP event. He’s a 28-year-old from Hopkinsville, KY where he works in factory making cake mix for a living.

Rio Final Table spectators finally come to life.

Through the first 70 hands the final table the Milwaukee’s Best Light final table area was as quiet as we’d ever witnessed. The spectators watching on finally came to life on a hand which involved Mike Ngo and James Akenhead.

It was odd this would be the hands that really woke the crowd considering the players bios. James Akenhead (nickname:“Mokka”) is a London player with $100K in career tournament winnings. He’s been a full time poker player for two years since leaving his job as a train driver. Most of his previous high stakes tournament success came in European tournaments. Mike Ngo is one of the lesser known players at the table having made his first WSOP cash in 2006 and to date had just $20,000 in tournament circuit winnings.

This particular hand (Final Table Hand #70) played out like this. Ngo moved all in for just over 1 million chips from UTG and was called by Akenhead. Ngo tabled As 10h and Akenhead Ks Kh. Spectators broke out into chants with about half of them yelling Ace and the other half yelling King. When the flop came Ah 6c 4s the crowd erupted and continued shouting out for specific cards. The turn was the Qd and the river was the 6h doubling Akenhead up to over 2 million chips.

Grant Hinkle’s aggression continues to payoff.

Grant Hinkle was the first player to really capitalize on how tight the final table was being played. Already with the tournament chip lead he managed to pick up six of eleven hands (Final Table Hands # 72, 75. 76, 78, 81. 82) which where all low risk pots and managed to improve his chip stack to a commanding 3.8 million chips.

Aaron Coulthard eliminated in 6th Place ($211,841)

The final table’s only Canadian player, Aaron Coulthard from Ontario, was eliminated on final table hand number 84 in 6th place. He was fairly short stacked at the time with about 900K chips and came over the top of James Akenhead 225K open raise with an all-in bet. The cards were tabled and his King – Jack was well behind Akenhead’s Ace-King suited. Unable to improve he was eliminated in 6th place receiving $211,841 for his performance.

This cash marked the biggest in Aaron Coulthard career as his previous biggest cashes where 28th in 2006 WSOP Event #37 for $11,478 and last year’s WSOP Main event where he cashed for $25,101. He wore PokerStars gear throughout the final table.

Mike Ngo is Eliminated in 5th Place ($268,154)

After the players had taken a 20 minute break, the first hand back (hand #88) saw the tournament’s next casualty. This hand was quite dramatic as chip leader Grant Hinkle put 1.65 million of his 4.5 million chip stack at risk against Mike Ngo all in. Hinkle was way behind when he found himself all in preflop with AJ versus Ngo’s AK but breaking Ngo’s heart was a miracle J on the river. Mike Ngo was eliminated in fifth place receiving $268,154 for his finish. Grant Hinkle had a huge chip lead with now over 6 million chips in his stack.

Mike Ngo was sponsored by Full Tilt Poker during the final table.

Theo Tran is Eliminated in 4th Place ($327,148) | Bodog tops PokerStars

Bodog Sponsored Grant Hinkle raised to $250K from the button and is called by PokerStars sponsored Theo Tran from the small blind. The flop came Ac 4h Kc. Tran check-called a 350K bet. The turn was Ace of spades and Tran again check called a bet, this time 750K, made by Hinkle. The river was the eight of diamonds and Tran checked for a third time. Hinkle announces himself all in and Tran quickly called showing Ad Qd for trip aces, but was eliminated when Hinkle tabled Ah 4d for a full house.

Theo Tran was eliminated in 4th place receiving $327,148. Its not all that often that online poker room Bodog comes out on top of poker giant PokerStars but in this case so far Bodog is the big winner, although we’re sure PokerStars is quite proud of Theo Tran’s performance.

Chris Jesus Ferguson suggests a chop

With three players now left, Chris Ferguson stood to suggest they chop the prize pool three ways and call it a night. He was obviously making a joke considering he had a huge chip disadvantage with a stack size only large enough to survive 3 rounds.

Here were the chip counts when the Final table started.

Average stack is 3,929,000.

Grant Hinkle – 9,4 millions
James Akenhead – 2 million
Chris Ferguson – 500K

Ferguson is the one player we haven’t mentioned yet but he’s obviously a player who needs little introduction. He has 5 WSOP bracelets including the 2000 WSOP main event championship. This is the 48th time he’s cashed at the WSOP putting him 5th on the all time list in that category and this is also his 27th career WSOP final table now tied with Johnny Chan for fourth all time. He is most likely the only professional player who knew which online poker room they’d be representing when this event first started. He is founding member of Team Full Tilt Poker.

Chris Ferguson Eliminated in 3rd Place ($388,287)

Chris Ferguson was eliminated in 3rd place when he pushed all in for 815K from the button and was quickly called by James Akenhead. Ferguson tabled King-Ten and Akenhead Ace-Ten. After an ace on the flop Ferguson was drawing very slim. He picked up a gut shot draw on the turn but was unable to improve on the river. Ferguson’s yet again remarkable run had come to an end sending him to the rail in 3rd place with $388,287.

The tournaments reached heads up play

When heads up play began the chip counts where

Grant Hinkle – 7,595,000
James Akenhead – 4,235,000

This was a long heads up match where it took 2 hours and 15 minutes and 56 hands for the champion to be decided. During the first 40 hands of play Akenhead was the more aggressive of the two players. Through winning many small pots he was able to eventually gain a chip lead which grew as large as a 2:1 advantage for a short time.

There were not many exciting hands to report from this heads up match as it did not contain many heavily contested pots.

The final hand played out like this:

Grant Hinke raised to 350K from the button and Akenhead re-raised to 1.2 million. Hinkle moved all in and Akenhead quickly called tabling Ace King. It had been over two hours and this was the first time during heads up play that a player’s tournament life was on the line. Akenhead was the player at risk but he was in great shape as Hinkle tabled Td 4d revealing he was making a stone cold bluff. Neither player was short staked as Hinkle had about 7 million and Akenhead 5 million.

The flop came 10h 4h 10s

An absolute amazing flop for a player on a stone cold bluff, the odds of flopping a full house in that spot where 1087 to 1. Hinkle managed to catch quad tens on the turn sealing him the victory.

Grant Hinkle’s victory might appear lucky considering the way it ended and his earlier fortune of a jack on the river to eliminate Mike Ngo, he actually played remarkable throughout much of the final table. He started this final table as a short stack and while other players had signed with big online poker rooms he found himself lucky to even score and endorsement deal at all. Bodog Poker is likely quite proud of the only player they sponsored on this final table as he played remarkable poker through out really taking advantage of others tight play. His aggression earned him many pots in which he built a nice stack without putting lots of his chips at risk..

Hinkle received $831,462 and the coveted championship bracelet and Akenhead received $520,219 for his runner up finish.

Final table results:
1st Grant Hinkle $831,462
2nd James Akenhead $520,219
3rd Chris Ferguson $388,287
4th Theo Tran $327,148
5th Mike Ngo $268,154
6th Aaron Coulthard $211,841
7th Melvin Jones $158,211
8th David Bach $117,987
9th Joe Rutledge $83,127

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  • […] Hinkle Wins 2008 WSOP Event 23 Posted on June 15th, 2008 by Jim in Poker News After Grant Hinkle won a 2008 WSOP bracelet in event #2 he told a reporter “I got a bracelet before Blair, so I got […]

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