To win a tournament and walk away a champion you need your big hands to hold up at the final table. You have to play well too – of course. And Kelly Minkin certainly did, but her big hands simply did not held up. When she had queens another player turned a straight. When she had ace-king, she was up against aces. When she had a pair of nines, she was beat by a pair of fours that rivered a straight. With this kind of setups it’s pretty hard to be the last player standing, but let’s start from the beginning.
Going into the final day of WPT Lucky Hearts, Minkin was 3rd in chips with 3,7 million, while Mark Dube and Brian Altman were the big stacks with 11,6 million and 10,3 million. Greg Rosen and Jon Graham were both short stacked with 1,15 and 1,4 million and Sanjay Gehi had 2,45 million to his name.
Minkin came off to a very good start. In the first level of the day she had picked up and she raised to 190,000 from UTG. John Graham, who was in the CO, moved all in for his remaining 1,4 million in chips with and Minkin made the call. The board ran out and Graham was out of the tournament in 6th place for $146,245. Minkin was now sitting with a stack around 5,1 million.
Sanjay Gehi was next man out, when he 3-bet shoved with a pair of tens and got looked up by Altman with AJ. The flop came with an ace and Gehi was unable to improve. Gehi took home $180,752 for his 5th place finish.
In hand #19 Minkin had again found a pair of queens in the hole. The action started with Dube raising to 160,000 from the button with . Minkin smooth called from the small blind and Rosen called in the big blind. The flop came and action checked to Dube, who bet 215,000. Minkin called and Rosen folded. The turn was the and Dube now bet 535,000 with his turned straight. Minkin called once more. On the river Dube fired a bet of 1,650,000 and Minkin made the call. The hand saw Minkin’s stack slide to 2,5 million.
A couple of hands later Minkin raised from UTG with . Rosen 3-bet from the small blind to 575,000, but Minik had no intention of letting her hand go and she 4-bet shoved and got a quick call from Rosen, who had picked up a monster with . Rosen was at risk, but his hand held up and Minkin was now down to only 1,4 million (14 bb), while Rosen had 2,7 million (27 bb).
Minkin was able to double up, when she called a button shove from Dube with vs. his . Minkin needed help and it did not look too good, when the flop came to give Dube two pair. Fortunately the fell on the turn and Minkin won the pot with her straigth.
Greg Rosen was eliminated in 4th place, when he moved all in in a “family pot” with . Rosen had hit button pair on a flop of , but Altman had top pair and he called with . Rosen did not improve and he took home $220,189 for his deep run.
Unfortunately Minkin, who was getting very short, was the next player out. When she looked down at she moved all in from the small blind and received a call from Altman in the big blind with . The flop came and Minkin was still in front with her pair of nines. The on the turn gave her a set, but the on the river gave Altman a straight to eliminate Minkin in 3rd place for $262,912.
Brian Altman would end up winning the event and the $723,008 up top, while Mark Dube finished runner up for $434,462.
Even though it was not going to be this time and we still have to wait for the first woman to be crowned WPT champion in an open event, we are very confident that 2015 will be the year, where it finally happens. With Esther Taylor-Brady and Kelly Minkin final tabling WPTs within two weeks three must be a charm!
Huge congrats to Kelly Minkin on her amazing performance.
Photo: Kelly Minkin, WPT