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Sunday, May 25, 2008 | Francis Lee


The World Series of Poker Circuit tour was in the City of new Orleans for the 5th annual Bayou Poker Challenge. The last big tournament before the start of the WSOP which begins at the end of May. 249 players started out the $5,000 buy in main event, a little down on the previous years turn out. The prize pool rose to $1,196,650 which was shared between the top 27 finishers, with the first place prize set at $382,928.

When we reached the final table stage of the tournament at the end of the second day, Timothy Miles was holding the lead in the chip rankings on $687,000. Last year’s winner Lou Esposito held the chip lead after the first day had ended and managed to make the final table in 8th place with $116,000. The official final table chip rankings was as follows.

Final Table Chip Rankings:

  • 1st Timothy Miles $687,000
  • 2nd Ed Jatho $406,000
  • 3rd Marc Fratter $345,000
  • 4th Jeff Tims $343,000
  • 5th Nick Ceci $256,000
  • 6th Gabe Costner $166,000
  • 7th Chuck Kelley $142,000
  • 8th Lou Esposito $116,000
  • 9th Floyd Vander ford $65,000

On the very first hand of play on this final table we lost two players in a three way pot. The three players occupying the top three places in the chip rankings were all involved, exactly what all the short stacked players wanted to see. All the chips went into the middle pre flop with Timothy Miles covering both Ed Jatho and Marc Fratter. He was also a big favourite as the cards were shown. Miles had :ah :ad Jatho had :js :jc and Fratter was holding :qc :qs The bullets held up as the board came down :6c :6h :2h :5c :6d Fratter finished in 9th place winning $23,933 and Jatho collected $35,900 in 8th place.

Chuck Kelley was the next player out on the 23rd hand of play. Everyone folded round to Nick Ceci on the button who raised it up to $54,000. Kelley on the big blind decided to make a stand with :ad :8h pushing his remaining $77,000 into the middle. Ceci made the call finding himself behind Kelley revealing :7d :8c This didn’t last long as Ceci hit the Seven he wanted on the Flop, leaving Kelley needing an Ace with two cards to come. The Ace never came as the board ran out :kh :7s :6c :qd :2s leaving Kelley to head for the rail winning $47,866.

Just three hands later we saw another three way All In, involving the chip leader Tim Miles, Nick Ceci and short stacked Lou Esposito. Ceci was favourite as the cards were shown holding pocket Aces, Miles had pocket Queens and Esposito needed help holding :10d :9d Ceci improved as the Flop came down :ad :9s :5h and guaranteed himself the big pot against Miles when the Turn card brought the :9c Esposito was left with a one outer needing a Nine for Quads, but the long shot didn’t come as the :5d ended his tournament in 6th place. This win put Ceci into the chip lead taking almost half of Miles chip stack.

The fast pace didn’t stop here as just a dozen hands later we lost the next player. The hand started off with Jeff Tims making the first raise from the cut off and Gabe Costner called from the button. The Flop came down :qh :9c :4s Tims immediately moved All In and Costner went into the tank for a while before making the call. It turned out to be an excellent call having pocket Sevens when Tims revealed :kd :js only on a draw. The Turn was no help to Tims with the :8d coming down and the :3c confirmed his exit in 5th place.

Down to just four players and Nick Ceci held a good lead with $1.1 million in chips, followed by Tim Miles and Gabe Costner on around $500,000. Floyd Vanderford was on the short stack with just $206,000.

Nick Ceci increased his lead just after the break eliminating Gabe Costner out in 4th place. Both players saw a Flop of :js :4d :4c before all the money went into the middle. Amazingly both players had flopped trip Four’s, Costner with :7s :4s and Ceci with :ah :4h holding the advantage. The big kicker was the deciding factor in this hand as the :6h and :8h completed the board.

Just two hands later Tim Miles knocked out Floyd Vanderfood on the short stack in a coin flip situation. Miles had the lead pre flop with :ks :jh up against :qc :8c Nobody hit any piece of the board as the Flop came down :ah :9s :2d but the :kd on the Turn meant Vanderford was drawing dead on the River.

Nick Ceci had double the chip stack at the start of heads up with $1.6 million in chips. It took just 49 hands to reach this stage of the tournament, and we saw almost double the hands of heads up play. The chip lead had swung from player to player after Miles picked up a couple of good pots, but Ceci finished off Miles on the 126th hand of play. Ceci all in with :jc :7c hit a dream Flop of :js :9h :7s and won the tournament with the :ad coming down on the Turn leaving Miles drawing dead. Ceci collected the $382,928 first place prize and the WSOP championship ring.

Final Standings:

  • 1st Nick Ceci $382,928
  • 2nd Timothy Miles $210,610
  • 3rd Floyd Vander ford $107,699
  • 4th Gabe Costner $83,766
  • 5th Jeff Tims $71,799
  • 6th Lou Esposito $59,833
  • 7th Chuck Kelley $47,866
  • 8th Ed Jatho $35,900
  • 9th Marc Fratter $23,933



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