News

24 May 2011

Scott Seiver takes prestigious WPT World Championship crown

Instead of sharing ordinary high-fives, poker pro Scott Seiver and his friends like to celebrate by “throwing nubs.”

Whenever Seiver won a pot Saturday night at the final table of the World Poker Tour World Championship at the Bellagio, he would turn to his cheering section and raise his elbow towards them. For the other five players at the table, it had to feel like Seiver’s elbows were landing square in their faces.

Seiver pummeled his way through the final table to win one of the most prestigious tournaments of the year and the $1.6 million first place prize.

“We’ve been throwing nubs for about a year-and-a-half now,” Seiver explained. “We had to keep the tradition today.”

Seiver outlasted 224 other players in the $25,000 buy-in event to win his first World Poker Tour event. The Las Vegas resident and 2007 Brown University graduate previously had $2.3 million in career tournament earnings and one World Series of Poker bracelet.

He beat three-time WSOP bracelet winner Farzad Bonyadi, who came in second for $1.06 million, to win the title. Seiver entered heads-up play with a three-to-one chip advantage and kept the pressure on Bonyadi by playing aggressive throughout.

On the final hand, the players bet and called their way to the river on a board of 10-2-6-Queen-King. Seiver, who had more chips than Bonyadi, announced he was all-in.

Bonyadi contemplated his decision for nearly five minutes before making the call. Seiver flipped over Jack-9 for a straight, while Bonyadi could only show Queen-10 for two pair.

“It was the best feeling in the world when he didn’t call immediately,” Seiver said. “I’m thinking I’ve finally got the best hand and this is going to be the moment. When he didn’t fold right away, I knew he wanted to call. I thought he was frustrated from the heads-up and wanted to see my cards, wanted to see if I was bluffing.”

Seiver captured the chip lead earlier in Friday’s session, which capped off six days of play, and never relinquished it. He didn’t win the massive pots that usually come along with a championship run, but he raked in more than everyone else and relentlessly stole blinds all night.

On one occasion when the tournament was down to three players, Seiver won six consecutive pots.

“My whole strategy was to wait and see how the rest of the table played,” Seiver said. “I thought the table played a little soft, a little scared and I thought it was a good opportunity for me to push and press hard.”

Galen Hall, a pro who earlier this year won the PokerStars Carribean Adventure for $2.3 million, came into the final day of play with the chip lead. He only trailed Seiver slightly at the beginning of three-handed play, but got unlucky and lost nearly half of his chips in a pot against Bonyadi.

Bonyadi was all-in pre-flop and drawing slim with Ace-3 against Hall’s Ace-Queen. But Bonyadi spiked a 3 to take the pot. Seiver said he thought Hall was “defeated” and played differently following the beat.

Hall tried to make a move and went all-in against Seiver with Jack-7 shortly after. Seiver considered his options for a few moments before calling with King-10 and flopping three-of-a-kind to eliminate Hall.

“I felt he played the best poker at the table,” said World Poker Tour commentator Mike Sexton of Seiver, “and was the most aggressive player.”

Seiver also knocked out Tony Gargano in fifth place when his Ace-King held up against King-Jack. Hall eliminated the other two players at the final table, Roger Teska and Las Vegas resident Justin Young, in fourth and sixth, respectively.

Case Keefer 

www.lasvegassun.com