Kevin Calenzo Wins World Series of Poker Circuit Caesars Palace Main Event



Last Friday, the 2011-2012 World Series of Poker Circuit rolled into Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and over the course of two Day 1 flights, 662 players entered the $1,600 buy-in Main Event. After the final table on Monday, Kevin Calenzo had all the chips and took home $197,451, the WSOP Circuit gold ring, and a seat to the season-ending WSOP Circuit National Championship.

When the final day began, 15 players remained and Calenzo was in 10th place. Within two hours of play, the "unofficial" final table had been reached. Rellie Sigua and start-of-day chip leader Nicholas Wilbur were among the players who were unable to advance to the final table, finishing 14th and 11th respectively.

The final table included three WSOP gold-bracelet winners — Dutch Boyd, Sean Getzwiller, Madsen, and Calenzo, who has over $400,000 in tournament winnings.

The first casualty of the final table was Brandon Riha. He was crippled when he ran his jacks into Getzwiller’s queens and was eliminated shortly afterward when his queen-nine couldn’t catch up against the aces of Bill Creigo.

Action was nine handed for nearly three hours before another player was eliminated. James Mordue got all of his money in preflop with {a-Diamonds}{j-Hearts} but was crushed by the {a-Hearts}{q-Hearts} of Jeff Fielder. The flop provided plenty of action, falling {k-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds}, but Mordue couldn’t connect on any of his draws. The {8-Hearts} fell on the turn and the {2-Hearts} on the river, and Mordue was eliminated in ninth place.

Madsen wasn’t able to get much going at the final table, either, and was eliminated in eighth place. His {a-Clubs}{q-Spades} ran into the {q-Hearts}{q-Clubs} of Ian Mack. The board ran out king high and Madsen was sent to the rail.

Joe Kuether, who entered the day second in chips, was looking good at the final table until he ran his kings into Getzwiller’s aces. That knocked Kuether down to just three big blinds, yet he was able to hold on for over an hour before he finally succumbed. Ironically, it was Getzwiller, holding aces, who did him in, as they easily beat his ace-queen in an all-in preflop confrontation.

Dutch Boyd was eliminated in sixth place, also at the hands of Getzwiller. The two players got their chips in preflop in a classic coinflip, with Getzwiller holding {2-Diamonds}{2-Hearts} and Boyd holding {k-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds}. Getzwiller flopped a set and Boyd wasn’t able to catch up.

Fielder was the next to hit the rail after a huge hand that propelled Calenzo to his heads-up battle. Criego raised to 200,000 and Calenzo moved all-in for 1.2 million. Fielder was next to act and moved all-in for 1.5 million. Criego made the call to put them both at risk and was in great shape with {k-Diamonds}{k-Spades} against Calenzo’s {a-Hearts}{j-Diamonds} and Fielder’s {9-Spades}{9-Diamonds}. The flop was safe for Criego, coming {4-Diamonds}{j-Spades}{q-Hearts}, but the {a-Clubs} spiked on the turn to give Calenzo the lead. The {6-Hearts} on the river sealed the hand and Calenzo earned the triple up, while Fielder was ousted.

Just over 10 minutes after that hand, Criego got the rest of his chips in preflop against Calenzo. Criego held the {6-Clubs}{6-Hearts}, but was far behind Calenzo’s {k-Hearts}{k-Diamonds}. The board ran out {3-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{j-Clubs}{10-Clubs} and Criego headed to the rail.

Mack, Getzwiller and Calenzo were all very even when three-handed play began, each holding around 4.3 million.

After being knocked down to 1.4 million, Getzwiller got the rest of his chips in preflop with ace-king against Mack’s ace-eight. The flop was brutal for Getzwiller, coming {8-Hearts}{8-Spades}{6-Diamonds}. Getzwiller couldn’t catch the miracle he needed and was eliminated in third place.

Calenzo began heads-up play with a 60-40 lead over Mack, but that changed quickly on the second hand of heads-up play. Calenzo flopped bottom two pair, while Mack flopped top two pair. Amazingly, all of the chips didn’t get into the middle, but Calenzo did get knocked down to a three-to-one chip deficit.

Calenzo crawled back, however, and doubled up once with ace-nine against Mack’s ace-eight before the most pivotal hand of the tournament. Calenzo got all of his money in on a flop of {8-Diamonds}{5-Spades}{j-Spades} with {j-Hearts}{9-Hearts} but was in a world of hurt because Mack held {a-Hearts}{j-Clubs}. The turn gave Calenzo extra outs, bringing the {7-Diamonds} and the river brought the {6-Diamonds}, giving Calenzo an improbable runner-runner straight, snatching victory from Mack.

Calenzo then finished the deal when he moved all-in with {k-Clubs}{8-Diamonds} and was called by Mack, who was holding {a-Hearts}{4-Hearts}. The flop came {k-Hearts}{2-Diamonds}{q-Hearts}, giving Calenzo top pair, but also giving Mack a flush draw. The {9-Diamonds} hit the turn and Calenzo needed to dodge an ace or a heart to win. He did just that, as the river brought the {9-Clubs}, and it was all over. For his second-place finish, Mack earned $122,183. The title, the gold ring and lion’s share of the cash went to Calenzo for his victory.

Final Table Payouts

Place Player Prize
1 Kevin Calenzo $197,451
2 Ian Mack $122,183
3 Sean Getzwiller $89,617
4 Bill Criego $66,644
5 Jeff Fielder $50,321
6 Dutch Boyd $38,365
7 Joe Kuether $29,686
8 Jeff Madsen $23,271
9 James Mordue $18,474

That’s it for our coverage from Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Thanks as always for staying tuned to PokerNews all tournament long and be sure to come back when the WSOP Circuit makes its next stop in Tunica. Also, check back often on our Live Reporting pages to track the latest updates from tournaments all across the globe.

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*Photos courtesy of the World Series of Poker.

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