There was a lot of excitement for the poker fans following the 2011 WSOP Circuit Eastern Regional Championship, which ensured a thrilling win for Chris Bell in this last big poker event of the year held on Sunday, December 30th at Atlantic City (Harrah). With over 100 players turning up for the event, the final table seats were a looked upon as the place to make or break their chances for earning a guaranteed seat for the National Championship finals to be held in May.
Of the 136 players who tried their skills at the final tables, there were many winning predictions made for the seasoned pros like Victor Ramdin (who finished at 12th place), Beth Shak (she placed 11th) and Eugene Katchalov who secured a 15th place finish. But, as it turned out, it was Chris Bell that the whopping $ 358,295 final table top rank went to.
In fact, Matthew Waxman, the Champ of the AC Circuit Main Event looked all set to secure a place for himself at the final table but unfortunately he couldn’t raise his position beyond 10th place – very unlike his bubble boy image.
It was actually Andy Frankenberger who made it to the final table along with Chris Bell and provided tough competition to the eventual winner as he had solid experience of drawing in more than $1 Million in online poker tournament money during earlier events besides the confidence of having raked in $5,000 prize money for a PL Omaha Hi-Lo Event (also organized as part of the 2010 WSOP).
The final table winner bets were placed strongly on players like Chris Klodnicki who has earlier showed great promise as a pro at the 2009 Harrahs AC Main Event to emerge the champ since he was in the chip lead here as well.
However, so were Michah Raskin (594, 000 in chips), Ketan Pandya (377, 000 in chips), Nicholas Mitchell (332, 000 worth of chips), Jason Burt (579, 000 chip lead) apart from Chris Klodnicki who had 759, 000 in his chip stack. Seth Fischer, Todd Terry, Andrew Frankenberger were other strong contenders for the title at the final table based on chip leads, though it was Chris Bell with a 706,000 chip worth and a long drawn out play with Chris Klodnicki that the championship’s first seat was awarded to.
The clash between these final two players resulted in a short, thrilling finish to what seemed to have all the makings of an all-night poker game as the two players took a flop of 6c-5d-3h in the final hand with Klodnicki betting out 225,000 and compelling Bell to move all-in thereafter. It is interesting to note here that Klodnicki made his call with the top pair of 6h-4d and this move resulted in an open ended draw.
Then Chris Bell flipped his pocket threes over for a set but since the turn 9d and river Qc evaded both the players, the Eastern Regional Champion was Bell with a cool $358,295 to his credit – and also the coveted gold Championship ring in addition to a secure seat at the National Championship to be held at Caesar’s Palace on 27th May 2011.