LAPT San Jose: Fee takes his toll on Costa Rica
If not for Ryan's Fee obvious poker skill, a casual observer could mistake him for being the luckiest man in Costa Rica. He's fine with that. After all, he just won more than $200,000. The 20-year old from Philadelphia, Pennsyvania took less than four hours today to destroy the Season 2 LAPT San Jose final table.
Fee was among 219 players who traveled from across the street and around the world to the Ramada Herradura here in Costa Rica and put up their cash for a $1 million guaranteed prize pool. The three day event startled everyone with a Day 1 that eliminated 83% of the field in 12 hours. Day 2 took substantially longer. It was anybody's guess how long the final table of the first stop of Season 2 would take.
The final table was a fun mix of younger internet pros, a dignified Costa Rican lady with a World Series bracelet, and a several journeymen from around the world. Here's a look at the start of the day from the video blogging team.
Watch LAPT San Jose 08: Final Day Intro on PokerStars.tv
The crowd favorite was easy to spot. Maria Stern is one of the most well-known poker players in this country. She and her husband Max both went deep in this event. Max was eliminated just short of the money and stood by to watch his wife battle all the way to the final table. A short-stack for two days, Maria Stern put on a clinic on how to make a short stack last. It could only last so long.
After growing so short she couldn't rightfully put in a standard raise without committing herself, Stern put all of her chips in the middle with a 116,000 open-shove. She ran right into Jeff Petronack's pocket queens. The board ran out 4h-5c-3d-Td-6c and Stern, who cashed here in Season 1 as well, finished in 8th place for $24,425.
Though Claus Rasmussen is as likable a Dane as you'd ever want to meet,he developed a reputation yesterday for taking longer than average to make a decison. His final decision today was rather easy. With blinds at 6,000/12,000/1,000, a single orbit was costing him 25,000. Under 100,000 in chips, he put his money in with Qd-7d and ran smack dab into Joel Micka's pocket kings. Though Rasmussen flopped a queen, he coudn't improve any further and exited in seventh place.
Watch LAPT San Jose 08: Claus Busts on PokerStars.tv
It was then eventual champion Ryan Fee went on a tear of good fortune that even a leprechaun would envy. Fee got it all in As-Ks against Jeff Petronack's Ah-Kh. You think you know what's about to happen don't you? Well, you don't know the half of it. First, Fee flopped the nut flush. Then he turned the Royal Flush. Then, just to rub the salt in Petronack's wounds, the board put out a straight flush. So Petronack's staight eight to queen straight flush on board fell to Fee's Royal Flush. Petronack won more than $43,000 for his sixth place finish.
Fee was feeling it. It was obvious. So, it really didn't come as much of a surprise when he got pocket eights all-in versus Andre Chen's queens. And frankly, it didn't come as much of a surprise when he board ran out 6c-4h-5s-7d-x to give Fee the straight. Chen won $61,000 but looked as if he'd just accidentnally taken a shot of antifreeze.
The hand moved Fee up over the 1 million chip mark "I'm really good at sucking out," he said sheepishly.
Not one to rest on his lucky laurels, Fee almost looked excited to call Jesus Bertoli's short-stack all-in. This time, Fee held Ks-Qs, up against Bertoli's Ad-3s. Again, it felt pretty natural by this point to see Fee flop top two pair and go on to send the man from Venezuela to the pay-out line. Bertoli collected $80,603 for his fourth place finish.
Finally, Fee took a break and let fellow 20-year-old American Joel Micka do some of the work. When Brett Sheribon pushed his short stack into the middle from the button with Qd-Td. Micka called in the big blind with a pair of deuces. Sheirbon couldn't find a pair and left in third place for $109,913.
Joel Micka and Ryan Fee took a short break to cut a deal. Though the exact terms of the agreement were not publicly disclosed, the players did a chip-chop deal and left a big chunk of money on the table for which to play. It didn't take long at all. On the final hand, the players got in a raising and re-raising war that ended with all the chips in the midddle. It was 4s-4c for Micka and As-Th for Fee.
If you've been paying attention this far, you should know that it didn't matter that Fee missed the first four cards on board. He still had the river to spike his ace, in this case, the ace of hearts. With a quick pump of his fist, Fee had done it. He had won the first event of the LAPT's second season.
Watch LAPT San Jose 08: Ryan Fee Wins LAPT San Jose 08 on PokerStars.tv
Official payouts can be found on the Prizes page.
The next stop on the LAPT is in Mexico next month. Satellites are running now at PokerStars,com.
For a look back at our final table coverage in San Jose, visit any of the links below. See you in Mexico!
All photography by Joe Giron/IMPDI