2010 PCA amFAR Tournament: Final table

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgThe amFAR and PokerStars Charity Tournament is a shootout event. This post will cover the final table. Click refresh for latest updates.

See here for more about amFAR and its work in AIDS research, and here for live TV coverage. See Round 1 for reports on the, er, first round.

2.25am: Spencer Benjafield wins title and $37,500
What a remarkable heads-up. It started with Alex Gomes a massive chip leader with 36,000 chips to Spencer Benjafield's 4,000. But the PokerStars qualifier turned the tables on the Team PokerStars Pro with a succession of sensational double ups - and took the amFAR and PokerStars.net Charity Tournament title.

"I just can't believe it," he said. "I never thought I would win, and when we got heads up who would have guessed I could turn the chip stacks around. It's been such a great day meeting and playing with the celebrities and the pros. It will take some time to sink in."

2.20am: Alex Gomes eliminated in second place
Spencer Benjafield gets his man and Alex Gomes is out, finishing with $20,000. All in pre-flop, Benjafield had 8♥6♥, behind Gomes' A♦4♠. But the board ran 9♦J♥6♣Q♠J♦ and it was all over.

2.15am: Three double ups
Yep, thats three double ups for Spencer Benjafield and the PokerStars qualifier has taken the chip lead, 30,000 to Alex Gomes' 10,000.

First he outran Gomes' A♦4♠ holding K♣Q♠, then his pocket tens held against Gomes' A-7, and lastly his 9♦7♠ was behind all-in to Gomes' 7♥2♥ on a 7♦2♦K♠ flop - but the 9♠ on the turn put him ahead!


Spencer Benjafield

2.05am: Quick break
There's a quick break while Spencer Benjafield (4,000 chips) and Alex Gomes (36,000 chips) prepare for heads-up battle. It may be quick (the battle, not the ten-minute break).

2am: Montel Williams eliminated in third place
Williams is out, and guess who busted him. Yup. Alex Gomes. They were all-in pre flop, Williams with A♠3♥ and Gomes with K♦8♠. The board ran 3♣7♠Q♦K♣6♣ giving Gomes the top pair, and Williams was on his way with $20,000.

1.55am: Mats Sundin eliminated in fourth place
And it's that man Alex Gomes that did the damage again in an amazing hand. He pushed all-in and Sundin called:

Sundin: 2♦2♠
Gomes: A♣5♦

The flop was 4♣A♥5♥ giving Gomes two pair, but opening up an unlikely straight draw for Sundin. The turn was .... 3♦! Sundin had made his straight and was on course for a double up. Gomes needed an ace or a five for a boat, or one of the two twos left in the pack for a split. The river? A♦!

Sundin received $15,000 for his fourth place.


Mats Sundin

1.50am: Chips
Look a bit like this:
Alex Gomes, 27,100
Spencer Benjafield, 5,275
Montel Williams, 3,075
Mats Sundin, 4,550

1.45am: Spencer doubles
More relentless aggression from Alex Gomes who moves all-in again pre-flop with his monster stack. And he gets a call from PokerStars qualifier Spencer Benjafield.

Gomes: A♥K♣
Benjafield: 8♥J♣

Benjafield was behind and more so on the 3♦A♣[10s] flop. But the Q♠ opened outs for a nine or a king - and the 9♥ came on the river to roars from the rowdy crowd. He doubles up to 5,500.

1.40am: Urgh, aces
It's folded around to Mats Sundin in the big blind. He turns over red aces. Ouch

1.35am: Williams double
Montel Williams gets a vital double up, all in pre-flop against Alex Gomes. Williams had the monster A♦A♣, Gomes the rather puny-by-comparison A♥7♣. The 6♠5♦3♦ gave some nervous moments for Williams, giving Gomes the gutshot draw, but the Q♠ turn and 9♠ river were harmless. He's back up to 4,500.


Montel Williams

1.30am: Fatima de Melo eliminated in fifth place
The Dutch Team PokerStars SportStar fell to Alex Gomes in the biggest pot of the tournament. On a 7♣7♠A♦ flop she bet out, but got put all-in by Gomes, who had her covered. A brief dwell and she made the call:

de Melo: 5♠5♣
Gomes: 6♥7♥

The turn was 6♠ making Gomes' full house and leaving de Melo drawing dead. The 3♥ river was irrelevant.

1.25am: Chips
Well, they look something like this:
Alex Gomes, 17,925
Fatima de Melo, 9,100
Spencer Benjafield, 5,475
Mats Sundin, 4,525
Montel Williams, 2,975

1.10am: Carlos Bernard eliminated in sixth place
A straightforward race, this one. All in pre-flop, Carlos Bernard had A♦K♠ while Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes held 8♦8♥. The flop was an emphatic 3♦6♠8♦, giving Gomes the set. There was life in the 6♦ turn as Bernard now had the flush draw, but Q♣ was innocent.

Bernard had played a great aggressive game, proving he's capable of mixing it with the best.

He told PokerStars Blog HQ: "I've been looking forward to playing against some of the PokerStars pro players. I'd like to think I can learn something from them, but I'm not smart enough. It will be like a hurricane around me.

"I play online sometimes, and with friends, but this will be a new experience.

"amFAR is a great charity that does very important work around the world and I am honoured to be here to support it. "


It's that way to the door: Carlos Bernard

1.05am: Pushing
Knocked by that loss to Sundin, Williams open pushes on the next hand with 3,075 but finds no takers.

1am: Mats the way to do it
Mats Sundin doubles up through Montel Williams. Sundin first limped, called by Carlos Bernard and Alex Gomes, but Williams raised it by 1,600. That was met with a call from Sundin. On the 6♠6♦J♠ flop, Williams moved all-in and Sundin called for his tournament life - with 675:

Williams: 9♥9♦
Sundin: A♠[10s]

Sundin was on the flush draw and had two overs. It was the latter that hit, not on the J♣ turn but on the [10d] river.

12.45am: de Melo at the double
Fatima de Melo puts a halt to the Carlos Bernard raising machine. He made it 700 pre-flop and she bumped it up to 1,500. Call. The flop was 7♣Q♦[10c], and de Melo bet 2,000, met by an all-in re-raise from Bernard. de Melo was at risk, but she made a quick call. Not surprising, really...

de Melo: A♥A♣
Bernard: 4♣4♠

That sent de Melo up to around 7,000, and tumbled the former chip leader Bernard down to 6,000.

12.43am: Celebs on the spot, part III
The third in the series of quickfire chats with the stars and pros...

Watch PCA 2010: amfAR Celebs on the Spot - pt 3 on PokerStars.tv

12.40am: Carlos takes the pot
Is the most said sentence in the Imperial Ballroom right now simply because, er, Carlos is taking just about every pot.

12.20am: Break time
The remaining six players have been granted the luxury of a ten-minute break. Here are some chipcounts:

Carlos Bernard, 9,725
Montel Williams, 9,175
Alex Gomes, 8,625
Fatima de Melo, 5,500
Spencer Benjafield, 4,200
Mats Sundin, 2,775

12.15am: Leo Fernandez eliminated in 7th place
This post does exactly what it says on the tin: Leo Fernandez has been eliminated in 7th place. With blinds at 75-150, he was one of three limpers before Montel Williams raised it up to 1,150. Sensing Williams was making a move, Fernandez suddenly moved all in for 3,075. That had Williams thinking, but he emerged from the tank with a call. And just as well he did:

Fernandez: 9♣9♥
Williams: [10c][10d]

Fernandez was seriously at risk, and the A♥K♣6♥A♣K♦ was no help at all.

12am: Carlos does what?
Carlos Bernard is winning so many pots, many uncontested, that it is becoming a running joke. "Carlos raises," says the tournament director. "Carlos does what?" jokes Montel Williams. "It's been a while since he's done that."

This goes on for maybe four hands in a row, with Bernard taking each one. Eventually, Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes had enough, moving all in for 5,600 to yet another pre-flop assault by Bernard. That sent the 24 actor into new territory, that of resistance, and he insta folded. It's all getting too much for Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima de Melo, who is being reduced to fits of giggles each time Bernard raises.

11.50pm: What tonight means to amFAR
Kenneth Cole, the chairman of amFAR, told our video team exactly what tonight means for his charity...

Watch PCA 2010: Kenneth Cole - amfAR Chairman on PokerStars.tv

11.45pm: Luis Medina eliminated in 8th place
Having lost most of his chips a little earlier to Montel Williams (see below), Luis Medina was never going to last long. About five minutes, in fact. Mats Sundin, the Swedish Team PokerStars SportStar (ice hockey giant) was the executioner.

11.35pm: Montel motors
Montel Williams, star of US TV and radio, gets a nice double up at Team PokerStars Pro Luis Medina's expense. Williams had made it 375 and Medina re-popped to 1,000. Call. On the J♥Q♥5♣ flop Medina wasted no time in moving all-in - and Williams wasted even less time in calling. He was the one at risk..

Williams: K♥Q♦
Medina: A♣K♠

Williams was nicely ahead, and the 2♥ turn and J♠ river changed nothing. Williams shoots up to 8,500, Medina down to 1,200.

Earlier Williams told us what tonight means for him: "A lot of people do not realise I was in the military for 22 years so I used to play a lot of poker. Now recently I've been dusting down my skills and trying to get some of my game back. I played the PCA main event but ended up making a donk move with ace king!

"We're playing tonight for a very good cause, and I am so glad to be able to give my time to take part. amFAR does very important work and needs to be promoted.

"What is really worth stressing is where we are doing this - in a poker environment. Let it be known that while so many people think poker players are selfish, they in fact have the biggest hearts around."


Montel Williams

11.25pm: Here's Fatima
Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima de Melo sparks into life, firing out 250 from the button. Luis Medina and Montel Williams call from the blinds, but both get out of the way when she continues with a 600 bet on the 3♠2♣6♣ flop.

11.20pm: More for Bernard
Five of them see a flop. Alex Gomes has made it 300 and Montel Williams, Mats Sundin, Carlos Bernard and Leo Fernandez all jumped aboard. On the 7♠A♣Q♥ flop Bernard bets out 1,000 and that was enough to force everyone out.

11.10pm: Bernard making early running
Carlos Bernard, who stars in the 24 TV series, has come out all guns blazing on the final table. First he re-raised Team PokerStars Pro Luis Medina to take a pot pre-flop.

Next hand he took on PokerStars qualifier Spencer Banjafield. Bernard had bet 500, Benjafield re-raised to 1,525 and Bernard called. The flop came Q♣7♥4♣, Benjafield checked then folded when Bernard blasted out another 1,000.

Then it was Mats Sundin's turn to feel the pain. He bet 200 pre-flop and was re-raised to 600 by Bernard. Call. The flop was A♣2♦7♥ and Sundin check-called Bernard's 1,000. Both checked the Q♣ turn, and then on the river Sundin check-folded Bernard's 1,500 bet.

Someone better stop this man.

10.55pm: The figures are in
Men with calculators have revealed the total prizepool from this event is $195,000. Half of that, a hefty $97,500, is already guaranteed for the amFAR AIDS research charity.

The other half, of course, will go to the cash finishers tonight. There will be four of them, getting $37,500, $25,000, $20,000 and $15,000 - and it's a fair bet that the majority of that will be gifted to amFAR as well.

Before tonight's tournament kicked off, amFAR's chairman Kenneth Cole said: "It is so nice to be here, and we are so appreciative to partner with PokerStars for this event.

"What we do as a charity is like a calculated gamble, a bit like poker players do all the time. We take these risks by looking for new ways of research and testing and hope they will pay dividends, and with that we will save many, many lives."


Kenneth Cole

10.50pm: Final under way
The final has now begun, with each of the eight players beginning with 5,000 chips. They are:

Montel Williams, TV star
Carlos Bernard, star of hit show 24
Mats Sundin, Team PokerStars SportStar
Fatima de Melo, Team PokerStars SportStar
Leo Fernandez, Team PokerStars Pro
Alex Gomes, Team PokerStars Pro
Luis Medina, Team PokerStars Pro
Spencer Benjafield, PokerStars qualifier

10.30pm: Waiting for the off
The eight finalists are still enjoying some refreshment before coming back to the stage. Hold tight, and in the meantime here's a picture of Kelly Rowland. Unfortunately she lost in round one but, hey, I'm sure you'll enjoy seeing her nonetheless...