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Dead Money Final Table 2008

The Combatants


The Winner's Story

I was off to New Orleans for the 5th Annual Dead Money Poker Tournament, with the winner receiving an entry into the 2008 World Series of Poker. As excited as I was to go to New Orleans, a place I hadn't been since Mardi Gras 2000, my excitement quickly turned when I woke up Friday morning to catch my flight sick as a dog. Throw in that it was supposed to be the coldest in New Orleans in quite some time and I was miserable.

Continued...  The Road to my 1st WSOP



Adam from Nantucket seen in the pic got short stacked pretty early on after yet another bad beat. I think Adam has made every Dead Money Tournament since winning a seat in the second one.

Continued... Last Chance Table



1st Place:  "Philly" Tom  Delaware Table


2nd Place:  Ross "All-in"  Wallin, NYC Table

3rd Place:  NYC Al, Metro NY Table

4th Place:  Dan "On a Rush", Metro DC Table

5th Place:  Martin Tyson, Austin Table2

6th Place:  Nantucket Adam, Last Chance Table Winner

7th Place:  Brad Fleet, Austin Table

8th Place:  Mean Dean, Bethesda Table

9th Place:  Submar Ray, Houma Table1

10th Place:  David "Here's A Couple of" Akers, Cleveland Table


11th Place:  Manhattan Colin, NYC2 Table

12th Place:  "Spa King" Dinger, Houma2

Unfortunately, they left before the photographer got there.  Dinger I also owe you the booby prize of a bottle of Southern Comfort.  Next time I see you I'll have it in hand.



The 5th Annual Dead Money Tournament was a success.  Congratulations to Tom Cahill, he is a worthy champion and a charmed one at that.  Hopefully, his good fortune will carry over to the Main Event.  Had we gotten one more table, 2nd place would have won a seat in a smaller WSOP event as we've done in years past, but as is we still manage to once again give a rooting interest to all the Dead Money participants at this years Main Event.  We dropped the ball with the 2nd Chance tournament.  Didn't realize how many people would have wanted to play.  Next year, no questions asked we will start up the 2nd Chance tournament at 2:00 pm with a $200 buy-in winner take all.  $1500 will go to his buy in of a secondary WSOP event and the rest will cover his travel and expenses.  Obviously, if they are enough players we can send two.  Several last chance table players were interested in just such an event and several Final Table players were looking for more fun after they got booted out.  This year, it took forever for a player to get knocked out of the finals so none would have made the start time but that was an aberration..

We should also Congratulate, Ross "All-in" Wallin putting up the greatest defending champion follow-up act since Greg Raymer's in the Main Event.  Ross made it all the way to heads up action and was narrowly bested by Philly Tom.  Not only that but in other Deja Vu all over again action Dan Rush and Brad Fleet returned from last years final table to give Ross a run for his money yet again.  Dan finished 4th both years and suffered some brutal beats to get knocked out.  If luck were on his side he might have been the defending champion going deep again.  Brad, also went deep both years.  If those guys, can do the unprecedented and make it three years in a row next years final table will be even more entertaining.

Kudos to repeat final Tablers Austin Martin and Nantucket Adam.  This year's Austin winner couldn't make it and Martin made his third final table appearance.  He's tabled as a winner, as a runner-up and as a Last Chance Table victor so he's run the gamut of ways in.  Nantucket Adam made his second final table winning this years last chance table.  Adam, braved missed flights and the cold to get down here and almost took it all.  Experience seems to be a key as all but NYC Al and Tom Cahill were return players that made it deep.  Interestingly enough, NYC Al can be seen on this years Main Event coverage in PokerStars gear teasing the Mad Italian scarf wearing Dario something.  You know the kid.


(Photo courtesy of Flipchip)

So, you have something to tide you over on ESPN next year, where we see Tom winning it all, look for Al.  Interestingly enough, Tom played on a Delaware table, Delaware being where Greg Sawka our first and most decorated champion came from.  Tom and Greg have done battle in the past so he'll be well prepped.  Just saw a repeat of Greg's Main Event on ESPN classic the other day, so the Dead Money ESPN presence is getting expanded.  Also, saw Houma player Paul Shultz on a circuit event televised table recently.


Greg Sawka technically won a defunct Philadelphia table the first year, but Tom makes it two overall champions from the Greater City of Brotherly love area.  He is the first winner from 5 time table captain Mike Durbin's table so congrats to the Delaware guys for finally getting a champion.  Our second year winner Scott Pavlish represented Cleveland, who with notables such as first year runner-up Chris Childress, always going deep Seth Briskin, and this years last chance table entrant (and previous WSOP Main Eventer) Greg Rauch, is one of our best suppliers of talented players.  Great to see long-time Cleveland table captain David Akers finally get his shot and despite his dismissive attitude toward his own play he did great representing Cleveland this year.  Our third year champion hailed from DC where we held the tournament because of Katrina, and though it looked like he made two final tables, actually his twin qualified our second year.  Alex "K.O.D." Kissal, also from DC, was the runner-up and won a seat in a smaller event.  He won the last chance table just to qualify.  We hope to have the KOD and the Kileys both back next year.  Our fourth champion was of course Ross from NYC.  His final table featured a second NYCer Greg Schwegman, who like Kissal the year before, took down the last chance table to qualify.  Schwegman also came in second to win a seat in a smaller tournament in Vegas concurrent to the WSOP.

So, which city is the best?  Not sure, all have done pretty well, with a number of 2nds and 3rds scattered to Austin, N.O., and Houma players.  However, Austin and Houma/N.O. have yet to have a final table winner.  Granted Bill Phillips won the DC 2nd Chance Table for a seat in a WSOP tournament, to keep Houma/N.O.. from being blanked, but those two cities have underperformed.  Every year their players get deep but not quite deep enough.  Bethesda is new to the game, for the last three years they've run a table and brought some talented players to New Orleans.  I think Table Captain Taylor Ainge will get over the hump sometime soon.  Ed Brancati of Metro New York has run a table every year and had several players like AL, come close but not quite close enough.  They like New Orleans and Austin need a winner soon.  If I had to rank them, it'd be between Manhattan (NYC), Cleveland and Philly/Delaware.


Here's planning ahead.  This is our 5th year and we are going strong.  Let's shoot for our 11th anniversary to have two tables. At the same time as our regularly scheduled final table, let's run a table matching the first 10 champions, and the first 10 runner ups.  They might have to buy-in themselves maybe do $100 a head for pride and pay for travel but it'd be great to see all those guys do battle down the line.  Could be a great event.  Table Captains run the idea past previous winners and runner-ups and maybe link this site.


As always, thanks to the table captains for making it happen.  Just under the wire, Bethesda, Houma2 and Cleveland came through for us to cover all the expenses.    So, to forestall that and the panic we feel every December let's start planning ahead.  We should shoot to get qualifying underway as early as possible.  Maybe start immediately after the Main Event.  If every table captain can get one done in the summer and maybe a second in the fall, we'll easily have cushion for a first, second place and maybe even a third place prize.  If all goes well, maybe next year we'll finally send two winners to the Main Event.  I recommend setting a date that doesn't change every year like the day of your fantasy football draft or something like that.  The Martin Luther King weekend works for the final table in that respect.  Everybody knows when it is.

  Check Tom's Blog for updates about his road to the WSOP Main Event.  Also, for those Dead Moneyers that are heading to Vegas we'll be out there ~July 2nd, 3rd to buy him in.  Let me know if you are also in Vegas playing and we'll update your success right here and maybe meet up.