$1,000 + $90 Six-Max No Limit Hold'em (Re-Entry)
Jeff Papola (Monmouth Beach, NJ) doesn't consider himself a short-handed specialist, but his success in the format is undeniable. By beating Eddie Bryant (New Ellenton, SC) heads up in the $1k Six-Max at the Spring Poker Open, Papola won his third Borgata trophy with all three coming at short-handed tables.
"This is vindication for the other night," said Papola who finished second at a full ringed table when he was one card away from winning Event 8 ($400 NL). "It feels great to get a trophy after being so close the last time," he said.
Papola, who earned $29,198, won the tournament when both players hit trips on the river, but Papola had a better kicker with J 6 to Bryant's 6 2.
The victory wasn't easy for Papola who faced an uphill battle after the Six-Max WSOP Bracelet holder lost the chip lead to Bryant early on Day 2. Papola doubled-up three times against Bryant heads up including once when he was one card from elimination.
"I had him twice," said Bryant who is an Infantry Captain stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, "but he sucked out. That's just part of the game."
Day 2 began with the six returning players already in the money as they went after the $86,000 of total-buy-ins from the 86 entries.
Ryan Hall was first to go in 6th place, followed by Grace Sun in 5th when she lost to Bryant's pocket Kings. Papola used KK to knock out Bryan Leskowitz in fourth place which helped him regain the chips he lost at the start of the day.
Third place went to Michael Marder who suffered a brutal beat to Bryant when Marder hit trip Kings against pocket 8s, but a four flush gave Bryant the knockout and a 3.5:1 chip lead at the start of heads up play.
"It was frustrating to play against," said Papola who wasn't accustom to an opponent showing him his hole cards at the end of nearly every hand. "It was free information, but I couldn't do anything with it because I couldn't make a hand."
"I just met him today," said Bryant who was playing heads up for the first time in his recreational poker career. "I don't even know his last name," he added and wasn't fazed that Papola is one of the best short-handed players in the world.
"It helps build my table image," Bryant said about card showing, "that way it makes it easier to bluff."
"He played really well," said Papola, "there were a lot of pros at the table. I just waited until I could make a big hand."
Of Papola's three trophies, two have come in a six-max, the other in a mix-max tournament which started as a full ring game before ending short handed. He joins the short list of three-time winners that includes Allen Kessler, Yuebin Guo, Howard Wolper, Bill Blanda and Chris Reslock and is one trophy behind the only four-time winner, Will Failla.
"I'm feeling great and on a little bit of a heater," he said about his
first and second place finishes in the series. "Now I'm hoping for a
deep run in the Main (Championship Event)."
1st Jeff Papola (Monmouth Beach, NJ) $29,198
2nd Eddie Bryant (New Ellenton, SC) $18,352
3rd Michael Marder (Sewell, NJ) $13,764
4th Bryan Leskowitz (Leominster, MA) $10,219
5th Grace Sun (Merrick, NY) $7,299
6th Ryan Hall (Newark, DE) $4,588