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Best of Vin Narayanan
Selbst cruises to NAPT Mohegan Sun title11 April 2010
UNCASVILLE, Connecticut -- Minutes before the final table began Sunday at the PokerStars.net North American Poker Tour Mohegan Sun Main Event, final tableist Alistar Melville asked me how long these final tables usually take.
"It varies," I told him. "Sometimes it takes just a couple of hours. Sometimes it takes 16 or 17 hours."
"Oh jeez," Melville responded when he heard the 17-hour number. Then he headed to the final table to put on his microphone and play for the first-place prize of $750,000.
Luckily for Melville (or unluckily depending on your point of view), the final table took only six hours to play. And when it ended, part-time poker pro and full-time Yale Law School student Vanessa Selbst walked away with a relatively easy win and $750,000.
"This is the biggest win of my career," said the winner of the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament at the 2008 World Series of Poker.
"I know bracelets are supposed to prestigious," Selbst explained. "But that win was 231 (thousand) and this was 750 (thousand). The dollars talk."
Selbst was really challenged at the final table, and the reason why in her mind was clear.
"It's why I make the calls like I did (yesterday) with ace-five vs. five-six," Selbst said referring to the hand she eliminated Alan Sternberg with Saturday. In that hand, Sternberg moved all in for about 1.6 million with 5s-6s. Selbst called with Ah-5c and won the hand.
"First of all, it was the correct call," Selbst explained. "But it makes other players think twice before they call me. I want them to know they're putting their tournament lives at stake."
Selbst went on to say she thought that she saw several folds today as a result of that play yesterday.
Selbst, who still has a year of law school left, says she knows she will graduate for sure. But she doesn't know what her poker career will look like in the future.
"When I left (poker), I was tired of it," Seblst said. "I miss it (now)."
Selbst beat Florida strip club owner Mike Beasley heads to win the crown. Heads-up play lasted just a few minutes, and ended when Beasley's Qh-10s fell to Selbst's Ah-8s.
Beasley said he knew he was in trouble when three-handed play with Mike Woods left him with 2.755 million compared to Selbst's 18.81 million.
"It came down to three-handed (play) and I actually thought that I would get (Woods') chips and go heads-up with her," Beasley said. "Of course it didn't happen my way. He fumbled the ball and gave her the rest of them. It was pretty much checkmate from there. I was going to give it my all but she's very good. She's a super player. I give her all the credit."
Woods won $240,000 for finishing in third, while Scott Seiver finished $190,000 for finishing in fourth.
Seiver told Casino City that his reputation helped him move from the shortest stack at the table when play began to fourth place.
"It looked like a few players were scared to double me up," Seiver said. "They folded with me quite a bit, and that helped me a lot."
Melville, an amateur poker player from Toronto, finished in fifth place and won $150,000. And even though he expressed distaste at a potentially long final table, it's something he wouldn't have minded if he had won the tournament.
"I'd hang around for another three days for the $750,000," Melville said. Melville was in nearby Boston for work when he made the decision to play in this event.
"Well I was nearby and I heard about it," Melville explained to Casino City. "I kept that in the back of my mind when I was planning my week.
"I liked the buy-in for a North American Poker Tour event," Melville added. "It's a little more affordable than the normal $10,000."
Derek Raymond finished in sixth to win $115,000. Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy finished in seventh ($85,000) while Jonathan "FatalError" Aguiar finished in eighth ($60,244).
----Dan Igo contributed to this report
Best of Vin Narayanan