Soccer Coach Charles Bransford Kicks
Winning Goal in Event #8, H.O.R.S.E.
Hammond, IN--Charles Bransford is a soccer coach for the Naperville Soccer Assn. youth club team, also owns a soccer training school and has played the game all his life. Tonight he kicked a winning goal, but in a different sport, as he scored a victory in the eighth event of the WSOP Circuit tour at Horseshoe Casino Hammond, $300 H.O.R.S.E. But victory didn't come easy. The last three players battled in this limit event for a very long time before it finally got heads-up. By that point, limits had climbed to 30,000-60,000, and the match didn't end until it had reached the staggering level of 40,000-80,000.
Bransford gave credit to his final two opponents for their strong play. "They all made good reads, and did not want to give away any chips," he said. Bransford began playing poker three years ago with friends. He likes H.O.R.S.E. because he enjoys split-pot games which give him a chance to be "creative." Hold'em, he admits, is his weakest game. He also likes to play short-handed, and got his fill of that tonight. This event wasn't all smooth sailing for him. In early action hs was all in three times. Twice he survived when his opponents missed flush draws, and once he won took down a nice pot when he beat rolled-up jacks in a stud round by making a 7-high straight.
H.O.R.S.E. is played with alternating rounds of limit hold'em, Omaha eight or better, razz, stud and stud eight-or-better. The game. is becoming increasingly popular in tournaments because of the all-around skills it demands. Many players consider it the premier game on the tournament trail, and with a $50,000 buy-in, it is now the highest-priced tournament at the WSOP.
Three tables were still left when day one ended, and the finalists returned to play down to the final table of eight. When we finally got there, Alan "Vogue" Dursun held the lead with 367,000 chips.
Here were the final table chip counts:
Seat Name Chips
1. Doug Lorgeree 126,500
2. John Guarisco 35,000
3. Mark Provenzanoi 86,000
4. Tom Wilson 40,000
5. Charles Bransford 94,500
6. David Rogowski 34,500
7. Desmond Portano 176,500
8. Alan Durson 367,000
Action started in a hold'em round, with 6,000-12,000 limits. Tom Wilson got low-chipped when he folded a hand on the river, but hung on for a while before busting out in an Omaha round. He was all in with A-Q-J-6 and lost to David Rogowski's A-A-J-2 when a board of K-Q-3-7-8 gave Rogowski a nut low along with his pocket aces for a scoop. Wilson, 49, is a financial adviser from Winnetka, Illinois. This is his second Circuit. He's been playing for "a few years," and also likes golf. He took home $1,598 for eighth.
In a stud round, with limits of 8,000-16,000, Mark Provenzano was down to 7,000 chips when he folded a razz hand on fourth street. Still, he outlasted John Guarisco, who went out on the next round of stud when his queens and 5s lost to aces and 4s. Guarisco is a 38-year-old attorney from Melrose Park, Illinois, who has been playing for 20 years. His poker highlight, besides this final table, was knocking out bracelet-holder and poker author Tom Schneider in a WSOP limit hold'em shootout this year. Seventh paid $1,967.
Provenzano then went broke in a following round of stud eight-or-better.On the third deal, he started with promising cards, A-2-10-3 and four clubs, but missed both a low and a flush. Durson, meanwhile, made only two kings, but that was enough. Sixth place paid $2,459. Provenzano, 42, is a poker player also from Melrose Park, who was formerly a supervisor. He started playing 35 years ago in family games, and has wins at the Bellagio, Venetian and Mirage in Vegas. He also enjoys sports and travel.
Another player went out in a round of Omaha/8 when limits were 10,000-20,000 D.avid Rogowski (whose nickname is "Denny Lemieux") had a great starting hand for low, A-2-3-7, and was up against Durson, who had A-K-6-4 with a suited Ah. The board came Q-8-10-A-J, destroying Rogowski's chance for a low, while three hearts gave Durson a nut flush. Finishing fifth, Rogowski earned $3,074. Rogowski, 23, is a teacher from St. Louis. He's been playing five years, this is his third Circuit, and his other hobby is coaching baseball.
When play got to a round of razz, Desmond Portano had just over 100,000 left, not very much with limits now at 15,000-30,000. He had even less when he folded showing 10-5-K-5 against Douglas Lorgeree's vastly superior 3-4-4-A. He went out on the next hand when he paired twice and lost to Bransford's 10-low. Portano, 33, is a pro from Chicago who previously had been a propulsion/aeronautical engineer. He collected $3,934 for fourth.
Now came the three-handed endurance test as the players cycled through the various games and increasing limits, with all three players having decent chips. Finally, in another razz round, with limits now 20,000-40,000, a player at last went broke. Showing A-4-7-K, Durson put in his last chips and was surprised when Branson, with a board of 9-A-10-A, made a call. However, Branson had a 2-5 in the hole, for a made 10, while Durson had a queen and a paired 4. The 10-low did the job, and Durson got $5,041 for third. Durson is 23 and from Hammond. He learned poker five years ago just by playing and this is his first Circuit. He also enjoys video games.
Heads-up play started with Bransford in the lead. He lost it in a big seven-card-stud pot, with blinds of 30,000-60,000, when he made 9s and 7s and lost to jacks and 5s. But Branson took command again in a stud eight-or-better round when he made 7s full.
The final hand came in hold'em, with blinds now at 40,000-80,000. Down to 100,000, Lorgeree was forced to go all in with a weak 6-4. Bransford had Qs-9s, and a board of K-J-6-3-10 gave him a winning straight.
For second, Lorgeree cashed in for $7,869. He is 27, a bar manager tuned pro from Chicago who taught himself the game nine years ago. He has some Circuit and WSOP cashes and won a "Battle of the Ages" event in Tunica.