10/28/09 – Narrow escapes and determined comebacks characterised the exciting victory of Queens, New York pro poker player Tommy Vedes as he took down the $15 000 buy-in World Poker Tour Festo al Lago tournament this week, taking home $1 218 225 for his efforts.
Vedes' previous best win was $352 832 at the 2009 WSOP NHLE event, but he has a string of 12 cashes in many tournaments, including first placings at the World Poker Open and the Deep Stack Extravaganza. His latest triumph brings his career winnings to over $1.8 million.
The entry field for the Festo al Lago reached 275 hopefuls, whittled down over a few days to a final table that consisted of Vedes, Jason Lavallee, Craig Crivello, Freddy Deeb, Jason Burt and Shawn Cunix.
More than an hour into final table play the first elimination took place, with Cunix ($168 970) busted out by Vedes. It did not take nearly as long to see the back of Jason Burt ($208 725) who was sent to the rail by Freddy Deeb. Ironically, it was Deeb ($278 300) who headed for the exit next, eliminated by Vedes in fourth place.
Craig Crivello ($477 090) set up the heads up between Vedes and Jason Lavallee, with Vedes holding the chip lead, when he was eliminated by Lavallee in third place.
Vedes made several fierce comebacks in the see-saw heads up that followed, and around the 155th hand mark it looked as if he was destined for a second placing – down 4 to 1 in chips and apparently struggling. However, the flop came 10-high and Vedes never looked back, doubling up to nearly even with his opponent, and then doubling up once again, this time with pocket fives against pocket fours, taking him to a 6:1 chip leader position.
It took only another six hands for him to turn that chiplead into victory, claiming the $1 218 225 main prize and a $25 000 seat in the WPT Championships, and leaving his plucky opponent with a second placing prize of $795 150.
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