The Free Poker Network is PROUD to crown Wisconsin’s first female state champion after an incredible run at the final table this past Saturday, May 15th, at Pitchers Pub in Madison, WI. Congratulations to Ann Richardson of Madison (Pitchers Pub), WI, who will be entering event #54 of the World Series of Poker this July 2nd at the Rio in Las Vegas. Ann will also be playing in the FPN National Championship held at Caesar’s Palace the night before and she has a 1 in 25 chance of making it to the 10k MAIN EVENT at the WSOP later that month. Ann said, “The WI State Championship Tournament was the most exciting poker event she has ever been in!” We here at the Free Poker Network say, “Ann, hold on tight, because you haven’t seen anything yet!”
Play started out a little slow that afternoon as it was an incredibly sunny 75 degree day. It was clear to each of the 41 players that everyone meant business though, despite the sunshine. Early in the second level we had our first knock out as seven time state qualifier Dale Hjelmgren (Outer Limits) pushed all-in with middle 2 pair and was called by Jerry Jensen’s (Tippy Canoes) top set only to watch Dale catch his full house 4 outer on the river. However, Jerry is an avid player in both MN and WI so we’re sure we’ll see him again soon!
The sickest story of the tournament was Jason Birkenmeyer’s double bad beat with back-to-back pocket Aces. The first was an opponent’s all-in short stacked Q-Q. The flop delivered a Q and Jason lost about 25% of his stack. The second was for the remaining chips as his eventual top set was smashed by an opponent’s K-J, flopping Broadway. Jason and his family are huge FPN supporters in eastern Wisconsin and both Mom and Dad eventually made it to become the first Wisconsin husband and wife team to make the final table together.
Regular action continued as most of the big names are eliminated before the dinner break, including Dale Hjelmgren, John Verhaeghe, Jassen Huebener, Ronald and Robbie Baer. And while the side game action heated up, recent Red Rock HPT WI Champion Josh Shaffer decided to show up and thank everyone for his exciting time in Vegas. He said he had a blast!
Right after dinner break, we started level 10 with blinds at 1k-2k and ended up losing Rodney Bahr, (the owner of Tippy Canoes) a first time qualifier. Rodney’s reaction? “I can’t believe how much thought goes into every hand,” he said. “It’s mentally draining. I made a mistake and I’m out. It’s a lot of fun and I had a great time.” And that left us with two tables left and one to go.
The only player with any FPN Final Table history still in the action was Justin Lamb, who was a little below chip average with 14 players remaining. At that point, Justin said, “I will make the final table.” Well as fate would have it, he did just that as the BUBBLE was cracked at level 11 around 8:30 pm. The final table then looked like this:
Dealer - Ryan Baer – Dons Market (48,500)
SB – Dan Sobek – Pitchers Pub (40,000)
BB – Jeff Widgren – Tippy Canoes (67,500)
UTG – John Birkenmeyer – Chutes & Ladders (23,000)
Seat 5 –Justin Lamb – Outer Limits (63,500)
Seat 6 – Keith Lutz – Outer Limits (42,500)
Seat 7 – Ann Richards – Pitchers Pub (95,000)
Seat 8 – Joyce Birkenmeyer – Chutes & Ladders (12,500)
Seat 9 – Fred Hackbargh – Dons Market (18,000)Starting the final table, the action quickly heated up as the shorter stacks made moves around the table. And with the most FPN experience noted Justin decided to waste no time racing for position and chips. Justin and John called Fred’s all-In pre flop. Justin and John then checked it down in good tournament play to a board of 10-9-4-3-A. Fred showed K-J and Justin showed A-10 while John mucked. We all thought John had a smaller than the board pocket pair and was mad at the river, but Fred was eliminated in 9th.