CONGRATS TO JEFF MILLER HE IS OUR NEW NATIONAL CHAMPION!!!!!!!
At the Smoke Ranch Junction in Las Vegas, NV 75 players from 15 different states all over the US and one player from Canada came together to determine who would be the new Free Poker Network National Champion. Most players arrived in one of the two party buses we rented to shuttle everyone. On the ride over you could tell there was a excited nervous energy.
Most everyone arrived about an hour ahead of the start time. They enjoyed an adult beverage on the league to calm their nerves or played in some of the exciting side games that were available. There were a couple different games to try one was Hi/Low aka Card Sharks or they could try their luck at the speed chip stacking challenge.
At noon we were packed in and ready to go and the cards were in the air. Play was tight for a long time. Unfortunately for Anthony Thompson from MN he was the first to break the ice being the first player knocked out. After we took a staggered break and that is when the action really started to fly. After seeing it was make it or break it time there were numerous all-ins. Pete Bushey was doing his best to cover the action for the spectators running from table to table to call out the hands.
With 36 players remaining, league friend and new World Series of Poker winner Mitch Schock is here showing off his WSOP Bracelet. Some of the players are taking turns seeing what it feels like to wear it!
Some of the big stacks throughout the day were Haile Demise from St. Paul. Haile is the first ever FPN player to receive a double chip stack to start at the National Championship qualifying twice. Former league champ Jeff Schulz from North Platte, NE knocked out 3 players early to get some good momentum early. And Gary "Chops" Jenson from Luverne,MN/Brandon, SD was having a blast while raking chips in all day.
When we were down to 11 players and on the bubble the tension was thick as 10 players were going to win WSOP seats and one person was going to go home disappointed. New WSOP bracelet winner Mitch Schock took over as the emcee to bring up the excitement to a whole new level.
Unfortunately the bubble was Lauren Moschello from right there in Las Vegas. She bubbled and just missed out. However, she was not to walk away disappointed. After having a couple shots to relieve some stress we informed Lauren that she would still be playing tomorrow at the Rio.
We determined before the tournament started that the bubble person that day would win a deep stack buy-in at the Rio the following day as well. It wasn't a WSOP tournament, but it still was a healthy tournament with so much action at the Rio. Lauren being a solid player ended up cashing, getting 26th place for a cool $308. Way to go Lauren!
Even though we had our ten new FPN champs, we still had to play it down to one player and our new National Champion. On the line for the winner was a $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event Seat. In the end it was Jeff Miller from the MVP Lounge in Omaha, NE that won. He is no stranger to playing in crunch time as he was a former champ in 2008 and had already won a WSOP seat through FPN. Jeff was on a roller coaster ride on the final table going from chip leader to last in chips. He is not afraid to splash around at anytime. Dannie Powell from Dover, Delaware was so close, but ended up being the runner up.
Here are the final 10 in no particular order, each player won a seat into WSOP Event #54: