Having finished 7th and on the bubble in this event (PPT events only pay top 6 places), I waited to see who would come through and win. Having played with the finalist for most of the two days (as well many times over the years), I thought I would supply you some details about how they played and of their general style.
Toto Leonidas went in to the final as chip leader. He had played the first two days in his usual (and often successful ), aggressive style. Playing short-handed at the final two tables - I got to see him at work. However, having amassed a healthy big chip lead at the time - he tried one move too many. The chosen target, Paul Magriel, looked certain that he had a fair hand but Toto kept following through with what seemed like an obvious bluff. The hand cost Toto a big chunk of his stack and more or less sent him on tilt. It was no surprise to see him going all-in in the very next hand. However, he did have a flush draw on the flop with a couple of over cards (88 v A9h). The nine came to the rescue on the river and Toto took down a big pot.
Toto is great fun to play with but also dangerous as he has no problem in trying to gamble his way to victory.
Paul Magriel on the other hand plays somewhat of an ABC type of game. However, he is also prone to the odd gamble. He eventually made the final six just behind Toto in the chip count - thanks mainly to Toto‘s failed bluff.
In 3rd place going to the final, was Hoyt Corkins. Hoyt is again a very aggressive player at times. However, at the two-table stage - he was very selective with his choice of hands. He was also the unlucky one when Toto rivered the Nine.
Next in chips for the final was Tom McEvoy. Tom has had a very lean time in tournaments in recent years. However, I must admit that he seemed to be on his game during this event. He played very solid and aggressive when required - always a great combination.
We then had Casey Kastle and Marsha Waggoner making up the final with the lowest stacks. I have a lot of respect for both these players. And just as in the case of Tom - they both combined very good and solid play with calculated aggression.
I was not there for the final itself, but I did speak with Tom later. His comment was that Toto would simply not slow down and tried to run over the table. Although this approach does work sometimes - it went very wrong for him on this occasion. Tom McEvoy eventually went on to a deserved and overdue win with Marsha taking 2nd place. I’m sure that Toto took defeat very well as he is a very sporting player at all times.
Hoyt was unlucky to run ran into a couple of big hands early and was first to get busted. However, I feel certain that he will have many wins to come. He was also a true gent to play with.
Casey Kastle and I have always been on friendly terms but I never really had the chance to get to know him well until this week. He is not what you call a real pro as he doesn’t play that much poker. But like many that I have met on travels, he is a very interesting and nice guy.
Marsha’s 2nd place finish was good to see. She is a great supporter of poker and travels the world with her pro player husband, Kenna James - a great result for a fearless lady.
The next PPT event takes place at the Bellagio in April with what will be a very big month for poker - check back here for updates.
Until next time - play well, get lucky and enjoy life!
Peter "The Poet" Costa