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Monthly Archives: August 2007

Judy Kim sets the pace to victory

August 28th, 2007 by nationaldeafpokertour

By Greg Randall


With tremendous excitement in the air, 94 deaf poker players met at the Venetian in Las Vegas for the prestigious NDPT Main Event. The southwest made a nice showing but every corner of USA had representatives and a player has come from as far as Montreal, Quebec to represent Canada! Two past NDPT champions Jon Rollins (IL) and William Loftus (VT) came to defend their titles as well. The tournament proved formidable as these champions and other known strong players made early exits from the game. One thing everybody knew for sure, you cannot be a slouch to win this game.

During this tournament, two “main characters” emerged from the 94 characters dramatis personae. Elijah Gold from Washington DC and Judy Kim from Orange County, CA displayed much virtuosity as they made their smooth rise through the rough and tumble battles to become the chip leaders.

People who pay attention to the deaf sports might recognize Elijah Gold’s name because of his soccer and ice hockey accomplishments. The tournament started with several female players, but only Judy Kim and Cantrece Monge went deep into the game. With the fans behind her, Contrece Monge (CA) played courageously but was not able to finish in the money. When the tournament was down to three tables, Judy Kim led the game with 51,200 chips. Momentarily, she hit a rough patch when
she was not able to play winning hands. Her stack shrank just a little bit but it was clear that she was not rattled when she quickly made up for losses.

At 25 players remaining, Elijah Gold captured the lead with 55K chips with Judy drafting right behind him. Down to two tables,
Elijah still led with 67K stack with stubborn Judy still right behind him with only 1.2K less at 65,800 chips. Here, the battle for the
final table became brutal with players being busted left and right by both Judy Kim and Elijah Gold, each ruling their own table.

12 handed, Judy Kim has regained her lead with a monster 89,800 stack and Elijah Gold holding a beautiful 84,900 chips pile with the rest of the field averaging out with the remaining chips. For a while it seemed that the rest of the field began to become more desperate and aggressive, Judy and Elijah settled down and let the rest of the field run the show.

Brilliant and daring plays made by scramblers like Pat Kinast (TX), Greg Sassounian (CA), and Tom Parker (NV) whittled the 12 down to final nine as they all doubled up. This is when Elijah and Judy began playing again aggressively and the field of 9 was quickly cut down to 5. After busting out Tom Parker who made his second NDPT Main Event final table appearance, Elijah regained the chip lead over Judy after trailing for several rounds. Five handed, everybody dug in and played lengthy and skillful battles with the lead passing back and forth between Judy and Elijah. Several rounds has passed before Charles Barham (CA) decided to push all his chips all in. Elijah, who has been nearly flawless in making correct calls the whole game, studied
Charles for a few moments and after a sigh, called. Charles flipped up A2 and Elijah showed his AJ. At the turn, the board had a straight draw for Charles who needed a 5 for the wheel straight and Elijah with a nut flush draw, holding the ace of diamonds. The dealer turned a 5 of diamonds for Charles Barham’s dramatic 5th place finish!

Unfortunately for Elijah, almost immediately after this hand, Pat Kinast (TX), who during the middle of the tournament was nursing a tiny stack and amazingly survived to have his stack blow up, decided to go all in pre-flop. Elijah went into his cave and mediated for a few moment and made the pivotal call. Pat showed A7 and Elijah triumphantly dropped down another AJ, dominating Pat’s A7.

Unfortunately for Elijah, this is where his remarkable run has been snapped. The flop popped a 7 and to rub the salts into Elijah’s
wounds, another 7 hit the river. Now for the first time since there were 28 players, neither Elijah Gold nor Judy Kim led! Pat’s lead was short-lived when soon Greg Sassounian made his move for the chips and pushed all-in with pocket jacks. Elijah made a somewhat uncharacteristic call with A8 and finished his remarkable run when Greg’s jacks held up. Now with Elijah Gold busted, Greg Sassounian became the chip leader, with Judy Kim trailing only a few thousand chips behind. After a few uneventful spats between the players, Greg Sassouian became aggressive and pushed all his chips in. Judy Kim made a surprisingly loose call with her KJ and Greg showed 88. The large, surprised crowd of spectators all rubbernecked to see the flop and erupted as it spiked a J for Judy and Greg’s 88 failed! Left with 4 thousand chips, Greg immediately pushed all in again with 10 2 and Judy called automatically and showed Greg’s previously failed 88! No 10 hit the board and Greg finished his impressive run. With an enormous chip lead to overcome, Pat Kinast put up a rally but it was short lived when his all-in was called and Judy two-paired her K6 for the great finish filled with loud cheers for the new star from her new fans! With much flying hands applause, Judy Kim became the first-ever female NDPT Main Event Champion winning the $5,143 grand prize and a NDPT Champion bracelet.