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|Tommy Vedes poses with the Royal Flush Girls after earning his second WPT title.|
Tommy Vedes really likes tournaments that are held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. In fact, he's done so well there that he probably prefers that all major events take place at that venue. All kidding aside, when it comes to the Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, Vedes is definitely the man to beat.
After finishing sixth in the Seminole Hard Rock Showdown main event in 2011, Vedes entered the six-handed final table of the 2012 edition as the short stack. Given the uphill battled he faced, many expected that he would finish in that spot once again. Vedes had different plans and made an incredible comeback to win the event and his second World Poker Tour title.
"I came in thinking that if I took sixth, I'd be okay with it because I knew the table was super hard and I had no chips," said Vedes. "Once I doubled the first time, I realized this was going to be different. I set myself up for success."
Vedes earned $779,520 for the victory in the $10,000 main event, a substantial pay day, but far from the career-best $1,218,225 he earned after he won the $15,000 buy-in Festa Al Lago main event in 2009. Vedes has earned $2.7 million on the tournament felt since 2005.
Earning this second title wasn't easy. According to the World Poker Tour, Vedes entered the final table with less than 20 big blinds and trailed chip leader Joe Serock by more than 80 big blinds when play began under the WPT lights. Vedes' comeback began as he won a race with A-K against the 10-10 of Kyle Bowker. The hand left Bowker with just a few chips and he was eliminated by Serock a few orbits later in sixth place. This was Bowker's first WPT final table appearance and it his six-day run was worth $122,496 which raised his career total to $1.5 million in tournament earnings.
Two months after his first World Poker Tour final table, Sharon Levin found his way back and was hoping to improve on her fourth-place finish at the WPT Lucky Hearts. Vedes denied him the opportunity and knocked out Levin in fifth on the 50th hand of the night when his pocket sixes held against Levin's A-3. Vedes moved into second place after the hand and Levin earned $158,688, his largest career cash.
Four-handed and sitting on a 20 big blind stack, Craig Bergeron found a cooler as he moved all-in from under the gun with sixes and was called by Vedes' pocket queens. The board provided no help and Bergeron earned $212,976 for his fourth-place effort. This was his second career World Poker Tour cash.
The final three each had their share of success in the tournament poker world. Serock's biggest score came with a runner-up finish in a WSOP six-handed event. He also finished third at the previous WPT stop in the U.S., the Bay 101 Shooting Star. John Dolan put himself on the map with a sixth-place finish in the 2010 WSOP main event and earlier this year, captured the title at the 2012 Southern Poker Million Dollar Heater main event worth $336,105. As for Vedes, his previous WPT title landed him in the spotlight just months after finishing 19th at the 2009 WSOP main event.
Serock held the lead as three-handed play began, but each seized the chip lead at one point or another during the 32 hands of three-way action. Dolan was the big winner during this time and after he caught a huge break and eliminated Serock, he had nearly a 2.5:1 chip lead over Vedes. Serock earned $306,240 for third place, just slightly short of the money earned from Bay 101 and is currently in the top 30 on the 2012 money list.
Dolan extended his lead to nearly 4:1 when Vedes began his comeback. Vedes' first double up came as he flopped a flush and got Dolan to commit with top pair. The second double up, J-7 against 7-4 (all in postflop on a 7-5-3 board), put Vedes ahead for good. On the final hand, the two were all-in preflop with Vedes holding Ad-10d against Dolan's Kd-6d. The flop was a beauty for Dolan as he flopped two pair (K-J-6), but a river queen gave Vedes the straight and the title. Dolan earned $459,360 for second place.
"Number three is coming," said Vedes to the World Poker Tour after the tournament.
The next chance Vedes will get to try earn his third title is the WPT stop is in Jacksonville beginning on April 27.
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