The day before the high-profile $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event, several of the top pros spent the day outdoors participating in Daniel Negreanu’s first annual “Big Swing” charity golf tournament. Back in the Amazon Room at the Rio Casino, Eric “Basebaldy” Baldwin is at the final table, trying to become the fourth player this year to win multiple bracelets.
0Erick Lindgren tees off during Daniel Negreanu’s “Big Swing” charity golf tournament.
1This is the first annual “Big Swing” charity golf tournament, hosted by Daniel Negreanu. The tournament started off with a Pairings Party over brunch, where players drew randomly to see which celebrity poker pro they’d be playing with. A full 100% of the money raised goes to The Lili Claire Foundation, created by Keith and Leslie Litt Resnick in 1998. Their daughter Lili was born with Williams Syndrome, and died before she reached six months old. The goal of The Lili Claire Foundation is to enhance the lives of children born with neurogenetic conditions. You can find more information and make donations at their website, LiliClaireFoundation.org.
2Erick Lindgren relaxes in the golf cart while Gavin Smith takes his swing. The tournament is played in a scramble format (also known as a best-ball format).
3Hole #15 featured a closest-to-the-pin competition among the teams. Peter “Nordberg” Feldman was the best from his group, but Erick “E-Dog” Lindgren is the closest so far, driving the ball to just 4 feet, 8 inches from the cup.
4Daniel Negreanu got the tournament started, but after a few hours on the course, he had to leave to go back to the Rio — he was among the chipleaders for Day 2 of Event #47 ($2,500 Mixed Hold’em).
5With Negreanu gone, Gavin Smith and Erick Lindgren made a prop bet over who could chip a ball into Daniel Negreanu’s face on the sign. That’s what you get for leaving early, Daniel.
6After everyone missed a few times, Gavin Smith finally hits the Daniel Negreanu sign to win the prop bet.
7Rather than pay Gavin Smith, Erick Lindgren offers him a double-or-nothing opportunity, and bets that he can jump over Daniel Negreanu’s sign. Gavin quickly agrees, but when Lindgren walks closer to the sign, he realizes it’s higher than he thought it was. Gavin agrees to move the sign out in the open so Lindgren can get a running start, and as you can see here, Lindgren cleared it to win his money back.
8Gavin Smith and Erick Lindgren drive off to the next hole. As you can see by the sign on the front of the cart, Lindgren’s team is called “Team EDog 1.”
9Daniel Negreanu’s “Big Swing” charity golf tournament was held at the Rio Secco Golf Club, one of two Las Vegas golf courses owned by Harrah’s. Rio Secco is set in the foothills of the Black Mountain Range, and players can see the Las Vegas Strip in the distance from several spots on the course.
10Former WSOP Main Event champion Scotty Nguyen (1998) is one of the professional poker players participating in Daniel Negreanu’s “Big Swing” charity golf tournament.
11Elaine Chaivarlis of Poker Royalty isn’t playing in the charity tournament, but Scotty Nguyen (left) offered her $500 if she could make the same long putt that he and his teammates missed. Elaine, who used to work on a golf course when she was younger, came closer than they did, but just missed.
12After Elaine missed, Scotty Nguyen made the same offer to Tenesha Harvey — make this putt and win $500.
13The players cheer as Tenesha Harvey sinks her putt, and Scotty Nguyen immediately walks over to pay her $500.
14Scotty Nguyen asks the Drink Cart Girl to restock all of their golf carts with beer and liquor. One of the guys on his team repeatedly says, “We only have four more holes, Scotty.” But Scotty ignores him. When they are fully restocked, Scotty says, “Don’t worry about it. It’s on Gavin Smith’s tab.”
15Elaine Chaivarlis holds a Daniel Negreanu poster that was autographed by everyone in the tournament. Chaivarlis is the Public Relations Coordinator for Poker Royalty, the management firm that handles pro poker players like Negreanu and Erick Lindgren.
16The final three players of Event #45 ($10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Hold’em), from left to right: John Kabbaj, Kirill Gerasimov, and Eric “Basebaldy” Baldwin. Gerasimov watches while Kabbaj and Baldwin play a big pot, which Baldwin would take down with a check-raise on the river with the board showing 9s-6d-2d-Qh-Ac.
17Eric Baldwin won his first WSOP bracelet a week earlier (in $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em), and is now attempting to become the fourth player this year to win more than one. Baldin’s online name is “Basebaldy,” which is appropriate as he won the 2005 Division-3 College Baseball National Championship while playing for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks.
18John Kabbaj (left) was short-stacked and all in preflop with pocket nines against Kirill Gerasimov’s A-9. Kabbaj flopped a set and turned a full house to win the pot and double up, and dealer helps him count down his stack so Gerasimov knows how much to pay off.
19Key Hand, 11:56:29 pm – Kirill Gerasimov raises from the button to 300,000, and Eric Baldwin calls.
20Key Hand, 11:58:34 pm – The flop came Ah-9c-8s, Eric Baldwin checked, and Kirill Gerasimov thought for a while before he bet 375,000. Baldwin thought for about a minute before check-raising to 1,775,000.
21Key Hand, 11:58:56 pm – Kirill Gerasimov moved all in, and Eric Baldwin called with Ad-Jd (pair of aces, jack kicker). But Gerasimov showed Ac-9h, a dominant favorite with top two pair. Baldwin needs a jack or something runner-runner to bust Gerasimov here.
22Key Hand, 11:59:11 pm – The turn card is a queen, giving Eric Baldwin additional outs — a jack would give him a higher two pair, a ten would give him a straight, and another queen would counterfeit Kirill Gerasimov’s second pair to chop the pot. But the last card is another eight, and Gerasimov smiles as he wins the pot to double up.
23Key Hand, 12:00:07 am – Kirill Gerasimov doubles his chip stack (left) at the expense of Eric Baldwin (right), who is crippled and left with less than four big blinds.
24The next hand, Eric Baldwin moved all in from the button (his chip stack was exactly a pot-sized bet), and John Kabbaj called from the small blind with A-5 offsuit. Baldwin showed J-6 offsuit, and he’d need to improve to keep his hopes of a second bracelet alive. But the flop came A-Q-5, giving Kabbaj two pair, which held up to win the pot. Baldwin was eliminated in third place, earning $259,534.
25When heads-up play began, John Kabbaj (left) faced a 2-to-1 chip lead held by Kirill Gerasimov.
26In the 22nd hand of heads-up play, the flop came 7h-6s-4s. John Kabbaj checked, Kirill Gerasimov bet 375,000, and Kabbaj check-raised another 1,000,000 on top of that. (The stack of 40 green chips is worth one million.) Gerasimov tanked for several minutes before folding, and Kabbaj took the pot — and the chip lead.
27In the 28th hand of heads-up play, there was another low flop: 7h-4d-3s. John Kabbaj bet 400,000, Gerasimov raised to 1,000,000, Kabbaj moved all in, and Gerasimov called with pocket kings — only to see Kabbaj flip over pocket aces. The best hand held up, and Kirill Gerasimov was eliminated in second place, earning $391,369.
28John Kabbaj receives a kiss from his wife after winning Event #45 ($10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Hold’em), earning $633,335 and his first WSOP bracelet. When asked about his wife, Kabbaj said, “I made the final table of the Pot-Limit Omaha and finished eighth, and she wasn’t here.” That was all the way back in Event #10, the first week in June. “But this time it was different. She was here and I had a lot of support, and that meant everything to me. To win this and share it with her is just great.”