The 2009 Aruba Poker Classic: Bigger And Better Than Ever

The Aruba Poker Classic is the pinnacle for many an online poker player’s year, a live event hosted by UltimateBet that features the biggest names in poker slugging it out with the regular players that have made the poker room such a smash success. This year saw Littletown PA’s Brandon Hall (aka AreTheseUtz) taking the top prize in the event, walking away with $753,330 for his efforts.
Hall beat 474 other players to take the top spot, defeating the tournament’s long-running chip leader in a dazzling series of raises. He won holding Jack-10 versus Robert Mizrachi’s 9-6 suited, making a straight with a flop of 9 8 2 and a board of Jack Queen. While Mizrachi was soundly defeated, he still managed to walk away with $414,680. They were followed by Chase Steely ($218,860); Eric Baldwin ($126,710); Jose Santos ($92,150); Brock Parker ($66,810) and Matt Ross ($41, 470).
The week-long tournament saw a lot of highs and lows, with an opening poolside party that left casualties in its week. According to Liv Boereem, writing for the UltimateBet blog, “Phil [Hellmuth] managed to get through about $10,000 getting ladies to jump in the pool naked.” The 11-time WSOP winner was eliminated relatively early in the proceedings, crippled by a devastating chip loss while holding pocket rockets and limping out just a few hands later.
It wasn’t all just fun and games competing for the top spot, though. This year in Aruba UltimateBet hosted a charity event to benefit the Children’s Home Imeldahof, which provides a temporary home and support for children who can’t remain in their homes due to mental, physical or sexual abuse. There was a big turnout for the $100 (with rebuys) tournament and the players were very happy to pull out their bankrolls and give when they could. “Charity tournaments like the fundraiser for the Children’s Home Imeldahof serve as a reminder of how fortunate many of us are and how rewarding it can be to help those who need that help the most,” wrote UB pro Gene Bromberg.