First Aired on 7/16/07
Kristine Johnson - Kristine likes to play regular blackjack between 6 and 10 times a month. Over the past couple of years she has competed in 10 blackjack tournaments and won 5 of them. She qualified through the Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester, Washington.
Rick Fortin - Fortin is the Chief Engineer of the U2 Spy Plane. Known for his excellent poker face, he qualified through a Las Vegas Hilton satellite tournament. Wonder if that was a "spy satellite"?
Ken Einiger - A professional gambler, Ken hosts his own weekly radio program and has written the book "Play to Win." He once owned a skin care line and glass company, but these days he's a blackjack pro. In fact, he was the champion of Season Two of the World Series of Blackjack.
Don Rebentisch - A retired mechanic, Don has been playing blackjack for nearly 50 years. He has been married for 25 years and has two dozen children and ten great grandchildren. He qualified through the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
Joe Reitman - A writer/producer/director, Reitman was introduced to the game of tournament blackjack by Hollywood Dave Stann. He's played in 10 blackjack tournaments in the last year and managed to place second in one.
Summary: A very conservative game, the first three hands weren't even shown. By the fourth hand, Einiger had a very small lead with $104,000 (players begin with $100,000). Einiger was eliminated on the next to last hand, leaving only Rick ($184,000) and Kristine ($260,000) to compete for the win. Rick made the max bet of $50,000, while Kristine wagered $25,000. Both players doubled down. The dealer busted and Kristine picked up the win. Rick, meanwhile, earned a spot in the wild card round.
Henry Tran - With a Bachelor's Degree in Applied Science, Henry Tran works as a computer chip design engineer. He is also the 2003 Masters of Blackjack champion, which allowed him to win $100,000. He was a semi-finalist at the third WSOB.
Angelo Merkouris - The owner of a construction company, he moved to America from Greece at the age of 15. He qualified at the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada.
Shannon Elizabeth - Best known for her acting roles in American Pie and That 70's Show, Shannon Elizabeth is also a dedicated gambler and regular at both the WSOB and WSOP. You can also catch her appearances on Celebrity Blackjack.
Dannye Long - A retired school administrator who has played in 870 tournaments, Dannye qualified by beating his opponent by only $2.50. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing and spending time with his five grandchildren.
Marvin Ornstein - A retired casino owner and banker, he claims to be the first man to ever teach blackjack. He is also an author, having written a book about his experiences in the casino and banking industries.
The players all come out firing, and fan favorite Shannon Elizabeth finds herself low on chips as the first knockout hand comes around. She tries to rally back, but she becomes the first victim of the day.
Dannye's luck, meanwhile, is a bit better than Shannon's. He ends up with 21 on 7 different occasions!
Henry and Angelo start to struggle, and then the second knockout card is drawn. Angelo is eliminated, but Henry only has $1,500 in chips remaining. Despite trying to mount a comeback, he gets put out on the very next hand.
On the final hand, it was down to Marvin Ornstein and Dannye Long. Dannye was in second place with $197,500, while Marvin had the lead with $228,750. Dannye made a miscalculation about the size of his opponent's chip stack and only bet $10,000. Marvin responded with an even smaller bet of $5,000. The dealer ended up with 21, and Marvin moved to the semi-finals. But Dannye took second and qualified for a spot in one of the two wild card matches.
The first of two wild card matches, players who finished second in their qualifying round will have one last chance to make the final table.
This episode's competitors include:
Henry Tran - The 2nd place finisher at the 2006 World Blackjack Tour. He works as a computer chip design engineer. He won a second chance drawing to make it into the Wild Card round (since he finished lower than second in his original match).
Kami Lis - Speaks 6 languages and is working on her second Master's Degree. Has finished 2nd in the World Series of Blackjack and made 2 final tables.
Darrell Arnold - Also known as "Rock 'n Roll Darrell," this musician lives with his wife in Texas. He wants to use his winnings to make his own music CD.
Rick Fortin - The chief engineer of the U2 Spy Plane. Known for his hard-to-read poker face.
Dannye Long - A retired school administrator. He is also a veteran of 870 blackjack tournaments.
Kami Lis was knocked out before the final hand, which prevented her from being the first player in WSOB history to make three final tables. Dannye Long started falling behind and was unable to catch up, despite some aggressive play on his part. He busted out just before the second knockout hand.
So it all came down to Henry Tran, Darrell Arnold and Rick Fortin in the final hand. Rick was in the lead with $228,500, while Darrell had $203,750 and Henry had $150,500. All three had already used their Burger King Power Chip, and all three bet the maximum of $50,000 and then doubled down.
Henry doubled down on a 19 in an effort to get more money on the table to make up for his being in third place. Darrell doubled down on an 11, and Rick doubled down on a 12. The dealer busted, so all Rick had to do was win his double down to advance to the final table.
His double down card was a 3, which gave him a total of 15. Rick Fortin will advance to the final table at the World Series of Blackjack.
The second of two wild card matches, players who finished second in their qualifying round will have one last chance to make the final table.
This episode's competitors include:
Marlin Horseman - A retired engineer and veteran of over 200 blackjack tournaments.
Phil Dunaway - A retired employee of the phone company, Phil is now a pro blackjack player.
Norm Sheridan - A former actor and veteran of over 750 blackjack tournaments.
Rick Jensen - Owner of a fund-raising Texas casino company.
Christiane Hoganbirk - An avid player of bridge, gin and poker.
Each of the above players finished second in their match except for Hoganbirk, who won a second chance drawing to compete in the match. At this stage, there is only one remaining spot in the finals.
The dealer was on fire throughout the match, and this caused no end of problems for the players (especially when the dealer kept showing a 10-card as their up-card). Phil Dunaway busted out early on, even before the first knockout card appeared. He never won a single hand before his elimination.
When the second knockout card was drawn, Norm Sheridan was eliminated.
The final hand came down to Rick ($14,500), Christiane ($123,500) and Marlin ($201,000). Rick bet $14,000, Christiane bet $50,000 and Marlin wagered $30,000. Christiane doubled down on 13. The dealer drew to 21, continuing their hot streak for the match. This automatically won the match for Marlin Horseman, and he now advances to the final table of the World Series of Blackjack.
This is the first semi-final match to determine who will advance to the final table (where $500,000 awaits the champion). The top two finishers in this match will move on, while the rest will go home.
Our competitors for this match are:
Marvin Ornstein was part of an unusual development in the first knockout hand. He was taking too long to count his chips, so he was warned by the dealer that he had 5 seconds in which to place a bet. When that time expired, a minimum bet was placed on his behalf. Marvin protested, but it was clear that he had exceeded the time limit. But despite this fact, he managed to survive the first knockout hand. Instead, Salomon was the one sent packing.
In the second knockout hand, T.J. Boros split his threes in order to bet an additional $50,000. He busted on the first and was forced to double down on 12 for the other hand. He got an 18 on that one, but the dealer drew to 20 and eliminated TJ from the tournament. Rick Fortin also took a commanding lead with 5 hands left to go, as he split aces to increase his bet and got a 20 and 21.
On the last hand, it all came down to Rick Fortin ($238,000), Kristine Johnson ($144,000) and Marvin Ornstein ($146,500). Rick only bet $5,000, which created an opportunity for his opponents to double down and possibly catch him. Kristine and Marvin both bet the maximum amount. Kristine doubled down on a 12, and Marvin doubled down on a 14. Rick countered by splitting his tens and getting a 20 and 21. The dealer drew to 17, and this ensured that Rick would be moving on to the finals. Marvin lost his double down with a 16, but Kristine won with a 20. Rick took first place and $25,000, while Kristine took second and $5,000. Both will advance to the final table.
Stay tuned next week for the second semi-final match featuring players such as Marlin Horseman and Jeff Swenson.
This is the second semi-final match to determine who will advance to the final table and have a chance at winning the grand prize of $500,000. The competitors include:
The players start out cautious, with many making the minimum bets. This turns out to be a good move, as the dealer has a hot streak (including 4 blackjacks).
The first player to be eliminated is Jeff Swenson. After being reduced to only $50,500, he looks to make a move by betting $50,000. Unfortunately, he busts out and is sent packing from the tournament.
On the only knockout hand, George Mandilaras made a tactical error when he surrendered his hand in last place. The others players followed suit by also surrendering, and George was eliminated.
The final hand came down to Marlin ($180,000), Alice ($190,000) and Jarek ($67,000). Marlin and Alice were going to advance barring a disastrous move, and both played it safe by betting $20,000. Jarek bet $50,000 in an effort to bridge the gap. Marlin surrendered his hand, while Alice played out her hand and took first place and $25,000. Marlin finished second, won $5,000, and also advanced to the finals. Jarek, meanwhile, was left with nothing but memories of what might have been.
The final table is now set. The competitors will include:
Also, one other semi-finalist will be chosen to compete via a second-chance drawing. The grand prize is $500,000.
Air Date: August 27th, 2007
It all comes down to this - the championship match of the 4th season of the World Series of Blackjack. Before we look at what happened, let's see who the competitors are.
T.J. Boros made his way back into the tournament thanks to the second-chance drawing. And just like before, he wasted no time in making his presence felt. Making big bets and taking big chances, T.J. was the epitome of "go big or go home." Unfortunately, he started falling behind the other players and was eliminated during the first knockout hand. Easy come, easy go.
As the game progressed, Kristine Johnson also saw her chip stack begin to falter. She made a valiant effort to rally, but she could not last long enough to make the final table.
With only four hands remaining, Marlin Horseman wagered the maximum bet of $50,000. He received a pair of 8s and promptly split them. One of the 8s got a 3 on top of it, so Marlin chose to double down on that hand. This brought his total wager to $150,000. His double down only ended up being a 16, and it looked like his luck might have finally run out. But the dealer busted and Marlin raked in a big pile of chips heading into the final hand.
As the final hand arrived, Alice was in the lead with $430,250, followed by Marlin with $399,000 and Rick with $384,500. All three players made the maximum bet of $50,000. Alice hit a blackjack. Because of this, Rick and Marlin would have to get double-after-split opportunities to have a shot at winning. This wasn't the case, as both men started out with 14 in their hand.
So Alice was already the winner, and Rick and Marlin were playing for second place. Marlin surrendered, so it all came down to Rick's double down. Rick only got a 16 on his double down, while the dealer ended up with 17.
Alice Walker took home the championship and the grand prize of $500,000, while Marlin took second and $75,000.
What a finish and what a season! Be sure and join us next year for the 5th exciting season of the World Series of Blackjack.