Shirley Rosario
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$500 Omaha HiLo Split

Legends of Poker 2005

by Max Shapiro

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Legends of PokerRead: Shirley's Report for This Event

Poker Babe Wins Omaha/8

In an unbelievably long contest of 186 hands -- 72 of them heads-up -- Shirley Rosario, a Bicycle Casino host, Live at the Bike commentator and webmaster/owner of the Poker-Babes website, won the 13th event of Legends 2005, $500 Omaha Hi-Lo. It was 6:30 a.m. before she put away her final opponent, Todd Taylor, in a match that saw her go all in 11 times and he eight. Taylor is a Vegas pro with a fourth in a $1000 Hold'em event at Tunica.

Hovering nearby for frequent consultation was Rosario's mentor, Omaha guru Steve Badger. One of his key bits of advice: wear headphones so she wouldn't engage in distracting conversation.

Final-table play commenced with $500 blinds and $1000-$2000 limits, 40:52 left. Andy Sacino, executive host at Hollywood Park, a Lowball champ and owner of the old Gardena Club, started with only $4,000. On hand 11 he was all in with pocket queens and got chopped up by Scott Silverman's set of kings and Cecil Belda's nut low.

Dao Bac, winner of an earlier no-limit event, started with an above-average stack, but kept losing pots and by hand 29 was down to $1,000. On hand 42, Belda raised, Bac called all in for $3,000 and Vince Burgio went in for $2,000. The board came 6-5-3-7-5. Burgio missed with A-3-6-7 while Bac, with A-2-5-9, scooped with a nut low and trip 5s and Burgio cashed out eighth.

After a break, now with $2,000-$4,000 limits with $1,000 antes, Taylor led with $50,000 while Belda was lowest-chipped. On hand 53, Belda, with A-5-10-J, raised all in for $3,500. Bac, with A-2-10-J, and Rosario, with A-3-9-Q, called. When a flop of Q-9-3 gave her three pair, Rosario bet. A trey turned to fill her. She bet. Bac, drawing dead with an open-end straight draw, called all in and finished sixth while Belda took seventh.

Taylor, the most aggressive player at the table, built up a lead with Rosario never far behind. Then, with limits of $3,000-$6,000, he got involved in a big pot. Desmond Portano flopped trip 8s, but Taylor, flopping kings full, knocked Portano out and now had about $70,000 of the $155,000 in play. Everything changed on hand 78. Taylor had A-2-5-Q to A-4-7-K for Rosario. When the board showed K-9-2-8-J, her paired king put her in a big lead. After he folded on the turn in the next hand, she led, about 80k-40k.

It was 4 a.m. before we lost another player. Scott Silverman, who had gone all in countless times, finally went broke when he had 3-4-J-Q, flopped a wheel draw, missed any low and lost to Randy Holland's flush. Rosario and Taylor exchanged leads a couple of times. Then, on hand 98, she had all kinds of draws holding A-3-6-7 on a flop of K-5-4. She missed and lost to Taylor's flush. Down to $1,500, she would repeatedly go all in and come out alive. It got heads-up on hand 114 when Holland made a straight but lost to Taylor's flush.

Rosario still had only $25,000 when limits went to $6,000-$12,000. Many hands later she took a big lead with a flush and nut low. On and on and on the contest went until, with $8,000-$16,000 limits, she had him on the ropes. But by hand 179 they were back to near dead even and locked up $20,000 each. Back and forth they continued until he was all in repeatedly. Finally it ended when he was had 4-6-10-J to her A-2-5-5. The board came K-4-2-9-8, and her pocket pair of fives overcame his paired 4. -- Max Shapiro

Shirley Rosario, an ex-cocktail waitress at the Commerce Casino, has been playing professionally for about two years and has a No Limit Shootout win at the Hustler Casino's Grand Slam in 2004. She also finished second to Phil Hellmuth in the $1000 LA Poker Classic Omaha/8 event in 2003. One of the keys to her win tonight, she said, was pulling off a couple of key steals when she and an opponent had nothing, but they had more nothing than she did. Another strategy that worked for her was trying to isolate players she felt were weaker and whom she wanted to get heads-up with.

Omaha and No Limit Hold'em are Rosario's best games. One advantage she felt she had tonight was that she's used to late hours, normally staying up until 4 a.m. or so. "When they start to die is when I start to wake up," she laughed. In this event, it was slow going at the start. She was short-chipped until the fifth round when she finally started to build her stacks.

1 Shirley Rosario $25,725
2 Todd Taylor $20,000
3 Randy Holland $7,360
4 Scott Silverman $4,650
5 Desmond Portano $3,485
6 Dao Bac $2,710
7 Cecil Belda $1,935
8 Vince Burgio $1,550
9 Andy Sacino $1,355