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By Ryan Bakken / Forum Communications Co., Published November 09 2010

Senti recounts his fortunes at World Series of Poker

GRAND FORKS – A day later, Jason Senti was still counting his blessings rather than bemoaning his luck.

Senti, a Grand Forks Red River graduate and summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Dakota, finished seventh in the World Series of Poker’s Main Event in Las Vegas after some bad luck on his final hand.

He had a big advantage over his opponent with three kings after the three-card flop, but his opponent hit two consecutive cards to make a straight and what’s known in poker circles as “a bad beat.”

Now a resident of the Twin Cities, the 28-year-old Senti said: “That’s the way poker is sometimes. If I could have gotten lucky one more time, things would have gotten real interesting.”

If he had won the hand, he would have had the third-biggest stack of chips and in position to make a run at the $9 million first prize. Instead, he received $1.3 million for seventh place, $500,000 more than he was guaranteed when the final nine players started play Saturday.

Senti said he had plenty of good fortune before his elimination, a necessity to survive in a tournament that began with 7,319 competitors paying a $10,000 entry fee.

“I’m disappointed because I wanted to win the $9 million, but I’m very fortunate to be where I am now, so it’s hard to be too disappointed,” he said. “I played well at the final table, which is all I could do.”

Grand Forks resident Bruce Senti said he was pleased with the way his son’s tournament ended for two reasons. One, he wasn’t eliminated with a bad play. He made the right move by going “all in” on the final hand.

Secondly, he was happy with his grace at his elimination.

“It would have been different if Jason had stomped around and been negative after he got beat,” Bruce said. “But he’s not a prima donna, not a flaky guy, just a kid from North Dakota with a smile always on his face.

“The most consistent commentary (by media) out here in Las Vegas is that he’s a very nice guy. It was likely the chance of a lifetime circumstance for Jason, so there’s no way you can feel bad about it.”

His personality will be on display tonight on ESPN at 8 p.m., when the tape-delayed highlights of the nine finalists will be shown. The final two survivors, John Racener of Florida and Canadian Jonathan Duhamel started play Monday evening to decide the winner.

Jason Senti will return to his St. Louis Park home for one day, then head for Los Angeles for another poker tournament.


Bakken writes for the Grand Forks Herald