They say all it takes to turn a lump of coal into a diamond is pressure and time. When all was said and done, Ravi Raghavan relied on both those ingredients to work his way through a star-studded final table. He defeated fellow WPT Champions Club member Shawn Buchanan heads up to claim the title and add his name to the impressive list of champions at the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic.
This always popular $10K event attracted 503 entrants to Bellagio, generating a prize pool of nearly $4.9 million and first-place prize worth more than $1.2 million.
Named for Doyle Brunson, the tournament has, in recent years, become the domain of another of the game’s greats – WPT Champions Club member Antonio Esfandiari who has made the money in this event for five consecutive years, reached the final table for each of the past three years, and won the tournament in 2010. Nearly as impressive as Antonio’s performance in this event was the play of Andrew Lichtenberger, who reached this final table for his second consecutive year and who finished 8th in this tournament in 2010.
Adding even more star power to an impressive final table was an appearance by Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps who, along with WPT Montreal third-place finisher Jeff Gross, turned the tables on Esfandiari by coming to cheer for him on his quest for his third WPT title. Last month, Phelps and Esfandiari surprised Gross at the final table of WPT Montreal, where he was chasing his first-ever WPT title.
Jeremy Kottler, who started the day as one of the short stacks, was the first player eliminated when he moved all in with Ad-Kd and failed to improve against the pocket 7s of Thomas Winters. Andrew Lichtenberger, who started the day third in chips, was the next player knocked out when he moved his short stack all in with Ad-9c only to be called by Raghavan in the big blind with Qc-4d. A flop of Jc-8s-4h gave Raghavan a pair and the best hand. The turn and river were blanks for Lichtenberger, who left in fifth place with a payday of nearly $235,000.
The fourth-place departure of Antonio Esfandiari, who had started the final table with the chip lead, stunned the crowd. Esfandiari had lost a couple of key pots before moving all-in with Ac-Kh from the small blind, only to be called by Raghavan’s pocket aces in the big blind. When Esfandiari couldn’t find a queen to complete a straight draw, he was sent home with a paycheck of nearly $330,000. Just two hands later, the final table’s only amateur, Tommy Winters fell victim to Shawn Buchanan when his As-7d couldn’t improve against the pro’s pocket 10s.
Raghavan started heads-up play with nearly a 2-1 chip lead over Buchanan, and applied constant pressure throughout the 69-hand battle before finally wearing his opponent down and capturing his first-ever World Poker Tour title when his pocket 7s bested Buchanan’s Kd-7s.
The star-studded field included some of the game’s best-known pros, including WPT Champions Club members, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Scotty Nguyen, Dwyte Pilgrim, Noah Schwartz, Jonathan Little, Will Failla, and Freddy Deeb. Other notable names that helped generate a prize pool worth nearly $4.9 million included WPT Season 10 Player of the Year Joe Serock, WPT Season 11 Ones to Watch Jason Somerville who finished in 10th place, and WPT Raw Deal host Tony Dunst, who finished in 27th position for his fourth cash on tour in the past year.
Final Table Pay-Outs
- Ravi Raghavan – $1,268,571, including entry into the $25,000 WPT World Championship
- Shawn Buchanan – $746,502
- Tommy Winters – $483,031
- Antonio Esfandiari – $329,339
- Andrew Lichtenberger – $234,197
- Jeremy Kottler – $187,845
Before the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Poker Classic final table started today in Las Vegas, another World Poker Tour final table was drawing to a close in Prague.
Marcin Wydrowski, a professional player from Poland, claimed his first World Poker Tour title after outlasting an impressive field of 567 competitors to claim victory at the PartyPoker WPT Prague event at Kings Casino. Wydrowski, who entered the final table with one of the biggest stacks, cruised to victory and a payday worth €325,000, including a seat at the WPT World Championship at Bellagio in May 2013.
The final table’s two short stacks were the first two players eliminated in Sunday’s action, with Romanian pro Alin Grasu being the first person sent to the rail. He was followed closely by Michael Gagliano, whose pocket aces were no good against a flopped set of queens held by Bobo Sbrzensy. Tony Chang was the next player eliminated, followed by Sbrzensy, who had started the day as chip leader.
Heads-up play between Wydrwoski and eventual second-place finisher, Alexandr Lakhov, was a short affair, with Wydrowski firmly in control from the start. The day’s final hand saw Lakhov move all in with 6s 7s only to find himself dominated by Wydrowski’s 7c 7d. A flop of Jd-8d-5c gave Lakhov straight outs, but the Ks and Kd on the turn and river brought no help.
- Marcin Wydrowski – €325,000 including the $25,500 Seat to the WPT Championship
- Alexandr Lakhov – €213,775
- Bodo Sbrzesny – €137,470
- Tony Chang – €101,800
- Michael Gagliano – €76,315
- Alin Grasu – €61,150
Yesterday, while in town for WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, the WPT Royal Flush Girls took a trip to the United States Veterans Initiative to help serve meals as part of the WPT Foundation‘s “Playing for a Better World” initiative. The four girls who were on hand to serve were Angelique, Ivy, Danielle and Jeannie, who has a close connection to this outreach as she served in the United States Air Force for 6 years (2001 to 2007).
The Bellagio has also given United States Veterans Initiative a $65,000 grant and employment opportunities for rehabilitated US Veterans.
Below are a few videos explaining the United States Veterans Initiative mission in Las Vegas and as an organization as a whole. You can read more about their efforts at their website and can get involved or donate here.
In Vegas, 176 players will return to the felt at Bellagio for Day 3 of the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Poker Classic, with WPT Champions Club member Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi sitting on the chip lead. Other notables still in the tourney include WPT Champions Club members Chino Rheem, Noah Schwartz, Gavin Smith, Scott Clements, and Will Failla.
Daniel Negreanu, a former champion of this event, fired six separate bullets before the registration period closed, but still couldn’t shoot his way into Day 3. Other players who failed to make it past Day 2 include WPT Champions Club members Jonathan Little, Tommy Vedes, and Marvin Rettenmaier. As always, you can follow the action over at our Live Updates page, starting at 12pm PT.
Meanwhile, in beautiful Prague, Day 2 of the PartyPoker.com WPT Prague event is drawing to a close. Marco Lang currently leads the field, but has plenty of stiff competition remaining, with notables such as WPT Champions Club members Eugene Katchalov, Morten Christensen, Mike Watson, and Olivier Busquet all in contention. Other players with playable stacks include Jason Mercier, Jonathan Duhamel, Mike McDonald, Faraz Jaka, and Elisabeth Hille.
The biggest name in poker is on his way to China where he’ll take part in World Poker Tour’s first-ever No-Limit Hold ‘em event from Mainland China – the WPT National Sanya.
Phil Hellmuth, who’s never one to do things on a small scale, is making this a family trip, as he posted on his Twitter feed:[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/276410617756266496"]
While Hellmuth may be the biggest name in the event, he isn’t the only notable player participating in this historic tournament. Other well-known players joining Hellmuth on the stunning tropical beaches of Sanya, Hainan Island are four-time WSOP bracelet winner and event ambassador David Chiu, 2012 APPT Melbourne Champion Sam Ravazi, and David Steicke who is known for playing – and winning – some of the highest buy-in tournaments around the world.
The sold-out tournament, which is capped at 530 players, will take place at the beautiful MGM Grand Sanya Resort from December 14 – 17.
If you didn’t get a chance to be one of the 435 entrants (and counting) who turned out for WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic this week at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, have no fear as ClubWPT is offering ClubWPT VIP members the chance to win a $12,000 WPT LA Poker Classic package this Sunday, December 9.
The package includes the $10,000 buy-in for the Main Event along with seven nights accommodation and travel allowance for one person. >> More details and terms <<
Scheduled to take place at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, CA, from February 23 - 28, 2013, WPT LA Poker Classic is one of the most popular stops on the World Poker Tour schedule and always draws some of the biggest names in poker to compete for millions in prize money.
Last year's event drew 549 entrants who created a prize pool of $5,270,400 with $1,370,240 going to eventual champion and ClubWPT qualifier Sean Jazayeri.
With satellites running daily, now's the time to take your shot at playing alongside poker's finest and becoming the next ClubWPT member to go from qualifier to millionaire.
Dec. 2nd – 9th Daily*: 9:45AM, 12:45PM, 5:45PM, 8:45PM, 9:45PM ET
Dec. 3rd – 9th Daily*: 12:45AM, 3:45PM, 6:45PM, 11:45PM ET
This prize is NON-TRANSFERRABLE and CAN ONLY BE USED FOR THE 2013 WPT LA POKER CLASSIC and LOCATION.
Day 1 of the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Poker Classic is in the books, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to take your shot at becoming the next player to etch your name onto the Champions Cup.
When all was said and done, 374 entrants, including past event champions like James Dempsey, Antonio Esfandiari, and Daniel Negreanu ponied up the $10,300 buy-in to chase one of the most prestigious titles in poker. When play ended, 306 players remained in the hunt, but with registration (and re-entry) open through the end of Level 8, the final player count is sure to grow before the day is done.
Jeremy Kottler will start the day as chip leader with 134,75. Randall Flowers is in second place with 119,400 while WSOP October Niner Russel Thomas is in third with 108,000. Other notables returning to the felt include WPT Champions Club members Allen Carter, Gavin Smith, Cornel Cimpan, Andy Frankenberger, Nick Schulman, Scott Clements, and Will Failla.
You can follow all of the day’s action by checking out our Live Updates, starting at noon.
From WPT Live Updates:
The first day of play WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic saw a strong turnout that just kept growing throughout the day. Multiple players purchased multiple entries on Day 1, and some players (like Curt Kohlberg, for one) purchased as many as three entries. Thanks to that repeat business, the tournament field settled at 374 players by the end of the night, which put this year’s Five Diamond event in striking distance of topping the 413-player field from Season X. There were 306 players that made it through according to the tournament clock at the end of play.
Defending champion James Dempsey was in action on Day 1 (see video interview above) and he was joined by former Five Diamond winners Daniel Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari. Negreanu re-entered the tournament and ended the night with 26,225, while Esfandiari held 55,150 when play came to a close.
The overnight chip leader is Jeremy Kottler with 134,975. He is joined in the six-digit chip count club at the top by Randall Flowers (119,400), Russell Thomas (108,000), Gheorge Gradinaru (107,425), and Shawn Cunix (102,000). Notables that made it through with large stacks include AP Phahurat (97,325), Dana Kellstrom (92,200), Sorel Mizzi (86,925), and Tom Marchese (84,425). Full official chip counts will be available later tonight when they are released by the tournament staff.
Former WPT Five Star World Poker Champion Carlos Mortesnen didn’t make it through Day 1 and he has chosen not to buy back in until tomorrow. Others that decided one bullet was enough for today and called it quits include Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Alex Outhred, and Bryce Yockey.
Check back in at noon PST on Wednesday to see just how many players enter (or re-enter) before registration is cut off at the end of Level 8 and the official prize pool and field size is determined. The WPT Live Updates team will be bringing you all of the action from the Bellagio Poker Room in Las Vegas.
Right about now, players are getting settled in around the poker tables at the Bellagio in Las Vegas as WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic kicked off at Noon PST today with the traditional “Shuffle and Deal” announced by Mike Sexton with defending champion James Dempsey and the WPT Royal Flush Girls in attendance.
These players will be looking to join the ranks of Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Eugene Katchalov, Chino Rheem, Daniel Alaei and Antonio Esfandiari as WPT Champions and WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic winners. Many of these past WPT Champions are in attendance today and are all invited to Jasmine at the Bellagio tomorrow night for a WPT Champions Dinner, one of the perks of being a WPT Champions Club member.
The $10,000 buy-in Main Event will feature unlimited re-entry for the first eight levels of play, so players will have the chance to ante up another $10,000 to get back into the tournament if they bust within that time frame. The field has already surpassed the 240-entrant mark as Level 1 has come to a close, and players can enter until the end of Level 8 (along with the re-entries) so expect that number to keep heading up toward last year’s number of 413.
The WPT televised final table will crown a winner on Sunday, December 9, and the WPT Live Updates team will bring you live updates, chips counts, photos and videos throughout the event.