Six players. Three payouts. $1 million for first place. Add it all up and you have one of the most dramatic final tables in World Poker Tour history.
In a hard-fought battle that saw multiple lead changes over nearly eight hours of play, it was David “Doc” Sands who finally emerged victorious to claim his first-ever WPT title and walk away as the Season XI Super High Roller champion.
With just 21 entrants in the $100,000 buy-in tournament, it’s no surprise that the final table included some of the most talented players in the game, including Sands, Joseph Cheong, Andrew Robl, and Daniel Perper.
Robl and Perper started the day as the two short stacks, but neither was willing to make and early exit, as they both found early double ups to give them some additional life. While Perper actually managed to double twice, Robl couldn’t pull off the same feat and became the first player eliminated when, on hand 28, he ran is Kc-Qc into Jim Courtney’s pocket Kings.
After Robl’s departure, the fight continued for 71 more hands until Steven Silverman finally fell to Daniel Perper when his Kc-5c failed to improve against Perper’s pocket Queens. Silverman’s elimination brought the tournament to the money bubble, which took nearly 50 more hands to pop. Following another long round of double ups, Perper, Cheong, and James Courtney found themselves in a three-way pot. When Cheong folded after a flop of Js-8d-6c, Courtney got his last $660,000 into the middle when the 9c fell on the turn. Perper called and turned up Jc-8h for two pair to put him ahead of Courtney’s pocket 7s. A meaningless Kd hit the river and Courtney was sent home short of the money.
Perper was the next player to leave when he moved all in with Kh-7s and was called by Sands who held pocket 5s. Perper failed to connect with the board of 8h-5d-4d-Js-8s and went home more than $400,000 richer while Sands headed to heads-up play against Cheong with a 3-1 chip lead.
After a night filled with long stretches of intense play, the heads-up battle was quick and efficient, with Sands taking just four hands to vanquish Cheong and claim the title when Cheong moved all in with As-3d only to find himself dominated by Sands’ Ah-8d.
1: David Sands – $1,023,750
2: Joseph Cheong – $614,250
3: Daniel Perper – $409,500
4: James Courtney – $0
5: Steven Silverman – $0
6: Andrew Robl – $0
Matt Salsberg can’t be feeling too comfortable right now.
After putting in one of the most impressive, season-long performances we’ve ever seen on the WPT, the Hollywood Producer finds himself sweating the outcome of Friday’s WPT World Championship final table where Jonathan Roy has a chance to snatch the coveted Player of the Year title by posting a first-place finish.
If this was a script, Salsberg would be cuing up the dramatic music before cutting away for the cliff-hanger ending.
So, if you want to find out how one of the World Poker Tour’s most dramatic Player of the Year races will finish, be sure to follow all of the action from the final table when play resumes at 4pm PT on Friday.
It was a short day for the WPT World Championship, but only six of the eight players would survive to reach the televised WPT Final Table.
Daniel Negreanu and Rocco Palumbo started the day as the short stacks, though Negreanu got off to a hot start, doubling his stack in the first half hour without ever putting himself all in.
Palumbo never had any momentum at all, as he only played two pots and lost them both. In the 16th hand of the day (Hand #50 from the start of the 10-handed final table), Palumbo got it all in from the small blind with J8, but ran into Brandon Steven’s KJ and never improved.
With seven players remaining, David Peters was the short stack, though Negreanu’s momentum started to swing the other way as he slipped down the leaderboard.
In Hand #67, David Peters got it all in on the turn with a full house against Brandon Steven’s two pair to double up to more than a million in chips, and that put all of the short-stack pressure on Negreanu.
Negreanu lost six of the seven pots he played after Palumbo’s elimination, and got so short that when he finally doubled thru Matt Hyman (all in preflop, his A-Q outflopped Hyman’s A-K), he was still the short stack.
Six hands later, Negreanu got it all in after the flop with top pair, but his close friend Erick Lindgren had pocket jacks for an overpair. Negreanu never improved, and he bubbled the TV final table in seventh place.
That locked in the final six for Friday’s WPT Final Table:
Seat 1. Jonathan Roy – 1,900,000 (47 bb)
Seat 2. David Peters – 1,085,000 (27 bb)
Seat 3. Erick Lindgren – 3,355,000 (83 bb)
Seat 4. Brandon Steven – 1,210,000 (30 bb)
Seat 5. Matt Hyman – 1,560,000 (39 bb)
Seat 6. Chino Rheem – 5,495,000 (137 bb)
7th: Daniel Negreanu – $137,085
8th: Rocco Palumbo – $101,935
As you can see, Chino Rheem retains his big lead from the start of the day, though Erick Lindgren has closed the gap a bit. The other four players are much further back.
The three players at the top of the leaderboard are all former WPT winners: Chino Rheem, Erick Lindgren (2 WPT titles), and Jonathan Roy.
This season’s WPT Player of the Year race is still undecided, as WPT Montreal championJonathan Roy is third in chips and can pass POY points-leader Matt Salsberg if he wins this event. If Roy falls short of a victory, Salsberg will win the Player of the Year title.
The other three players are all making their first appearance at a WPT Final Table.
David Peters has come the closest, just missing the TV final table in this event two years ago by finishing seventh. This is the seventh WPT cash for Peters.
Matt Hyman’s twin brother Zach has a WPT Final Table under his belt from back in Season VI, which makes them the first set of twins to make final table appearances on the World Poker Tour.
Brandon Steven’s best finish in a WPT event is ninth place in the 2010 WPT Festa Al Lago here at Bellagio, though he is probably best known within the poker world for bubbling the 2010 WSOP Main Event final table by finishing 10th.
The players have a day off tomorrow before returning to action at 4:00 pm PT on Friday for the televised WPT Final Table. Return to WPT.com for complete hand-for-hand coverage, with every check, bet, call, raise, and fold, along with updated chip counts after every hand.
Recap by BJ Nemeth
Photography by Joe Giron (www.JoeGironPhotography.com)
With more than $1.2 million in career tournament earnings, WPT Season XI One to Watch Jason Koon hasn’t exactly been flying under the radar in the poker world up to this point.
However, with his single-minded focus on improving his mind and body and his poker game, we expect Jason to explode onto the World Poker Tour this year and really make a splash that propels him into the mainstream poker consciousness. Take a look at the above segment to get a deeper inside look at Jason from the viewpoint of his fellow Season XI Ones to Watch and from him himself.
Make sure to tune in to FSN on Sunday night at 8pm or 11pm to catch the newest World Poker Tour episode – ‘WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic – Part 2′ – along with all of the WPT behind-the-scenes segments.
The Money Bubble burst as the WPT World Championship entered the money on Day 4. The unfortunate bubble boy was Hyon Kim, who finished 16th but received nothing to show for it.
When the dust settled at the end of five 90-minute levels, these were the results:
Seat 1. Jonathan Roy – 1,987,000 (66 bb)
Seat 2. David Peters – 858,000 (28 bb)
Seat 3. Erick Lindgren – 2,518,000 (83 bb)
Seat 4. Rocco Palumbo – 680,000 (22 bb)
Seat 5. Brandon Steven – 1,235,000 (41 bb)
Seat 6. Daniel Negreanu – 545,000 (18 bb)
Seat 7. Matt Hyman – 1,940,000 (64 bb)
Seat 8. Chino Rheem – 4,839,000 (161 bb)
9th: Amir Babakhani – $70,300
10th: Sam Goldman – $57,998
11th: Dan Shak – $57,998
12th: Emil Ohlsson – $57,998
13th: Byron Kaverman – $49,210
14th: Steven Silverman – $49,210
15th: Jeffrey Ishbia – $49,210
Chino Rheem (video above) entered the day 21st in chips with 24 players remaining, but he caught fire shortly after the field reached the money to take the chip lead, and he never looked back. Rheem, who won a WPT title here at Bellagio four seasons ago, has nearly twice as many chips as anyone else.
Erick Lindgren finished the day second in chips behind Rheem, but it was not an easy road for him to get there. Lindgren was short-stacked most of the day, and was the shortest stack throughout most of the two-hour Money Bubble. But once Lindgren reached the money, he doubled up twice, including a big hand to cripple Dan Shak.
Lindgren, who has two WPT titles under his belt and was the Season II WPT Player of the Year, is hoping to become just the third player to win three WPT titles, alongside Gus Hansen and Carlos Mortensen.
Another player seeking his third title is Daniel Negreanu, who was the Season III WPT Player of the Year. Negreanu is on a heater of his own lately, winning the first-ever WSOP-APAC Main Event last month and adding a fourth-place finish in the EPT Grand Final a couple weeks ago.
This season’s WPT Player of the Year race is still undecided, as WPT Montreal champion Jonathan Roy is third in chips and can pass POY points-leader Matt Salsberg if he wins this event. If Roy falls short of a victory, Salsberg will win the Player of the Year title.
With eight players remaining, five of them already have their names engraved on the WPT Champions Cup: Erick Lindgren, Daniel Negreanu, Rocco Palumbo, Chino Rheem, and Jonathan Roy.
Action resumes tomorrow at 12:00 noon PT, with the blinds at 15,000-30,000 and a 5,000 ante. Rocco Palumbo has the button in seat 4, and action will pick up right where it left off this evening.
Tune in to WPT Live Updates tomorrow for complete hand-for-hand coverage as they battle for the six seats at the televised WPT Final Table.
When WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic – Part 2 airs this Sunday at 8pm and 11pm local time on FSN, WPT Champion Antonio Esfandiari will be sitting at his third consecutive final table at this particular event. Antonio won this event back in Season IX, finished 6th in Season X and will best that finish this season no matter what happens in this next episode.
But how did he do it? How does one player reach the final table of the same event three years in a row?
In the above video clip, along with a cameo from Olympian Michael Phelps, Antonio explains how he has transitioned his lifestyle and mindset to become more focused on poker tournaments and how his approach to the game has changed over the years.
Make sure to tune in to FSN on Sunday at 8pm and 11pm to see how Antonio fares at this, his third, WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic final table and much more poker action and WPT behind-the-scenes footage.
Stars Shine for Tiger’s Poker Night presented by World Poker Tour benefiting The Tiger Woods Foundation
On Friday, May 17, 47 generous – and lucky – poker players arrived at Moorea Beach Club Beachside Casino at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas to participate in the exclusive $10,000 buy-in Tiger’s Poker Night presented by the World Poker Tour benefiting The Tiger Woods Foundation. As part of the two-day Tiger Jam charity event, which has raised more than $14 million for programs of the Tiger Woods Foundation through its sold-out performances and one-of-a-kind auction items since 1998, the poker tournament drew in some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment.
Among those in attendance were the event’s namesake Tiger Woods, entrepreneur philanthropist Mark Cuban, NBA star Chris Paul, rock star Kid Rock, actor Mekhi Phifer, WPT Host Mike Sexton and poker pros Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu and Dan Shak.
Both Tiger and Ivey found themselves at the same table for the start of the tournament, and even though Tiger was first to be knocked out of the event – amateur Melinda Fey rivered a boat to beat Tiger’s jack high flush – he stayed for the duration of the event to hang out with players, chat with guests and spend time with girlfriend and Olympian Lindsey Vonn, who was in the room cheering the players on.
The tournament eventually came down to the classic World Poker Tour battle between the well-known poker pro and an amateur poker player. This time, the amateur triumphed over the pro when Scot Dillon took down Dan Shak to win a Pro-Am spot with Tiger at the AT&T National. Shak didn’t walk away empty-handed though as he won a Masters™ tournament experience as the last-standing pro player at the event.
World Poker Tour filmed the event for appearance later this year during a ‘WPT Foundation On Tour’ segment in an episode of World Poker Tour World Championship Season XI on FSN.
PHOTO CREDIT: Joe Giron for World Poker Tour
At the final table of WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, which airs Sunday night on FSN at 8pm or 11pm local time, two of the most recognizable names at the table couldn’t be more different in demeanor. Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari is an outgoing gregarious person at the poker table, while Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger is a quiet pensive figure.
In the above clip, WPT Raw Deal Analyst Tony Dunst takes a look at these two players’ different approach to playing at a high pressure final table and breaks down one particularly telling hand.
Playing at the final table of a major poker tournament isn’t something that happens regularly, even for the biggest names on the World Poker Tour (unless you’re Matt Salsberg this season). So, what is it like when you know you’re heading to a televised WPT final table with a $1.2 million first-place prize on the line? What’s your strategy, and do you even think about the money at all?
This Sunday at 8pm or 11pm local time on FSN, WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic – Part 1 airs and will see six players wade their way through a deep and talented field at the Bellagio to put themselves in exactly that position.
The above clip takes a look at how Antonio Esfandiari, Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger, Shawn Buchanan, Ravi Raghavan, Thomas Winters and Jeremy Kottler are approaching their chance to take home that kind of money, or if the money is even their biggest focus.