Esfandiari Wins Second WPT Title At Five Diamond Classic

Posted at 21:09 2010-12-10

The World Poker Tour is enjoying a renaissance in popularity after the sweeping changes that have come with season nine. They now have a show piece star-studded final at one of their bigger events that they can feature and promote. That final table occurred yesterday at the Bellagio Five Diamond Classic. After 438 players had registered for the tournament and five days of action had played through just Vanessa Rousso, John Racener, Andrew Robl, Kirk Morrison, Antonio Esfandiari and Ted Lawson were left to contest the final table. Everyone of the players at the final table was a recognisable face in the poker world, each with their own list of achievements. In the end though it would be Antonio Esfandiari who would give them all the slip to take his second WPT title, $870,124 for first, and a $25,000 WPT Championship seat on top. Esfandiari could consider it a late birthday present after turning 32 during the week.


The chip counts and seats at the start of the Final Table:

Seat 1: Antonio Esfandiari - 2,105,000
Seat 2: Vanessa Rousso - 5,830,000
Seat 3: Ted Lawson - 635,000
Seat 4: John Racener - 3,235,000
Seat 5: Kirk Morrison - 2,650,000
Seat 6: Andrew Robl - 3,210,000

The first elimination would come on the second hand of the evening, so television is likely to show the first two hands in full. Vanessa Rousso raised to 125,000 from under the gun and the short-stack Ted Lawson moved all in for 615,000. Rousso’s {Qc}{Qh} would endure a roller-coaster ride against Lawson’s {9s}{9c}. After Lawson spiked a set on the flop, Rousso returned the favour on the turn to take the hand down and send Lawson to the rail.

Vanessa Rousso then gave some of those chips to Andrew Robl after he doubled through her, before he eliminated Kirk Morrison. Robl, Morrison and Racener went three handed to a {Ah}{Th}{5c} flop and Morrison raised before calling a check-raise from Robl. Racener found the action a little hot and got out of the way. Robl set Morrison all in on the {9s} turn and the shorter stack called with {As}{jh}. That proved to be an ill-fated move as Robl showed down a set of fives, good for the pot and the chiplead.

2010 World Series of Poker Main Event Runner Up John Racener then disappeared at the hands of some Antonio Esfandiari magic. Racener tried to make a move from the short stack {Qc}{8c} but Esfandiari made a dominating call from the small blind with {Kc}{Qh}. Racener whiffed every street to go home fourth.

It would take a grinding three hours to reach a heads up battle, with Vanessa Rousso eventually falling behind Robl and Esfandiari. She finally moved in with {Qh}{2h} and Esfandiari was lucky enough to find himself in the right position, at the right time again with {Ac}{Qs}. Rousso never got close, leaving Robl and Esfandiari to battle for the title.

Robl took a 9.5 million to 8.155 million advantage into the final phase of the tournament. The two players also shared the same sponsor - Victory Poker, who will be ecstatic about the valuable TV time they will get for their money.

Esfandiari fought his way out to a 2-1 chip lead heads up before the final hand took care of the rest. Esfandiari opened with a raise and Robl responded by moving all in over the top. Esfandiari’s reply was to call and table {Kc}{Jd} against Robl’s {Qd}{Tc}. The hand became very tight on the {Ad}{kd}{6d} with Esfandiari pairing up, but probably not liking the flush and straight draws that Robl now had. The turn {6c} and river {5s} were not the cards that Robl wanted to see though and it would be enough to crown Esfandiari the champion of the WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic at the Bellagio.

Viewers can look forward to seeing this final table when coverage of the WPT Season airs early in the New Year.

The final table payouts were as follows:
1. Antonio Esfandiari - $870,124
2. Andrew Robl - $549,003
3. Vanessa Rousso - $358,964
4. John Racener - $232,271
5. Kirk Morrison - $168,924
6. Ted Lawson - $126,693


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Antonio Esfandiari took down his second ever WPT title at the Five Diamond Classic Antonio Esfandiari took down his second ever WPT title at the Five Diamond Classic

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