This week, Antonio Esfandiari celebrated not only his 32nd birthday, but also his second World Poker Tour (WPT) title, taking down the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Poker Classic in LA.
The action certainly did not disappoint, with one of the most stacked and star-studded final tables in WPT history.
Going into the final table, Esfandiari was fifth out of six in chips and had some serious work to do if he was to be in contention for the WPT title.
Vanessa Rousso was chip leader, with an impressive 5,830,000 chips compared to Esfandiari’s 2,105,000.
The first elimination didn’t take very long – on just the second hand of the evening, Rousso was under the gun and raised to 125,000 only to have Ted Lawson move all-in for 615,000. Rousso called with against Lawson’s .
Rousso was in a dominating position with her overpair but Lawson’s supporters erupted as the flop came down , giving him a set. But Rousso didn’t stay disheartened for long, as the turn came down , giving her the bigger set. The came down on the river and Lawson was eliminated in sixth place with $126,693 in prize money.
Shortly after, Andrew Robl was in the cut-off and raised to 180,000. Rousso re-raised to 440,000 from the small blind, Robl called, and the flop fell . Rousso quickly moved all-in and Robl called off his last 1.5 million with . Rousso showed pocket nines but fell behind as the board ran out and . Robl doubled on the hand to 4 million chips with a flush while Rousso went down to 5.4 million in chips.
Robl kept up momentum in a hand not long after. Robl raised to 200,000 on the button and Rousso called from the big blind. The flop came down and Rousso checked to Robl, who bet 250,000. Rousso proceeded to check-raise to 750,000 only to have Robl move all-in for 3,860,000. Rousso pondered her next move for about three minutes before calling the clock on herself. As time ticked down, Rousso conceded the hand and dropped to 4.2 million in chips. Meanwhile, Robl took down the pot as well as the chip lead with 5.1 million chips.
The next elimination at the final table came when November Niner John Racener raised to 255,000. Kirk Morrison called from the button, and Robl came along in the small blind. Both Robl and Racener checked the flop while Morrison bet 225,000. Robl check-raised to 550,000, Racener folded, and Morrison called as the turn came down . Robl was first to act and decided to move all-in. Morrison reluctantly called for his tournament life and showed only to discover that he was drawing dead against Robl’s pocket fives. The came out on the river, eliminating Morrison in fifth place for $168,924.
Next up for elimination was Racener. The 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event runner-up was under the gun and moved all-in for his last 1,005,000 chips. Esfandiari was in the small blind and made the call. Racener showed against Esfandiari’s .
The board ran out , eliminating Racener in fourth place with $232,271 in prize money.
The former chip leader Rousso was next to be eliminated. By this point the short stack, she moved all-in for her last 1.95 million on the button with . In the big blind, Esfandiari made the call with . Rousso was dominated and the flop, turn and river did nothing to help her. Rousso was eliminated in third place and took home $358,964.
Robl entered heads-up play with Esfandiari with a slight cheap lead. Robl had 9.5 million chips, compared to Esfandiari’s 8.155 million.
Esfandiari held an almost 2-1 chip lead by the time the final hand had developed. He raised to 800,000 and Robl moved all-in. Esfandiari called and showed , ahead of Robl’s . The flop gave Esfandiari a pair of kings but also gave Robl straight and flush draws. The crowd became tense, and the turn card came down , bringing Robl one card closer to elimination. After nearly 11 hours of final table action, the last card of the tournament, the , came down on the river, making Robl the runner-up and earning him $549,003.
Meanwhile, after a gruelling six days of play, Esfandiari celebrated his 32nd birthday by becoming the 2010 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic champion and taking down a cool $870,124 first-place prize. Not a bad way to celebrate a birthday at all!
Here are the results from the 2010 WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic final table:
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