WPT at Bellagio
As one of the world’s most prestigious poker events, the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic once again attracted the biggest players in the game. 413 runners, including nearly 40 WPT Champions Club members, created a prizepool of more than $4 million. A week of phenomenal action at Bellagio led to an impressive final table featuring Vanessa Selbst and defending champion Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari. However, only one player could claim victory in this historic tournament and in the end, James Dempsey triumphed over the talented field to etch his name on the WPT Champions Cup.
Day 1 commemorated the tenth edition of the first event ever on the World Poker Tour® as Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten, Kimberly Lansing, the Royal Flush Girls and Tournament Director Jack McClelland celebrated this legacy before announcing Shuffle Up and Deal. The most famous names in poker including PokerStars pro Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth and the tournament’s namesake Doyle Brunson turned out in force as players registered through the opening eight levels. The money bubble burst during the middle of Day 3, and by the end of the day, five WPT Champions had hit the rail, including Will “The Thrill” Failla (93rd – $11,942) who picked up 50 more points to extend his lead for WPT Season X Player of the Year. WPT Raw Deal Analyst Tony Dunst made his first deep run at a WPT Main Event, busting late on Day 4 (18th – $31,845) to eventual champion James Dempsey. WPT Season IX Ones to Watch William Reynolds (13th – $39,806) and WPT Season VIII World Champion David Williams (10th – $47,767) couldn’t survive the final playdown day, and when Soi Nguyen knocked out Larry Wells (7th – $91,554), the WPT final table was set.
In World Poker Tour history, no player has ever won the same event twice, let alone in consecutive seasons, but defending champion Antonio Esfandiari nearly pulled off this heroic feat. During the WPT final table, The Magician came out swinging, and moved all-in on just the tenth hand. While Esfandiari’s Ah10s had James Dempsey’s Ad4h dominated, an unlucky Four on the turn eliminated The Magician in sixth place. The action had begun at a feverish pace and did not let up. Two hands later, Soi Nguyen busted Vitor Coelho in a three-way pot involving Vanessa Selbst. Vitor not only picked up $159,224 for his fifth place finish, but also 900 WPT Player of the Year points to push him into 2nd in the Season X POY race.
Vanessa Selbst was looking to become the first woman to win an open WPT Main Event, and soon after Coelho’s elimination, Selbst doubled through WPT Season IX Ones to Watch Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger. Once again, only two hands later Soi Nguyen eliminated another challenger as his pocket nines held up against Lichtenberger’s pocket eights. Three-handed play did not last long. Just fifteen minutes after “LuckyChewy” hit the rail, Vanessa Selbst would fall to Dempsey, ending her bid to make WPT history.
To get his name onto the Cup, James Dempsey had to overcome a strong challenge from Soi Nguyen. The two players entered heads up play nearly even as both held slightly over $8 million in chips. Nguyen went up early and maintained the lead during a stretch of back and forth action. However, after doubling up, Dempsey’s KhQc held up against Nguyen’s KcJd as Dempsey made a straight on the river. James Dempsey claims $821,612 for the win, in addition to receiving the Tiffany and Co.® WPT Champions Award, the WPT Champions Trophy, and entry into the WPT Champions Club.
Final Table Standings
1st – James Dempsey – $821,612
2nd – Soi Nguyen – $517,478
3rd – Vanessa Selbst – $338,351
4th – Andrew Lichtenberger – $218,933
5th – Vitor Coelho – $159,224
6th – Antonio Esfandiari – $119,418
Player of the Year Standings
1st – Will Failla – 1,650
2nd – Vitor Coelho – 1,500
3rd – James Dempsey – 1,400
3rd – Bobby Oboodi – 1,400
5th – Vanessa Selbst – 1,300
6th – Soi Nguyen – 1,250
7th – Andrey Pateychuk – 1,200
7th – Jin Hwang – 1,200
7th – Matt Waxman – 1,200
10th – Daniel Buzgon – 1,150
The final WPT Main Event of 2011 kicks-off tomorrow from Italy. WPT Venice runs from December 13 – 18 at Casino di Venezia. The €3,300 re-entry tournament is poised to attract a strong turnout of local and well-known professionals. For more information, visit www.wpt.com.
Coming up in 2012, WPT Season X will feature many of poker’s biggest events. WPT returns in February to Commerce Casino for the world-renowned Los Angeles Poker Classic. In March, Season X visits San Jose, CA for the popular Bay 101 Shooting Star. April will become a milestone month for Florida poker, as WPT arrives for back-to-back televised Main Events – the second-ever Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and the debut WPT tournament in the brand new Jacksonville Poker Room. WPT Season X concludes in May with the WPT World Championship at Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Get the Party Poker download and you can qualify your way into a live WPT event by playing online at PartyPoker!