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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

World Poker Tour Five Diamond $15,000 Championship Event

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By all accounts, the Bellagio WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic Championship produced a final table for the ages. It brought together a legendary pro, a woman attempting to become the first female to win a WPT event, a young gun who has taken the poker world by storm in the past few years, a famed internet player, and two top Northern Europeans seeking poker glory in Las Vegas.

Coming in to the final table, Joanne “J.J.” Liu held the chip lead, with $3,630,000. A skilled tournament player with money finishes in over three dozen poker tournaments, Liu made her first final table appearance in the WSOP in 1996. Trailing Liu were Darrell Dicken, well known on the Internet poker scene as “Gigabet,” with $3,510,000; Pedersen, with $3,225,000; Phil, “the Unabomber” Laak, with $2,505,000; and Doyle Brunson, with $2,025,000. Rounding out the field was Patrik Antonius. Regarded as the best player in Europe, Antonius recently won the European Poker Tour championship in Baden as well as placing third in Barcelona. Antonius came to the final table with $1,755,000. Unfortunately for fans of the entertaining Phil Laak, he was the first to go. With blinds at $40K/$80K and a $10K ante, Antonius raised to $200,000 with pocket Aces. Laak moved all-in with K-3 off suit. The board came K J 10 A 5, giving Antonius a set. Laak took home $160,995 for sixth place. Antonius now held the lead with $6 million.

About an hour and a half later, the next player was eliminated. A-J proved to be Dicken’s undoing. First, he lost a big pot with that hand when he was up against Brunson’s A-K. Then Dicken and Pedersen battled back and forth, with Dicken’s J-10 flopping a ten to beat Pedersen’s A-Q, doubling Dicken’s stack. Soon after, Dicken’s Q-J failed to improve against Pedersen’s A-J, and the Internet’s “Gigabet” was severely short-stacked, with less than $800,000. A few hands later, Dicken held pocket fours and lost to Antonius, who held A-J and flopped a Jack. Dicken’s fifth place finish was good for $241,495.

Joanne“J.J.” Liu was hoping to become the first woman to win a WPT event. But her hopes were dashed when her pocket fours hooked up with Pedersen’s pocket Kings.
The board of A-9-6-3-Q brought no help to Liu and her chip lead had dwindled. Several hands later, she went all-in on the button with A-3 off suit and was called by Antonius, in the big blind with A-10 suited. Neither player hit the board, which showed 7-7-6-9-J so Antonius won with the higher kicker (pair of sevens with an Ace-Jack-Ten). Liu received $362,140 for fourth place.

Several significant hands featured Brunson. Shortly before Liu’s elimination, he doubled up against Pedersen when the latter moved all-in with pocket deuces. Brunson called with 10-10 and took the pot. Soon after, the “Godfather of poker” took over the chip lead, doubling up to $8.9 million with pocket threes against Antonius' A-2. But Brunson, with A-7, faced Pedersen again, and this time the Dane’s pocket deuces held up, and he doubled up. Finally, Brunson moved all-in with A-6 and was called by Antonius, holding A-9. They both flopped an ace but Antonius' kicker took down the pot. It was a matter of minutes until Brunson pushed all-in again. This time, he held K-J, which was no match for Pedersen’s pocket Kings. Brunson had to settle for a third place finish, which paid $563,485.

The field of 555 entrants had narrowed to a final confrontation between Denmark’s Rehne Pedersen and Finland’s Patrik Antonius. Pedersen, somewhat of a newcomer to the tournament scene, finished twice in the money at this year’s WSOP, placing 233rd in the Main Event. He had a slight lead with $9.39 million to Antonius’ $8.27 million. Heads-up play lasted an hour, with blinds at $200k/$400K and a $40K ante. The key hand happened when Antonius’ A-K of spades met up with Pedersen’s A-4 of diamonds. The flop of 7h-6s-5d gave Pedersen an open-ended straight draw, and a three of spades brought him the straight, while giving Antonius a draw to a flush. The flush never materialized, and Antonius’ stack was decimated. With only $150,000, he was all-in in the big blind with Ks-7s. Pedersen held pocket eights. The board came 9-6-3-3-J, giving Pedersen two pair, the win, prize money of $2,078, 185 and an entry into the Bellagio’s April WPT Championship Event. Antonius took home $1,046,470 for second place.

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