Medic received some help on his way to victory, as fellow final-table opponent, E.G. Harvin, eliminated the other four competitors on the way to Besting a field of 609 entrants, Nenad Medic, age 22, emerged as the victor in the WPT's World Poker Finals main event at Foxwoods Resort Casino. The final table of six competitors boasted two female pros, Kathy Liebert and Mimi Tran, for the first time in WPT history. Thus far, no woman has won a WPT event.
The heads-up final challenge. As play began at the final table, chip counts were as follows:
- E.G. Harvin: $4,680,000
- Mimi Tran: $2,518,000
- Kathy Liebert: $2,500,000
- Nenad Medic: $1,281,000
- Mike Perry: $682,000
- Michael Omelchuk: $533,000 (Seat #1)
With blinds at $15,000/$30,000 and a $3,000 ante, play began with a bang, as Mike Perry was eliminated on the very first hand. Holding pocket Kings, Perry raised and was re-raised by Harvin, who went all-in holding pocket deuces. The flop came and Perry seemed sure to win, but the on the river gave Harvin, with the , a flush. Perry, an electrical contractor from Oakland, ME, took home $200,340 for sixth place.
Harvin's next victim, alas, was Kathy Liebert. She raised holding and was called by Harvin, who had . The flop of gave both players a flush draw, and Harvin middle pair. He bet $400,000 and Liebert called. The on the turn made the flush and both players checked.
Liebert bet 1 million when the river brought the , Harvin went all-in with the nut flush, and she called. Although Liebert is a leading money-winner among female tournament players, with over $3,000,000 in earnings coming in to this event, she was surely very disappointed with this result. She received $257,579 for fifth place.
Soon after Liebert's departure, Michael Omelchuk, of Bellport, NY, went all-in with J-9 offsuit on a flop of J-T-6. Harvin, immediately called, busting Omelchuk with Q-J for top pair, better kicker. Omelchuk also finished second to J.C. Tran last week in the $3,000 event at Foxwoods, winning $156,666. He garnered an additional $343,439 here for fourth place.
Mimi Tran, of Los Angeles, CA, was next to go. On a flop of , she bet $60,000 and Harvin called holding . The turn brought the , and Tran sealed her fate by betting $200,000 and then calling all-in with for $700,000 when Harvin raised. The on the river brought Tran no help. She took home $472,228 for third place.
When heads-up play commenced Harvin had $6,595,000 to Medic's $5,585,000. Their match lasted only about a half hour. After seeing few flops, Medic took over the chip lead holding 5-4 offsuit. He limped in and called Harvin's raise to $240,000. The flop came Q-5-9, mixed suits. Harvin bet $150,000 and Medic called. The turn brought a 4, Harvin bet $250,000, and Medic called again. Harvin checked to an ace on the river, then called Medic's $500,000 bet. Medic's two pair were good and brought his stack up to about $6.5 million.
On the final hand, with a board of 5-5-3, Medic bet $150,000 and Harvin raised to $650,000. The turn came a 9 and Harvin bet $1,000,000. Medic called. On the river, another nine, and Harvin moved all-in. Medic, holding 7-5, called after some thought. His fives full of nines were good against Harvin's A-J and he had become the latest young WPT champion. Harvin, of West Palm Beach, FL, received $904,389 for second place, not bad for an amateur player who qualified for the event via a $150 satellite. Medic, a pro from Serbia with several strong final table finishes in other events--including sixth place at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in 2005 and third in the 2006 Crown Australian Poker Championship--now makes Niagara Falls, Canada his home. He received $1,717,194 for his victory here, along with bragging rights and an entry into the Season 5 $25,000 WPT Championship to be held in the spring.