On Saturday, April 26, six players came to the final table of the WPT World Championship in search of one of the most coveted titles in poker, not to mention one of the largest first prizes. Under the lights and cameras, and in front of an avid audience of fans and friends, the six who had fought through a field of 535 players were ready to get down to business.
With so many players buying in to the WPT World Championship for $25,000 each, the prize pool was an impressive $13,216,250, with $3,389,140 alone for the first place finisher. The finalists, with their corresponding chip counts, who took their seats at the final table were as follows:
Play began with only a little time left in the 23rd level, as blinds were at 60k/120k with a 15k ante.
The short-stacked Jeff King made a move from the button on the seventh hand, pushing all-in for under one million in chips. Gus Hansen called from the big blind with , and King showed . The board came , and King was happy to see his two pair and the opportunity to double up through the chip leader to more than 2 million.
Five hands later, Hansen made the first move with a raise under the gun to 415k. Carroll called from the button, and King moved all-in from the small blind for 1,855,000. Hansen called, and Carroll folded. Hansen showed , and King showed the dominant . The dealer brought out the following: . The river gave Hansen the pot. Jeff King was eliminated in sixth place for $263,815.
Hansen leapt over the 10 million chip mark, while the next in line was Carroll with 8,350k. Tommy Le maintained a short stack of just over one million, with which he would have to push soon.
Several hands later, Hansen raised from the button to 415k, and Le merely called from the big blind. Both players checked the flop. When the turn of showed up on the river, Le moved all-in for his last 615k with for a set, but Hansen called quickly with for the higher set. The river was an inconsequential . Tommy Le was sent to visit his friends in the audience in fifth place with $395,725.
The very next hand saw more action. Hansen made an initial raise to 480k, and Carroll reraised from the big blind to 1.65 million. Hansen called. The flop came , Carroll checked, and Hansen made an immense all-in move. Carroll took some time to consider his options and finally called all-in for his 6.925 million – covered by Hansen. Carroll turned over to show a pair of J’s, and Hansen flipped the for a flush draw. The turn was the , and the river was the to make that flush. Cory Carroll was amazingly taken out by the undeniable chip leader in fourth place for $593,645.
Hansen was subsequently catapulted to more than 20 million in chips, while David Chiu sat in second place with 4.665 million, followed by John Roveto in short position with 2.27 million.
It wasn’t long until Roveto was under 2 million and pushed all-in from the button. Hansen quickly called from the small blind with A-10 of clubs, and Roveto showed pocket K’s. The board produced J-9-8-6-7, and Hansen again picked up his miracle card to make the straight. John Roveto was let go in third place with $923,355.
The Final Two
Heads-up play began with 80k/160k blinds and a 15k ante, with chip counts as follows:
Chiu had a mountain to climb to compete with the massive chip leader, who incidentally was the one to have eliminated all of the other opponents at the final table. Seemingly playing a patient, well-timed game, Chiu waited for the right time to challenge Hansen to a duel.
The first opportunity came on hand 33, when Chiu made an initial raise to 505k. Hansen pushed all-in, and Chiu called for his last 3.79 million with pocket 5’s. Hansen showed pocket 2’s. The board came K-J-7-7-Q, and Chiu doubled up to 7,590,000.
Soon after, the blinds increased to 100k/200k with a 20k ante, and the pressure continued to be on Chiu to pick the ideal spot to accumulate more chips. He did so on several occasions, including the 46th hand of the night wherein he won a 4.8 million pot with A-5 in his hand and a 5 on the turn. That pot allowed him to creep up to within just under 5 million of Hansen’s stack.
But Hansen was the last person to be counted out in such a situation. He proceeded to win the next nine hands in a row to erase the results of that last hand and create more of a divide between the two. Play continued with both competitors up for the challenge and the audience – and media – on the edge of their seats to see what would possibly happen. Blinds eventually climbed to 150k/300k with a 25k ante before the tournament would be decided.
The tide of the final table began to turn on hand 76. Hansen raised to 775k, and Chiu reraised to 1.85 million. Hansen called. On a flop of , Chiu thought and bet out 1.6 million, and Hansen considered and called. The turn card of a gave Chiu a reason to move all-in for 5.175 million, and Hansen folded. Chiu was only a little more than 3 million away…
Two hands later, Hansen raised to 800k, and Chiu called. Both players checked the board of 5-5-4-A-9 all the way to the river, where Hansen bet 900k. Chiu eventually called and showed 9-7 for two pair, and Hansen mucked. With that pot, Chiu took the chip lead for the first time at the final table. Chiu sat with 14.175 million, and Hansen trailed with 13.1 million.
Chiu’s momentum carried over to the very next hand when he raised to 675k pre-flop, and Hansen called. The flop brought , and both players checked. Upon seeing the on the turn, Hansen bet out 850k, and Chiu raised to 2.35 million, and Hansen folded. Chiu upped his lead to over 4 million.
One hand later, Hansen raised to 750k, and Chiu called. The flop came down . Chiu checked, Hansen bet 900k, and Chiu called. The turn brought a , and Chiu tossed 1.2 million into the pot, but Hansen countered with an all-in move for his 8.675 remaining chips. Chiu took his time and finally called. Hansen showed for two pair, and Chiu showed for top pair and a flush draw. The came on the river to give Chiu trips – and the championship tournament!
Gus Hansen, playing at his WPT final table and so close to setting WPT records, was stunningly eliminated in second place for $1,714,800. While this is the biggest single tournament payday of his career, the second place finish wasn’t what the consummate pro was playing for. Even so, he played an amazing game.
David Chiu, winner of four WSOP bracelets, added WPT World Championship to his list of accolades with the victory. He was awarded $3,389,140, a WPT champion’s bracelet, a Bellagio tournament bracelet, and a trophy.
Congratulations to David Chiu!
(Special thanks is due to the WPT Live Updates team for hand-for-hand final table details.)