The World Poker Tour (WPT) is running stronger than ever and adding a lot of "new" to their name - like ‘new’ expansion events in Europe and the US; ‘new’ National and Regional Series events; ‘new’ on-air talent; and most importantly, a re’new’ed energy on WPT® tournament floors with revolutionary enhancements and intense table action - and it all exploded at Bellagio Resort & Casino when Antonio Esfandiari celebrated his birthday and his second WPT title giving him more than $2.4 Million in lifetime WPT cashes in the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship.
Esfandiari fought the most accomplished final table of the season when he had to get through John Racener, Kirk Morrison, Vanessa "Lady Maverick" Rousso, Andrew Robl, and Ted Lawson. Consider the fact that, combined, the final six players have more than $17M in career earnings, three World Series of Poker bracelets, three World Poker Tour titles, dozens of final tables, and more than a dozen major tournament victories.
Esfandiari started early in Day 1 and captured the chip lead, holding it at the end of Days 2, 3, and 4. Lady Maverick put an end to that on Day 5 when he lost two major hands to her and she held the chip lead at the close of Day 5. Esfandiari turned 32 on 'final table' day and the crowd sang Happy Birthday to him - he was now short stacked.
Ted Lawson was the first elimination on the second hand of play and Kirk Morrison and John Racener followed Lawson out the door. Rousso, Robl, and Esfandiari took turns - short stack, chip leader - and the Birthday Boy managed to get A-Q to hold up against Rousso's Q-2 and Rousso missed her opportunity to become the only woman ever to win a WPT buy-in event as she left in third place.
Robl and Esfandiari were in search of a title and cash as they went to war heads-up. Esfandiari was looking for his second WPT title after missing the final table felt for some time. Robl was looking to mark a spot in tournament history and expand his horizons to encompass ring and tournament wins. Esfandiari took the title when his K-J busted Robl's Q-10.
Final Table Standings and Payouts 1st. Antonio Esfandiari, $870,124 2nd. Andrew Robl, $549,003 3rd. Vanessa Rousso, $358,964 4th. John Racener, $232,271 5th. Kirk Morrison, $168,924 6th. Ted Lawson, $126,693
“It feels damn good. I'm not gonna lie,” said Esfandiari. "It was legendary. It was tough. Fun. Exciting. All of the above and it was so exciting to come out on top. I don't think it has sunk in yet...By far hands down one of the best birthdays ever!" Esfandiari claimed the WPT Title, $870,124 first place cash, and a $25,500 buy-in to the WPT World Championship Event at the season end.