Matt Waxman – a name which was probably unknown to most members of the poker public until last Sunday. Not only did he win the World Poker Tour Grand Prix de Paris, he also made it into the WPT history books as the first American poker player to do so. Despite the fact that Byron Kaverman was the chip leader coming into the final table, Waxman was pretty sure of himself and told Mike Sexton that he was going to be the one to take the trophy back to his home country. Along with the title, Waxman also scored his biggest live tournament cash prize to date of €518,750 ($721,178) which almost doubled his lifetime winnings.
After four days of WPT Paris action, the 312 player field that started the tournament was down to a six-handed final table with Byron Kaverman in the lead. It was only 27 hands later, the short stack Martin Jacobson joined the long list of dropouts when his lost to Mikko Sundell's . The sixth place finish brought Jacobson a cash prize of €88,900.
Just a few hands later, the soon-to-be-champion Waxman complemented his chip stack with a pot of $3.7 million which he built with Sundell. After a few preflop raises the board brought and Waxman pushed in 210,000. Sundell thought about it for a while and reraised to 680,000. Waxman went all-in and Sundell called. Waxman had a flush with the and his opponent showed for a king-high flush draw. Unfortunately for Sundell, the board brought the on the turn and on the river leaving Waxman's flush unbeaten.
Left with just 30,000 Sundell shoved all-in on the next hand holding facing Kaverman's . The board was no help for Sundell who hit the rail in fifth place for €133,330. However, it was Kaverman's turn to leave the table next.
Fred Magen started the hand with a 5x big blind raise of 250,000 which was followed by Kaverman's all-in. Magen called and showed to which Kaverman responded with . Although the board gave Kaverman a pair of Queens, it also gave Magen a straight and sent Kaverman home in fourth place with €155,550 in cash.
The rule of the eliminator getting eliminated next was followed once again as Magen became Waxman's next victim. On the 100th hand of the final table, with blinds at 30,000/60,000 and 10,000 ante, Magen raised 160,000 preflop and Waxman went all-in. Magen called and opened to which Waxman showed . Although the match-up seemed promising the board did nothing to add to the excitement – and Magen’s only choice was to leave the table and take the third place prize of €211,100 leaving Waxman heads-up against Hugo Lemaire.
The final battle lasted only three hands – with Waxman's chip advantage of 7 to 1, Lemaire had no choice but to take risks, which he did. Lemaire raised 130,000 preflop and Waxman called. The flop brought and Waxman checked. Lemaire made an instant bet of 145,000 to which Waxman reacted by shoving all-in. Lemaire decided to call and opened – top pair whereas Waxman had a flush draw with . The came on the turn giving Waxman a straight draw and the on the river to flush things out. Lemaire congratulated the winner and left the table in second place for €311,100.
Matt Waxman won his first major tournament collecting the cash prize of €518,750 as well as the WPT trophy.
These are the final results of 2011 WPT Grand Prix de Paris:
1. Matthew Waxman – €518,750
2. Hugo Lemaire – €311,100
3. Fred Magen – €211,100
4. Byron Kaverman – €155,550
5. Mikko Sundell – €133,330
6. Martin Jacobson – €88,900
*Photo courtesy of World Poker Tour