Raul Mestre from Spain became the first poker player to be crowned the winner of the International Federation of Poker's (IFP) World Championship or “The Table” which took place on Saturday, November 19th in London, England. On his way to the title Mestre outplayed one of the best female poker players around – Britain's Victoria Coren – collecting the tournament's grand cash prize of $250,000. Coren went home with $100,000 in her pocket along with the silver medal for her runner-up finish while the winner was awarded a gold medal.
A total of 135 players attended the first-ever IFP World Championship and at the end of the day the field was down to the last nine standing who formed the tournament's final table. Three women – Germany's Sandra Naujoks, Australia's Marsha Waggoner, and Coren all advanced to the final table which also featured the soon-to-be champion Mestre, two Japanese players – Takuo Serita and Kinichi Nakata, Igor Trafane from Brazil, Slavko Tomic from Serbia and another German, Tim Reese.
However, the cash prizes and the medals were not the only trophies reserved for those that played the final table. Before the beginning of the last phase of the event, all nine finalists were rewarded with Perrelet Swiss watches valued at £4,500 each.
Here's how the player's lined up at the final table:
Seat 1: Igor Trafane – 369,000
Seat 2: Sandra Naujoks – 167,000
Seat 3: Takuo Serita – 41,000
Seat 4: Kinichi Nakata – 29,000
Seat 5: Victoria Coren – 204,000
Seat 6: Slavko Tomic – 44,000
Seat 7: Marsha Waggoner – 32,000
Seat 8: Tim Reese – 44,000
Seat 9: Raul Mestre – 426,000
The final play began with Coren quickly making her intentions clear by eliminating two of her opponents during the first hour. It was Kinichi Nakata and Tim Reese who hit the rail (thanks to Coren) leaving the table in ninth and eighth place respectively. The two victims significantly boosted her chip stack getting Coren closer to the leader Mestre.
The second Japanese was out of the game rather quick as well, only this time it was Slavko Tomic from Serbia who sent Takuo Serita back to the land of the rising sun in seventh place. Next off the table went the first of the three ladies – Germany's Sandra Naujoks. Although on the decisive hand things were going Sandra's way, it all changed when the river brought an 8. Naujoks found herself raising after the 2-7-8 flop with a pair of kings only to see Mestre going all-in. Naujoks called and put her Kings on the table against Mestre's 9-8. The turn brought a ten giving the Spaniard a straight draw and an 8 on the river sent Naujoks home with a sixth place cash prize.
The German was soon accompanied by another lady form the table – Marsha Waggoner who was eliminated by none other than her fellow female player Coren. Waggoner left the table in fifth place with $20K in cash. Tomic was next in the list of drop-outs as he surrendered to the chip leader Mestre who eliminated Tomic in fourth place. When the play went down to just three contestants, Mestre had a massive advantage over his opponents holding 732,000 which was more than the rest of the crowd – Trafane (486,000) and Coren (134,000) – combined.
However, it took more time than expected for the first of the three players to leave and it was not the one with the least chips before the beginning of the three-handed play. Trafane's troubles began when his unsuited A-Q ran into Coren's A-Q of spades accompanied by the all-spade flop for the flush. Although this did not eliminate Trafane just yet, it left him crippled with just 14,000 which he gave away to Mestre on the very next hand.
Left one on one, Mestre still had the advantage against Coren, although step by step Vicky managed to take over the chip leader position. After almost an hour of heads-up play, the game finally came into its decisive hand. Mestre moved all-in preflop holding a pair of fives and Coren called with A-J. No help came from the board for Coren leaving her with a little less than 200,000 against Mestre's 1.2 million. She tried to bring some more action to the game, but all Coren's efforts were in vain and she soon lost her last hand of the tournament.
Raul Mestre won the inaugural IFP's World Championship aka “The Table” for a cash reward of a quarter of a million dollars and a gold medal whereas Coren received $100,000 along with a silver medal.
These are the final standings of the tournament:
1. Raul Mestre (Spain), $250,000
2. Victoria Coren (United Kingdom), $100,000
3. Igor Trafane (Brazil), $50,000
4. Slavko Tomic (Serbia), $25,000
5. Marsha Waggoner (Australia), $20,000
6. Sandra Naujoks (Germany), $17,500
7. Takuo Serita (Japan), $15,000
8. Tim Reese (Germany), $12,500
9. Kinichi Nakata (Japan), $10,000
*Image courtesy of int.pokerfed.org