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World Poker Tour on FSN: Epic Heads-Up Battle to End Season X

Marvin Rettenmaier

The final episode of Season X of the World Poker Tour aired the conclusion of the $25,000 World Championship on FSN Sunday night. The tournament originally took place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas from May 19 to 26, 2012, and attracted 152 players. Sunday's episode resumed with the final three players — Marvin Rettenmaier, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, and Philippe Ktorza — battling for the $1,196,858 first-place prize.

In the first part of the three-episode arc, the early stages of the tournament were highlighted as was the elimination of Trevor Pope in sixth place for $155,571.

In Part II, two more eliminations occurred. The first happened when Mizrachi looked down at {10-Spades}{10-Hearts} and raised to 200,000. Rettenmaier then three-bet to 485,000 holding {A-Diamonds}{K-Diamonds}, and Steve O’Dwyer moved all in for 965,000 with {A-Spades}{K-Hearts}. Mizrachi proceeded to five-bet all in for 2.14 million, and after thinking about it for a few moments, Rettenmaier called to put both players at risk. The board ran out {3-Hearts}{J-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}{4-Spades}{2-Diamonds} and Mizrachi, who was going for his third WPT title, claimed the pot while sending O’Dwyer home in fifth place for $192,176.

Not long after, Nick Schulman got his last 2.765 million all in preflop with {A-Clubs}{5-Spades} and couldn’t overcome the {8-Spades}{8-Clubs} of Rettenmaier as the board ran out {2-Diamonds}{J-Diamonds}{K-Clubs}{5-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}. With that, the 27-year-old Schulman’s hopes of a second WPT title vanished and he exited in fourth place for $256,235.

Here’s how things stacked up at the top of the broadcast:

WPT Season X $25,000 World Championship Final Table

SeatPlayerChips
1Michael Mizrachi1,925,000
2Marvin Rettenmaier11,575,000
3-empty-N/A
4-empty-N/A
5-empty-N/A
6Philippe Ktorza1,740,000

Hammer Time: With the blinds at 75,000/150,000 and a 25,000 ante, Marvin Rettenmaier, holding an overwhelming chip lead, simply moved all in with {10-Diamonds}{9-Hearts} from the small blind and put the pressure on France's Philippe Ktorza in the big blind. Ktorza squeezed out {10-Spades}{K-Spades} and quickly called off his 1,715,000. Ktorza was a 4-1 favorite, and he paced about the table as the board ran out {6-Clubs}{4-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{Q-Spades}{4-Spades}. Ktorza's rail applauded and began chanting for the man they call “The Hammer.”

“World Poker Tour on TV in France, of course we love it and we see the famous player playing so learn about how they play and we dream to be there and today it’s happened. Money okay, of course, it’s nice,” Ktorza said in a side interview. “Now it’s big money. My money, I make it on my work. Here I want my pleasure. I want to be a champion, it’s for that I play.”

In the next hand, Ktorza opened for 350,000 from the button with {8-Spades}{8-Clubs} and then snap-called when Rettenmaier moved all in from the big blind with {5-Spades}{5-Clubs}. Again Ktorza, having begun the final table sixth in chips, was on his feet as the board ran out {7-Clubs}{9-Spades}{K-Spades}{K-Clubs}{3-Clubs}. Just like that, Ktorza doubled to 6,910,000 and took over the chip lead. Interestingly, only three players in WPT history have started the final table on the short stack and went on to win it. Ktorza was not only looking to make it four, but also he was looking to become the first amateur to win the WPT Championship.

Michael Mizrachi
Michael Mizrachi

Ground Down: In the next broadcasted hand, Michael Mizrachi was first to act and moved all in for 1.6 million holding {3-Spades}{3-Hearts}. Marvin Rettenmaier called from the small blind with {A-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}. “This one I care about,” Rettenmaier said as he made his way over to his friends.

The {10-Spades}{Q-Spades}{A-Spades} flop sent the German’s rail into a frenzy as it delivered their man two pair, but Mizrachi was quick to point out he was drawing to spades. While that was true, the {10-Diamonds} turn made it a moot point as Rettenmaier made a full house to leave Mizrachi drawing dead. The meaningless {A-Hearts} was put out on the river and “The Grinder” shook hands with the two remaining players before heading to the rail in third place for $424,618.

“I knew coming in I had a horrible seat. I thought I did my best for what I could do with my chip stack,” Mizrachi told the WPT’s Jessica Welman in his post-elimination interview. “If I win the flip there, you never know. I’m glad to be back, I just haven’t played many tournaments. I just take a lot of breaks and, you know, I’ll start to play as many as I can. Hopefully I’ll have a great Season XI.”

Down and Back Again: Marvin Rettenmaier took a small chip lead into heads-up play, but that quickly dissipated when Philippe Ktorza won the first two hands. When the blinds went up to 125,000/250,000, Ktorza opened for 550,000 with {Q-Clubs}{J-Clubs} and then called when Rettenmaier moved all in for 3.7 million with {A-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}. Both players were on their feet, and Ktorza prematurely celebrated when he saw a queen on the {5-Spades}{Q-Diamonds}{A-Clubs} flop because Rettenmaier had also hit an ace. Neither the {8-Diamonds} turn nor {7-Diamonds} river helped Ktorza and Rettenmaier doubled to 7.45 million, essentially evening out the chip stack.

The Biggest Pot of the Tournament: Marvin Rettenmaier opened for 500,000 with {8-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds} and Philippe Ktorza defended from the big blind holding {Q-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}. The {3-Clubs}{7-Spades}{8-Hearts} flop gave both players a little something, and that’s when the fireworks began. Ktorza checked, Rettenmaier bet 425,000, and the Frenchman woke up with a check-raise to 1,225,000. Rettenmaier thought for a few moments before three-betting 1 million more, and then called when Ktorza moved all in for 7.5 million. Rettenmaier was an 80 percent favorite to double, which he did when the {9-Spades} appeared on the turn followed by the {2-Spades} on the river. With that, Rettenmaier took down the biggest hand of the tournament and left Ktorza with just 825,000. While that hand was disaster for Ktorza, he managed to win back-to-back all-in shoves on the next two hands and chipped up to 3.3 million.

Philippe Ktorza
Philippe Ktorza

Game On: Marvin Rettenmaier had held a 17-1 chip lead, but that had dwindled to 3.5-1 when Philippe Ktorza opened for 625,000 with {Q-Clubs}{J-Clubs} and then called off when his German opponent moved all in with {A-Spades}{4-Spades}. Ktorza had tried and failed to win the tournament with the {Q-Clubs}{J-Clubs}, and now he was looking for it to come from behind and keep his tournament hopes alive. Rettenmaier was a 55 percent favorite to win the hand, but the {2-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{J-Spades} made Ktorza the 54 percent favorite with a pair of jacks. Rettenmaier was still drawing to either an ace or spade, but neither the {6-Hearts} turn nor {5-Clubs} river was what he needed. Just like that, Ktorza doubled to 6.6 million and the game was back on.

Off to the Races: Marvin Rettenmaier looked down at {A-Clubs}{J-Clubs} and opened for 800,000 and then called when Philippe Ktorza moved all in for 5.725 million with {8-Spades}{8-Hearts}. The young German pro had a chance to win the tournament, but it all came down to a flip. The crowd was tense with anticipation, and remained eerily quiet when the flop fell {10-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}. The {K-Spades} turn elicited little response, but when the {7-Clubs} peeled off on the river, the French contingent went wild. Their man doubled to 11.55 million, which gave him back the chip lead. A frustrated Rettenmaier stood silently by his rail as if to say, “What do I have to do to beat this guy?”

Not surprisingly, Rettenmaier doubled back shortly when his {10-Hearts}{10-Clubs} held up against Ktorza’s {A-Clubs}{4-Hearts}. That gave the German a slight chip lead in what was quickly becoming one of the most memorable heads-up battles in WPT history. “Can you believe we’re going back and forth this much in this heads-up battle?” WPT host Mike Sexton said in disbelief.

A Cooler to End It: After so many flips and chip-lead changes, it seemed only fitting that an old-fashioned cooler was in store for the two remaining players. It happened when Marvin Rettenmaier opened for 800,000 with {K-Spades}{K-Clubs} and Philippe Ktorza looked down at {J-Hearts}{J-Diamonds}. Ktorza moved all in for 6.775 million and Rettenmaier snap-called. Ktorza seemed excited at first, but became deflated when he saw his opponent’s far-superior hand. There would be no miracle for Ktorza as the board ran out {9-Diamonds}{A-Spades}{3-Clubs}{10-Clubs}{A-Hearts} and Rettenmaier jumped into the arms of his waiting rail. The French spectators consoled Ktorza before Rettenmaier made his way over and the two embraced.

“I was happy. It’s hard to finish second. It was a nice party, a nice final, a nice heads up,” Ktorza said in his post-elimination interview. “It’s the biggest souvenir for me… of course I’ll never forget it.”

Meanwhile, Mike Sexton was with Rettenmaier. “When is it over?” Rettenmaier said when asked what he thought about the epic heads-up battle. It was over now as Rettenmaier not only won the $1,196,858 first-place prize, but also added his name to the prestigious WPT Champions Cup by taking down one of the year's most prestigious tournaments.

Former WPT $25,000 World Championship Winners

SeasonPlayerEarnings
1Alan Goehring$1,011,886
2Martin De Knijff$2,728,356
3Tuan Le$2,856,150
4Joe Bartholdi$3,760,165
5Carlos Mortensen$3,970,415
6David Chiu$3,389,140
7Yevgeniy Timoshenko$2,143,655
8David Williams$1,530,537
9Scott Seiver$1,618,344
10Marvin Rettenmaier$1,196,858

That’s it for Season X:The conclusion of the WPT World Championship marks the end of WPT Season X broadcasts on FSN. Season XI will start in early 2013, so be sure to set your DVRs and check your local listings.

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*Pictures courtesy of World Poker Tour.

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