On Sunday night, the World Poker Tour Season X continued on Fox Sports Network with Part I of the $25,000 WPT World Championship, which took place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas from May 19 to 26, 2012. The tournament attracted 152 of the world’s best players and created a prize pool of $3,660,500, of which $1,196,858 was reserved for the eventual winner.
This week’s episode, the first of three, began with a look back at the tournament’s early days. That included a look at past Season X winners from around the world, each of whom earned a seat in the WPT World Championship by winning their respective events. They included Tommy Vedes (Seminole Hard Rock Showdown), Moon Kim (Bay 101 Shooting Star), Sean Jazayeri (L.A. Poker Classic), and Edouardo Alescio (Venice), just to name a few.
Player of the Year: The WPT Season X Player of the Year Race was a heated affair entering the event. Will “The Thrill” Failla sat atop the leaderboard with 2,050 points, but several players were still in contention including, but not limited to, James Dempsey (1,400 POY Points), Bobby Oboodi (1,400 POY Points), Darren Elias (1,600 POY Points), Daniel Buzgon (1,750 POY Points) and Joe Serock (1,800 POY Points).
Early Action: The aforementioned Sean Jazayeri was an early exit, as were Erik Seidel and Phil Laak. In the end, only 98 players made it through Day 1 with Steve O’Dwyer and his stack of 231,500 leading the way. However, registration was open until the start of Day 3, so plenty of other notables entered the fray on Day 2 such as Jake Cody, Sam Trickett and Dave Shallow; in addition, former WPT World Champs Martin De Knijff (Season 2), David Williams (Season 8) and the reigning champ, Scott Seiver, all registered for the event.
James Dempsey, Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst and Morten Christensen all hit the rail on Day 2. At the end of the day, two-time WPT champ Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi led the final 94 with 428,200.
Will Failla’s exit early on Day 3 meant he was no longer in control of his fate in the POY race. “I’m sweating profusely right now, there are 13 people that could still pass me for Player of the Year. I’m really hoping they don’t, but you know, it is what it is, let it land where it’s supposed to, I absolutely did everything I could do to win it,” Failla said after his elimination.
“The Thrill” was soon joined on the rail by Dave Shallow, Scott Seiver, Martin De Knijff, Edouardo Alescio, John Juanda, Joseph Cheong and Vanessa Rousso, but they were replaced by late registrants like Jason Mercier, David “Doc” Sands, Mohsin Charania, Antonio Esfandiari, Faraz Jaka and Phil Hellmuth. Although many failed to make anything happen on Day 3. In fact, only 44 players made it through the day, including Curt Kohlberg who bagged up 918,300 for the chip lead.
The Money Bubble: Only 18 players were slated to get paid, but that didn’t slow the action. With 21 players remaining, three two-time WPT champs built a three-way all-in pot. Both Antonio Esfandiari and Jonathan Little were all-in and at risk against Michael Mizrachi.
The flop gave Mizrachi a gut-shot straight draw, but it was the on the turn that gave him the lead. The on the river was of no consequence and Mizrachi scored the double elimination. Day 4 ended with 19 players left, meaning just one more needed to go on Day 5 to reach the money.
It happened when Josh Arieh got his short stack all in under the gun with and received a call from Marvin Rettenmaier, who woke up with in the big blind. The board ran out and Arieh became the bubble boy. Not long after, players began to hit the rail including Guillaume Darcourt (18th - $40,266), Faraz Bonyadi (17th - $40,266) and Rinat Bogdanov (16th - $40,266). It was at that point that Joe Serock retook the lead in the POY race; however, Moon Kim and Matt Juttelstad still had a chance of passing him.
Juttelstad (13th - $43,926) was actually busted by Kim a short time later, and then Serock hit the rail in 10th place after his was outdrawn by Retteinmaier’s after the board ran out , bringing about the end of Day 4 with nine players remaining.
A Short Day 6: With only six seats at the final table, three players needed to hit the rail on Day 6. The first to go was Hafiz Khan (9th - $58,568), and he was followed out the door a short time later by Wil Wilkinson (8th - $82,361). On the TV final table bubble, Moon Kim got his stack all in preflop with and was up against the of Marvin Rettenmaier. The board ran out and Kim was sent to the rail in seventh place, good for $118,966. What’s more, his elimination ensured that Joe Serock would become the WPT Season X Player of the Year.
Here’s how things stacked up at the start of the final table:
WPT Season X $25,000 World Championship Final Table
|1||Michael Mizrachi||2,560,000 (43 BBs)|
|2||Marvin Rettenmaier||6,715,000 (112 BBs)|
|3||Steve O’Dwyer||2,035,000 (34 BBs)|
|4||Nick Schulman||1,555,000 (26 BBs)|
|5||Trevor Pope||1,480,000 (25 BBs)|
|6||Philippe Ktorza||895,000 (15 BBs)|
The Pope: Without a doubt, the man with the best rail was Wisconsin’s Trevor Pope, who had a friend in the crowd dressed as the Pope. Actually, the Pope conjures up images on an elderly man donned in white, but Pope’s friend looked to be about 21 and had a red robe and hat, something more reminiscent of either a bishop or cardinal. Nonetheless, watching him clap and celebrate in the background at the Royal Flush Bar alongside the Royal Flush Girls — well let’s just say it’s not something you see every day.
Sands is the One to Watch: Through Season X, seven up-and-coming poker pros were featured as Ones to Watch. The players finished the season with mixed results, but it was David “Doc” Sands who finished with the best results by quite a margin:
Ones to Watch Season X Winnings
|1||David “Doc” Sands||$806,370|
Nope for Pope: Action folded to Trevor Pope on the button and he moved all in for 1.46 million holding . Philippe Ktorza then moved all in for 1.7 million from the small blind with , which pushed Michael Mizrachi out from the big blind. Pope was a 3-1 dog and was up out of his seat even before the flop fell flop, which gave him a gut-shot draw to a wheel. The turn gave Ktorza a set, but it also gave Pope an added flush draw. Unfortunately for him, the river was not what he needed and Pope finished in sixth place for $155,571.
“I don’t have any complaints, this is obviously a good finish [in the tournament],” Pope said in his post-elimination interview with Jessica Welman. “A final table is a final table, I don’t expect it to be the last one I make, but sometimes things go in your favor and sometimes they don’t.”
Who will be the next to join this prestigious list:
|2||Martin De Knijff||$2,728,356|
Tune in Next Week: Part II of the WPT World Championship is set to air on Sunday, Oct. 14, on FSN, so be sure to check your local listings. If by chance you miss it, check back next week for the latest recap of all the action here on PokerNews.
*Pictures courtesy of World Poker Tour.