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2012 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 5: Esfandiari Atop Final Table

Antonio Esfandiari

The World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio should be appropriately named the Antonio Esfandiari World Poker Classic with all of the damage he has done over the years. Once again, it is Esfandiari who's on top of the final table heading into the final Day 6. He bagged up 4.31 million and leads a stacked final table.

WPT Five Diamond Final Table

SeatPlayerChips
1Antonio Esfandiari4,310,000
2Andrew Lichtenberger2,940,000
3Jeremy Kottler1,215,000
4Ravi Raghavan1,250,000
5Shawn Buchanan3,465,000
6Thomas Winters1,615,000

Just to reiterate once again how well Esfandiari has done in this event and drive home the point behind the event's suggested name change, Esfandiari has cashed in this event every year since 2008, he won the event in 2010, and he took sixth place last year.

In similar fashion to the WPT Prague taking place across the pond, 22 players remained heading into the penultimate day. The big guns were all there, but such is life in poker tournaments, many of them had to hit the rail.

First to go was Joseph Elpayaa (22nd — $31,714), and he was followed by Eddy Sabat (21st — $31,714), Brian Rast (19th — $31,714) and Jeremy Ausmus (18th — $36,593). Then, two former WPT champions in Noah Schwartz and Scott Clements fell. Schwartz was eliminated first, before Clements busted in a double-elimination hand where he and Andrew Robl both had their wings clipped.

During Level 22 with the blinds at 8,000/16,000/2,000, Clements and Robl were all in against big stack Jeremy Kottler. Clements held the {4-Clubs}{4-Hearts}, Robl the {8-Hearts}{8-Clubs} and Kottler the {A-Hearts}{K-Clubs}. The flop, turn and river ran out {A-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{6-Spades}{J-Clubs} to send Clements and Robl home in a tie for 15th place (40,250). It was at that point that Kottler had opened up a big lead on the rest of the field.

After that, Greg Mueller busted in 13th place ($43,912) and Freddy Deeb fell in 12th place ($56,110). Then, following the elimination of Yevgeniy Timoshenko in 11th place ($56,110), the final ten players formed one table. At this point, Esfandiari had taken back the lead with a fairly sizable margin.

Jason Somerville saw his run end in 10th place during Level 25. With the blinds at 15,000/30,000/5,000, Andrew Lichtenberger opened with a raise to 70,000 from late position, and Somerville called from the big blind. The flop came down {K-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{2-Diamonds}, and Somerville check-raised all in for 570,000 after Lichtenberger fired 55,000. After a bit of tanking, Lichtenberger made the call with the {J-Diamonds}{J-Spades}. Somerville held the {8-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds} for a flush draw.

The turn brought the {9-Clubs} to provide even more outs for Somerville as he was now open ended. The river completed the board with the {A-Clubs}, allowing Lichtenberger to dodge all that he needed to and win the pot.

Arthur Morris became the ninth-place finisher ($73,187), then Theo Tran busted in eighth place ($102,461). Following Tran's bustout, just one more player needed to go home before play ceased for the night. That player proved to be 2012 World Series of Poker Europe gold bracelet winner Jonathan Aguiar.

During Level 26 with the blinds up to 20,000/40,000/5,000, Esfandiari raised to 90,000 out of the hijack seat, and Aguiar moved all in on the button. Esfandiari called holding the {8-Spades}{8-Clubs}. He had the upper hand against the at-risk Aguiar's {A-Clubs}{6-Clubs} and was able to hold after a board of {8-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{2-Hearts}{J-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds}. For his finish, Aguiar claimed $143,933 in prize money.

The final six players will return on Sunday for a start time of 1600 PST. There's a massive $1.268 million going to the winner, so be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for the recap of the event.

Data and photo courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.

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