After several long days of preliminary action at the Aspers Casino near London, the latest PartyPoker Premier League champion was crowned late Saturday night. Dan Shak continued his incredible run in 2013 by topping the talented eight-handed final table to earn $450,000. Shak won a long heads-up battle against Sam Trickett, who collected $200,000 for his runner-up finish.
PartyPoker Premier League VI Final Table Results
Shak began the final table third in chips after earning 39 points in the four qualifying heats of Group B. Each finalist received 10,000 in chips for every point earned during the preliminary matches that took place earlier this week. Tobias Reinkemeier led Group B with 46 points and took the chip lead to the final table. He was followed closely by Group A leader Jonathan Duhamel, who sat down with 420,000 in chips.
Among the players who fell short of the final table were Daniel Negreanu, Tony G, Phil Hellmuth, Jason Mercier, Marvin Rettenmaier and Phil Laak.
Here's how the final table stacked up to begin:
Talal Shakerchi was the first player to hit the rail despite building a big stack early at the final table. In the biggest hand of the day up until that point, Antonio Esfandiari was all in for 328,000 with the against Shakerchi's . The better hand held up, leaving Shakerchi with just three big blinds. On the next hand Shakerchi was dealt pocket kings, but was run down by Jennifer Tilly's . In addition to the $56,000 he earned during the preliminary heats (players received $2,000 for each point collected), Shakerchi was awarded $45,000 for his eighth-place finish.
Tilly wasn't able to put Shakerchi's chips to much use as she was the next player eliminated. After losing a crucial preflop confrontation against Trickett (losing to ), Tilly got her last 12,000 in with the against Duhamel's . The flop gave Tilly some hope with a flush draw, but the turn and river left her exiting the event with $60,000 (plus $38,000 earned during the preliminary heats).
Reinkemeier dominated Group B all week, but he couldn't get much going at the final table and eventually fell in sixth place. Reinkemeier, Dan Cates and Duhamel saw a flop of , and Cates let out for 25,000. Reinkemeier moved all in for 185,000, Duhamel cold called, and Cates decided to get out of the way. Reinkemeier tabled the for top pair, but was drawing nearly dead against Duhamel's for a straight. The turn and river weren't enough to save Reinkemeier, and he exited in sixth place with $70,000 (plus $92,000 earned during the preliminary heats).
Cates avoided disaster in that hand, but he didn't last much longer. After Shak opened with a preflop raise, Cates moved all in with the , and Shak called with the . The man known as "Jungleman" was in excellent position to double up until the flop gave Shak a set, leaving Cates in dire shape. The turn and river brought no help to the online cash-game superstar, and he hit the rail in fifth place for $100,000 (plus $68,000 earned during the preliminary heats).
Shak continued his onslaught by sending Duhamel home in fourth place. After losing a big pot with the to Trickett's , Duhamel lost a cooler to Shak for the rest of his stack. Duhamel raised to 40,000 preflop with the , and Shak defended his big blind with the . The flop was checked by both players, but the on the turn sparked fireworks. Shak bet 80,000, Duhamel moved all in, and Shak quickly called with his higher two pair. The on the river eliminated Duhamel with $125,000 in addition to the $84,000 he earned during the Group A qualifiers.
Esfandiari, who earned his seat to the final table by defeating defending champ Scott Seiver in the heads-up qualifying round, was the short stack heading into three-handed play. He wasn't able to gain any ground on the leaders and eventually became the third straight victim of Shak.
Shak opened to 40,000 with the , and Esfandiari moved all in for 324,000 with pocket nines. Shak went into the tank before deciding to call, only to find out that he was in bad shape. The flop kept Esfandiari in control, but Shak picked up some additional outs. The turn brought Esfandiari one step closer to a much-needed double, but the river gave Shak two pair and sent Esfandiari out the door with $150,000 (plus $46,000 earned during the week).
Shak entered heads-up play with a nearly 2-1 chip advantage over Trickett, but the Brit took the lead when he made a bigger flush against Shak. Trickett limped with the on the button, and Shak checked his option with the . The flop came , and Shak check-called a bet from Trickett, bringing the on the turn. Shak check-called again, and the hit the river. Shak checked for a third time and Trickett bet 240,000 into a pot of around 300,000. Shak called with his nine-high flush, but Trickett's nut flush took it down.
Shak battled back with the help of an unconventional play that left Trickett in the tank for several minutes. On a board of , Shak made a huge over-shove of 1,165,000 into a pot of 200,000. The bet was enough to cripple Trickett if he were to lose, and he spent the next 10 minutes deep in thought.
“This is the longest I’ve ever taken over any poker decision in my life," Trickett said.
Trickett opted to call with the for two pair, but Shak had the for a rivered flush. Trickett was left with just 78,000, and he was eliminated on the very next hand, giving Shak the Premier League VI trophy and $450,000.
Shak added his name to impressive list of Premier League champions that includes Juha Helppi, Andy Black, J.C.Tran, David Benyamine and Seiver. With the win, Shak now has more than $1.4 million in tournament earnings already in 2013. He currently sits third in the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race, but his Premier League result will not count toward the standings.
Data and lead photo courtesy of the PartyPoker Blog.