British poker pro Ian Frazer was the last man standing after three tough days of PartyPoker Premier League Playoffs. Frazer defeated Mike Sexton and four other members of Team PartyPoker to earn a $100,000 seat in the elite Premier League IV Main Event. He doesn't get much time to celebrate, however, because it begins on Friday at the M Resort in Las Vegas.
Ten of the world's top no-limit hold'em tournament players, including Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu and J.C. Tran, were invited to compete in the PPL Main Event. That left two spots up for grabs during the PPL playoffs. Over the last three days, six Team PartyPoker pros battled each other in four single-table tournaments to determine the winner of one of the seats. Alongside them, 16 PartyPoker online qualifiers played their own series of single-table heats in pursuit of the other open seat.
The pros earned points for their finishes in each of three preliminary heats. The point totals were then used to determine their starting stacks at the final table. Felipe Ramos and Remy Biechel each won a heat on Day 1, and Bodo Sbrzesny took down the third heat on Day 2.
They began the final table with the following stacks:
Felipe Ramos - 400,000
Remy Biechel - 330,000
Bodo Sbrzesny - 320,000
Ian Frazer - 300,000
Mike Sexton - 250,000
Dragan Galic - 200,000
In one of the first big pots of the day, Sexton and Ramos got into a raising war on a jack-high flop. Ramos four-bet shoved and won the game of chicken, giving him the chip lead and leaving Sexton short-stacked. Sexton got it all-in with queen-jack against Remy Biechel's pocket jacks. The board ran out eight-high, and Sexton was the first to hit the rail.
Dragan Galic was Biechel's next victim. Galic was flipping for his tournament life with pocket fives against Biechel's ace-jack. A jack on the flop sealed Galic's fate as the fifth-place finisher. Remy showed no signs of relenting after busting the first two players. Action folded to Felipe Ramos in the small blind, and he shoved with ace-five. The big blind Biechel called all-in with a pair of eights and his hand held, leaving Ramos crippled. Ramos finished in a disappointing fourth-place.
Three-handed, Ian Frazer was the shortest stack, but he managed to grind himself up a few small pots at a time. Frazer then moved all-in with ace-eight, and Bodo Sbrzesny risked his last eight big blinds with pocket twos. Frazer couldn't have asked for a much better flop, hitting two pair. Another ace on the turn had Sbrzesny drawing dead and out in third.
Heads-up play was over almost as soon as it started. Remy Biechel moved all in with pocket nines, and Frazer called with ace-five. An ace on the flop was all Frazer needed to secure the win and lock up a seat in the Premier League IV Main Event.
The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand at the M Resort to cover the PPL action from first heat to final table. Be sure to follow all the coverage. You can also follow the action at the Party Poker Blog.
A special thanks to Marko Saric, the author of the Party Poker Blog