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World Poker Tour on FSN: Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic — Part II

Antonio Esfandiari

On Sunday, FSN continued its broadcast of the World Poker Tour’s ninth season with Part II of the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, which originally took place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas last December. The event drew 438 entrants and resulted in one of the most stacked final tables in WPT history. The week before, Part I captured the eliminations of Ted Lawson (6th - $126,693), Kirk Morrison (5th - $168,924), and John Racener (4th - $232,271), leaving just Vanessa Rousso, Antonio Esfandiari, and Andrew Robl to do battle.

Here is how the final table looked heading into Part II.

Final Table

Seat 1: Antonio Esfandiari (6,170,000)
Seat 2: Vanessa Rousso (1,775,000)
Seat 3: -empty-
Seat 4: -empty-
Seat 5: -empty-
Seat 6: Andrew Robl (9,710,000)

First Hand: The remaining three players were each looking to capture the WPT title along with the $870,124 first-place prize. In the first hand, with the blinds at 60,000/120,000 with a 15,000 ante, Rousso looked down at {A-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds} and moved all in for 1,760,000 and was called by the {A-Diamonds}{K-Clubs} of Robl.

Rousso was in a tough spot until the flop came down {Q-Spades}{8-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}. She had hit her queen to take the lead and become a 71-percent favorite. Rousso remained stoic and realized it wasn’t over. Sure enough, the {K-Spades} hit the turn and vaulted Robl back in the lead. Rousso needed either one of the two remaining queens to win or a jack to chop heading into the river. Amazingly, the {Q-Hearts} peeled off. “The lady at the table caught a lucky lady on the river,” host Mike Sexton said as the crowd erupted in a mix of celebration and disbelief.

Missed Opportunity: On the next hand, Rousso picked up {A-Hearts}{A-Diamonds} and raised to 300,000 on the button. Robl made the call with {Q-Clubs}{J-Hearts} while Esfandiari got out of the way. When the flop fell {8-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{A-Clubs}, Robl checked, Rousso bet 400,000, and Robl made the call. The {Q-Spades} turn strengthened Robl’s hand, but he was still far behind the set of Rousso. Again Robl checked and Rousso protected her hand by moving all-in. “That’s probably about the only bet that I’m gonna fold to,” Robl said as he tossed his cards in the muck. Luckily for the viewer's pleasure, they got to see what would have come with the WPT WonderCam, which revealed the {7-Clubs}!

Esfandiari Stopped in His Tracks: Robl raised to 300,000 holding {K-Hearts}{10-Hearts} only to be raised to 910,000 by the {A-Spades}{4-Spades} of Esfandiari. Robl came along for the ride and they watched the flop come down {4-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{10-Spades}. Esfandiari didn’t take long to bet 1.6 million, Robl moved all-in, and Esfandiari tanked. Eventually he conceded the hand.

New Chip Leader: On the button, Robl raised to 300,000 with {10-Spades}{5-Spades} and received a call from the {Q-Spades}{10-Clubs} of Rousso in the big blind. The {9-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{2-Clubs} just screamed action, and Rousso quickly checked. Robl fired out 300,000, Rousso check-raised to 800,000, and Robl called, leading to the {7-Diamonds} turn. Rousso immediately moved all in for 2,435,000 and Robl eventually made the call. Rousso just needed to dodge a five to reclaim the chip lead (which she held at the start of the final table), and that is exactly what she did as the {Q-Diamonds} peeled off.

Esfandiari’s Doubles: On the short stack, Esfandiari moved all-in for 2,175,000 from the small blind. Rousso was in the big and made the call after getting a count.

Esfandiari: {K-Hearts}{9-Hearts}
Rousso: {K-Clubs}{8-Clubs}

Esfandiari was in great shape to double to 4,395,000, but the {6-Clubs}{2-Clubs}{K-Diamonds} flop gave Rousso a plethora of outs. The {2-Spades} on the turn gave her some chop-outs to boot, but the {3-Diamonds} river blanked and Esfandiari won the hand, much to his own amusement.

Rousso Eliminated in Third Place: By this time, Rousso had dwindled to just 2,250,000 and moved all-in with {Q-Hearts}{2-Hearts}. Robl folded but Esfandiari looked down at {A-Clubs}{Q-Spades} and made the quick call. Rousso was clearly frustrated and said: “Can’t do much with no cards.” She only had a 27 percent chance of winning, but the board ran out {7-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{3-Spades}{8-Spades}. Rousso was eliminated in third place and took home $358,964.

Robl vs. Esfandiari: The final two players were not only sponsored pros from the same site, they were also good friends. Robl was quick to point out that the last time Esfandiari had won a WPT title, he was still in high school. Indeed, it had been seven years since Esfandiari captured WPT glory, but he had positioned himself to do so in the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, which just happened to be taking place on his birthday!

“It will be the best birthday present ever,” Esfandiari commented before heads-up play began.

Heads-Up Action: The chip counts were fairly close, although Robl held a slight edge. That changed on the first hand of heads-up play when Esfandiari raised to 600,000 with {7-Diamonds}{5-Clubs} and was called by the {A-Hearts}{10-Spades} of Robl, who check-called a bet of 820,000 from his opponent on the {6-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds}{3-Hearts} flop. The {4-Spades} spiked on the turn to complete Esfandiari’s gut-shot straight draw and Robl checked. Esfandiari bet 1.9 million and Robl simply folded, giving up the chip lead in the process.

Final Hand: Esfandiari raised to 800,000 with {K-Clubs}{J-Diamonds} only to have Robl move all-in for 6.25 million with {Q-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}. Esfandiari didn’t even think before making the call and shouting “Ship the cheese,” after his opponent rolled over his cards. Both players were all smiles as Robl jokingly asked Esfandiari if he wanted to chop the money.

The crowd broke out into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” as the {K-Diamonds}{A-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds} came out on the flop. Esfandiari briefly celebrated before realizing his opponent had both a straight and flush draw. It was still pretty much a coin flip until the {6-Clubs} hit the turn, making Robl a 3-1 dog. The {5-Spades} river changed nothing and Robl was eliminated in second place for $549,003. Meanwhile, Esfandiari captured his second WPT title and the $870,124 first-place prize.

Happy birthday to Antonio Esfandiari, indeed!

Past Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic Champions

1Gus Hansen$556,480
2Paul Phillips$1,101,908
3Daniel Negreanu$1,770,218
4Rehne Pedersen$2,078,185
5Joe Hachem$2,207,575
6Eugene Katchalov$2,482,605
7Chino Rheem$1,538,730
8Daniel Alaei$1,428,430
9Antonio Esfandiari$870,124

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