On Wednesday, after four days of battle at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, California, the final six players returned for Day 5 of the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker. Josh Hale held a commanding chip lead with over 7.3 million chips. His closest competitor, Greg Mueller, began the day with almost 3.5 million chips.
WPT Legends of Poker Final Table
According to the World Poker Tour Live Updates team, on the 20th hand of the final table, the action folded to Max Steinberg, who called out of the small blind. Jeff Madsen, commanding the shortest stack at the table, moved all in from the big blind. Steinberg called with , dominating Madsen's . Then the flop, turn and river came , eliminating Madsen in sixth place with $75,400.
On Hand #56, the third hand of Level 30 (50,000/100,000/10,000), Mueller moved all in from under the gun for around 2 million. Action folded to Steinberg in the small blind and he tanked before reshoving all in. Raouf Malek surrendered his big blind and the hands were opened to a classic race situation with Mueller's slightly ahead of Steinberg's , and the flop kept Mueller in the lead. The turned, however, giving Steinberg a better pair and the completed the board. Mueller was eliminated in fifth place, taking home $97,100.
Four hands later, Malek doubled through Ali Eslami, leaving Eslami with just 120,000 chips (less than two big blinds). The action started when Hale raised to 210,000 from under the gun. Eslami called on the button, and Malek moved all in for 2.4 million from the big blind. Hale folded, and Eslami tank-called. Eslami's was dominated by Malek's , and the board ran out .
Miraculously, in the next six hands, Eslami doubled, tripled, then doubled again, rocketing his stack up to over 1.5 million chips. On the seventh hand after being crippled, Eslami effectively three-bet jammed (he left one chip behind as a card protector) over a raise from Malek and a call from Hale. Malek tank-folded, Hale quickly called, and Eslami's were way ahead of Hale's . The board came , and suddenly Eslami was back up to 3.4 million chips (34 big blinds).
Hale, who had been dominating, dropped to 6.5 million chips, and on the 74th hand lost another sizable pot to Eslami. For the first time at the final table, Hale was not the chip leader.
Hale's stack continued to drop, and he was even all-in and at risk on Hand #87 against Malek. Hale's out-raced Malek's as the board came , giving Hale the chip lead once again. Malek was now up against the ropes, but then he tripled up through Hale and Eslami two hands later when both players held kings! Malek's was of course trailing, but he spiked an ace on the turn to stay alive.
Finally, nearly 40 hands after Mueller was eliminated in fifth place, Eslami bowed out in fourth. Hale limped the button with the blinds at 60,000/120,000/20,000, and Eslami moved all in from the small blind. Steinberg asked for a count, then reshoved from the big blind. Hale folded. It was another race with Eslami holding and Steinberg . There was a king on the flop, giving Steinberg a commanding lead, and the turn and river came , , respectively. Eslami was eliminated but earned $133,700 for his efforts.
Malek, Hale, and Steinberg battled back and forth three handed, but Steinberg maintained the chip lead throughout. On Hand #119, Malek opened to 300,000 on the button, and Steinberg defended his big blind. The flop was , Steinberg checked, and Malek continued for 325,000. Steinberg called. The turn was the , and both players checked. The completed the board, and Steinberg led out for 900,000. Malek raised to 3 million, and Steinberg moved all in. Malek called with for a king-high straight, but Steinberg turned over for Broadway, eliminating Malek in third place ($192,400).
Heads Up Chip Counts
On the 13th hand of heads-up play, after chipping up a bit, Hale received a monster double-up. The blinds were 100,000/200,000/25,000 when Steinberg raised to 500,000 on the button. Hale called, and the flop came . Hale checked, Steinberg fired 550,000, and Hale moved all in for just under 5 million. Steinberg called with for tens and sixes, and Hale showed for a naked flush draw. The turn was red, but the was no help to Hale. The spiked on the river however, and Hale took down the pot with a flush, taking a near two-to-one chip lead.
Hale never looked back, and on Hand #145, it was all over. Hale raised to 550,000 with the blinds at 125,000/250,000/25,000. Steinberg quickly moved all in for 3.25 million, and Hale snapped it off. Hale tabled , and Steinberg showed . The board ran out , and Hale was the champion of the 2012 WPT Legends of Poker.
WPT Legends of Poker Final Table Payouts
|3||Raouf Malek||$192, 400|
Along with a half million dollars, Hale has earned a seat in the 2013 WPT World Championship. This concludes PokerNews' recap coverage from the WPT Legends of Poker. We'll see you next time at the Aviation Club in Paris, France.
Photo and data courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.