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WPT on FSN L.A. Poker Classic Part III: PokerNews' Ryan Spot on w/ Volpe Prediction

Rich Ryan w/ Paul Volpe

On Sunday, the third and final part of the World Poker Tour Season XI L.A. Poker Classic was aired on Fox Sports Network. The $10,000 Main Event, which drew 517 entries to the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles back in February, was down to the final four players, and all had their eyes fixed on the $1,004,090 first-place prize.

In our recap of Part I, we brought you the elimination of Toby Lewis and introduced you to high-stakes cash-game specialist Danny Fuhs, who won his first gold bracelet at the 2013 World Series of Poker. In Part II, we highlighted Fuhs elimination of David Fong and the Ones to Watch Old-School-Versus-New-School Challenge.

Here’s how things stacked up at the top of the Part III broadcast:

WPT Season XI L.A. Poker Classic Final Table

1Paul Volpe2,095,000
2Paul Klann4,995,000
3Danny Fuhs4,555,000
5Jesse Yaginuma3,860,000

What’s it Like: To be Paul Volpe, well, it must be a nice thing. The man already has $1,609,316 in 2013 winnings, and the year is only half over! I can’t say that is too surprising—my PokerNews colleague Rich Ryan predicted it after all—but it’s hard to imagine someone running so well. That was evidenced by the first hand of this week’s broadcast in which Volpe doubled with a flopped king-high flush through Jesse Yaginuma, who flopped an inferior queen-high flush.

The Downward Spiral: After doubling Volpe, Fuhs was left with a paltry stack of 525,000. He moved all in from the button holding the {q-Clubs}{9-Spades} and surprise, surprise, Volpe came over the top from the small blind with the {k-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}. Paul Klann folded the big blind, and according to the PokerNews Odds Calculator, Volpe was a 63.32% favorite to win the hand. That meant Fuhs’ chances of survival were 36.08%, but that dropped a bit to 29.29% on the uneventful {6-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{4-Clubs} flop. The {A-Hearts} turn further knocked it down to 13.64%, while the {7-Hearts} river sent him home in fourth place for $316,650.

“I think it was kind of our of my control,” Fuhs said in his post-elimination interview with sideline reporter Matt Savage. “I had a key hand after I got the chip lead. I raised with two kings and guy min-reraised me on the button. So I had him right where I wanted him and you can’t control what card comes off on the turn unfortunately. So that was that hand that kind of started the downward spiral.”

Yaginuma Gone in Third: A couple of hands later, Volpe opened for 400,000 on the button with the {a-Clubs}{10-Spades} and then snap-called when Yaginuma moved all in for 2.475 million from the big blind with the {q-Clubs}{j-Spades}. Both men went to their respective rails to watch the cards come out on the overhanging TV screens, and neither reacted to the {4-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{9-Diamonds} flop. The {7-Hearts} turn brought a little grimace to Yaginuma’s face while Volpe sat cross-armed. The {3-Spades} river inspired some cheers from Volpe’s contingent while Yaginuma exited in third place to a nice round of applause. He took home $429,810 for his performance.

Jesse Yaginuma
Jesse Yaginuma

Battle of the Pauls: Paul Volpe began heads-up play with 9.125 million in chips to Paul Klann’s 6.375. Despite all the chip-lead changes, the two men who began the final table first and second in chips made it to heads-up play to battle it out.

Klann Takes the Lead: Klann took a big-bet poker approach and it seemed to work for a while as he soon took over the chip lead. Unfortunately for Klann, he then doubled Volpe, who took a 5-1-chip lead. Tony Dunst then took to his popular segment, The Raw Deal, to break down the heads-up battle up to that point.

“He learns on the fly and he continues to adjust to his opponent’s style,” Dunst said of Volpe. “I imagine Volpe was surprised by the degree of Klann’s aggression as well, so the adjustment he made was to refrain from committing a bunch of chips until he could withstand that aggression. People often think that being the best player at the table means being the most aggressive player on the table, but sometimes a pro knows tight is right.”

What a Call: After Klann received one double to reduce Volpe’s chip lead back to 3-2, a massive hand developed that ultimately determined the both players’ fates. It began when Klann opened for 600,000 holding the {k-Clubs}{10-Diamonds} and Volpe moved all in with the {j-Hearts}{9-Hearts}. Klann looked at his opponent with suspicion in his eyes and then called off for 6.5 million.

“What a call by Paul Klann here with just a king-ten offsuit,” Mike Sexton exclaimed in surprise. “That’s incredible, Vince. That’s six million dollars more the guy called with a king-ten offsuit for his tournament life!”

“It’s the call of the tournament,” Vince Van Patten added. Indeed it was, especially after the board ran out {3-Spades}{4-Hearts}{2-Clubs}{q-Hearts}{6-Diamonds}. Klann celebrated with his rail, which included his wife and father, while Volpe watched the vast majority of his chips shipped to his opponent.

On the very next hand, Volpe shipped his last 2.35 million with the {10-Hearts}{9-Spades} and was called by Klann, who held the {q-Hearts}{5-Hearts}. “That’s a good sweat,” Volpe said when the flop fell {8-Clubs}{4-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}. He did flop an open-ended straight draw, but he wouldn’t catch as the {2-Hearts} appeared on the turn followed by the {a-Spades} on the river.

Klann and Volpe shook hands and then the former player joined Sexton for his winner’s interview.

“My plan was to be a lot more aggressive. I laid back earlier. When we got to heads up I really wanted to push it and be a lot more aggressive and it worked out.”

Paul Klann after the win.
Paul Klann after the win.

Tune in Next Week: The first part of the Bay 101 Shooting Star is set to air on Sunday, June 30 on FSN, so be sure to check your local listings. If by chance you miss it, check back next week for the latest recap of all the action here on PokerNews.

Who will be the next player to add his name to this prestigious list of champions?

Past WPT L.A. Poker Classic Champions

1Gus Hansen136$532,490
2Antonio Esfandiari382$1,399,135
3Michael Mizrachi538$1,859,909
4Alan Goehring692$2,391,550
5Eric Hershler791$2,429,970
6Phil Ivey665$1,596,100
7Cornel Andrew Cimpan696$1,686,760
8Andras Koroknai745$1,788,001
9Greg Brooks681$1,654,120
10Sean Jazayeri549$1,370,240
11Paul Klann517$1,004,090

*Pictures courtesy of World Poker Tour.

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