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WPT on FSN $25,000 Championship Part III: Rheem Gets Swagger Back in Season XI Finale

Chino Rheem

On Sunday, Fox Sports Network aired the season finale of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Season XI, which happened to be the third and final part of the $25,000 WPT Championship. The tournament, which originally took place at the Bellagio back in May, attracted 146 entries and created a prize pool of $3,540,500.

In my recap of Part I, I updated you on the WPT Player of the Year Race, offered my Final Table Fashion Report, and highlighted the eliminations of David Peters and Brandon Steven, who were both eliminated by Jonathan Roy in sixth and fifth place, respectively.

In my recap of Part II, I took a look at the WPT Foundation at Tiger Jam, starring Phil Ivey and Tiger Woods, as well as the elimination of Matt Hyman in fourth place.

Here’s how things stacked up at the top of this week’s broadcast:

Season XI WPT $25,000 Championship Final Table

SeatPlayerChip Count
1Jonathan Roy4,980,000 (62 BBs)
3Erick Lindgren3,945,000 (49 BBs)
6Chino Rheem5,680,000 (71 BBs)

Bringing Swagger Back: “I’m in the zone,” chip leader Chino Rheem said. “That rush, that feeling when you’re running hot and just scooping pots deep in a tournament is why I keep playing the game. Yeah, I got my swagger back. I’ve got my swagger back.”

Lindgren Doubles: With the blinds at 50,000/100,000/15,000, Jonathan Roy opened for 2 million in the small blind with the {q-Clubs}{9-Hearts}. He was putting the pressure on Erick Lindgren, who looked down at the {a-Diamonds}{j-Hearts} and called off for 1.76 million.

According to the PokerNews Odds Calculator, Lindgren had a 62.90% chance of surviving the hand while Roy would win 36.67% of the time. The {j-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{5-Clubs} flop paired Lindgren and bumped him up to 83.33%, but the {8-Spades} turn actually dropped his chance of survival down to 75% by giving Roy a double gutshot straight draw to go with his queen, which he’d hit 25% of the time.

Fortunately for Lindgren, this was not one of those times as the harmless {2-Hearts} peeled off on the river. “Hard to kill,” a smiling Lindgren said as he pulled in the pot worth 3.565 million.

Onward and Upward for the Ones to Watch: In the season’s last installment of Ones to Watch, the young pros who had been featured throughout the season were given one last chance to address the poker masses. Here’s what they had to say:

Buckle Up: Rheem looked down at the {A-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds} on the button and raised to 250,000. Roy then made it 670,000 to go with the {8-Hearts}{8-Clubs} in the small blind. Rheem made the call and the flop came down {k-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}.

“Buckle up folks, you’re going to see a lot of fireworks now,” WPT commentator Mike Sexton said. Indeed, Roy bet 620,000 with his set, Rheem called with his pair and flush draw, and the {Q-Hearts} appeared on the turn. Roy bet 1.31 million, Rheem called, and the {3-Diamonds} completed the board on the river. Rheem made his flush and snap-called when Roy moved all in for 2.71 million.

“Wow,” Lindgren said when the cards were tabled. Meanwhile, Rheem’s rail went wild while Roy’s parents seemed shell shocked despite their son earning $421,800 for his third-place finish. Roy would have been the Season XI Player of the Year had he won the event, but since he didn’t that honor went to Matt Salsberg, who earned 2,575 POY Points. Here’s a look at the top six:

Season XI WPT Player of the Year Final Standings

Matt Salsberg
Matt Salsberg

PlacePlayerPOY Points
1Matt Salsberg2,575
2Jonathan Roy2,400
3Paul Volpe2,400
4Paul Klann1,850
5Amir Babakhani1,700
6Ravi Raghavan1,600

A New WPT Champion is Crowned: Rheem, who was going for his second WPT title, began heads-up play with about a 3-to-1 chip lead over Lindgren, who was hoping to add his name to the WPT Champions’ Cup for a third time. The duo jostled back and forth for a bit, but Rheem ultimately used his chip advantage to clinch victory.

In the last hand of the episode, Rheem moved all in from the small blind holding the {k-Diamonds}{9-Clubs} and Lindgren simply shook his head and called off for 2.525 million with the {q-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}.

Erick Lindgren
Erick Lindgren

“Oh no,” Lindgren said upon seeing his kicker was dominated.

“Kind of don’t want you to win this one, buddy,” an honest Rheem told his friend. The {j-Clubs}{a-Clubs}{5-Hearts} flop was as dry as can be, and the {3-Hearts} turn changed nothing. Lindgren needed a queen on the river to stay alive, but it was not in the cards as the {8-Spades} blanked. Rheem shook hands with Lindgren before heading into the throng of arms waiting to embrace him on the rail.

Lindgren, who had his wife by his side, joined Matt Savage on the sideline. “It was a really long time,” Lindgren said about returning to a WPT final table. “It felt awesome to be here. I had so much fun throughout the whole tournament. I feel like I fought really hard and gave 100%. That’s all that I can do.”

“Definitely wasn’t easy. Erick is a great player,” Rheem said as the broadcast came to a close.

We’ll See You Next Season: That concludes the Season XI broadcast of the World Poker Tour on FSN. In 2014, Season XII will begin, and of course PokerNews will bring you weekly recaps on all the episodes.

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

Former WPT $25,000 World Championship Winners

1Alan Goehring$1,011,886
2Martin De Knijff$2,728,356
3Tuan Le$2,856,150
4Joe Bartholdi$3,760,165
5Carlos Mortensen$3,970,415
6David Chiu$3,389,140
7Yevgeniy Timoshenko$2,143,655
8David Williams$1,530,537
9Scott Seiver$1,618,344
10Marvin Rettenmaier$1,196,858
11Chino Rheem$1,150,297

*Pictures courtesy of World Poker Tour.

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