The world's most celebrated online poker tournament player finally got the monkey off his back on the live circuit.
British poker legend Chris Moorman won the 2014 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic early Friday morning, defeating Glenn Lafaye heads-up for the $1 million top prize and the first major live tournament title of his illustrious career. Moorman had previously reached major final tables at the World Series of Poker, WSOP Europe, European Poker Tour and Aussie Millions, but failed to close the deal until this week's event at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.
With the victory, Moorman now has close to $4 million in live tournament winnings to go along with the $11 million he's accrued on the virtual felt according to PocketFives.com.
WPT L.A. Poker Classic Final Table Results
Moorman was second in chips when the final table began, with fellow pro Michael Rocco holding a sizable lead over the rest of the field. While Moorman was the most active player early on, winning six of the first nine hands, it was the amateur Lafaye who drew first blood at the final table. According to the WPT Live Updates, Lafaye raised to 105,000 from middle position (blinds 20,000/40,000/5,000), and 32-year-old poker pro Adam Friedman moved all in from the cutoff for 550,000. Action folded back around to Lafaye, who went into the tank for two minutes before electing to call with the . Friedman was flipping with his , but his pair was unable to hold up through the board. Friedman exited in sixth place for $200,440.
Day 4 chip leader Josh Neufeld was the next to go after losing a preflop confrontation to Moorman. Neufeld raised to 110,000 (blinds 25,000/50,000/5,000) from the cutoff, and Moorman three-bet to 280,000 from the big blind. Neufeld moved all in for 1,630,000, and Moorman called instantly.
Neufeld was in bade shape, and the runout provided no help. Neufeld hit the rail in fifth place with $264,520, and Moorman suddenly held a sizable chip advantage.
The lead shifted several times over the next 70 hands, with Rocco, Lafaye and Moorman each holding the top spot after a barrage of double-ups — many through Moorman. Then, on Hand #112 of the final table, Moorman regained momentum by eliminating Patrick Bruel in fourth place. Moorman opened to 215,000 (blinds 50,000/100,000/15,000) from the button, and Bruel (small blind) and Lafaye (big blind) called. The flop rolled out and the action checked to Moorman, who bet 265,000. Bruel then check-raised all in for 1,705,000, and Lafaye got out of the way. Moorman called and found out he was in great shape.
The on the turn gave Bruel a flush draw, but Moorman's flush draw was better. The French actor/singer/poker player came up empty on the river and he walked away with $332,190 for fourth place. That left three players vying for the $1 million top prize.
Moorman took a big hit when he lost a 6.6 million-chip pot to Lafaye on Hand #126, but he rebounded again three hands later when he won a memorable three-way all in which resulted in the elimination of Rocco. It was a hand that won't soon be forgotten on the WPT.
Lafaye raised to 325,000 (blinds 60,000/120,000/20,000) from the button, and Rocco moved all in from the small blind for 2,020,000. Moorman then re-shoved for 2,835,000 from the big blind, and Lafaye called, putting both of his opponents at risk and potentially bringing an end to the tournament.
According to the PokerNews Odds Calculator, Moorman was a slight favorite to win the entire pot (38%), but Lafaye (37%) and Rocco (25%) weren't far behind. The flop rolled out , giving Lafaye two pair and a 66% chance to win the tournament right there. Moorman and Rocco were drawing to straight draws.
The on the turn increased Lafaye's lead to 79%, but the stunning landed on the river, and Moorman's rail exploded upon the sight of his Broadway straight. Rocco was eliminated, setting up a heads-up match between Moorman (7,750,000 in chips) and Lafaye (8,270,000).
Moorman took the lead on the first hand of the heads-up match and never relinquished it again. He efficiently grinded Lafaye's stack down to 20 big blinds before finally putting the amateur away on Hand #164. Lafaye limped his button for 200,000 and Moorman raised to 600,000. Lafaye called, and the flop rolled out . Moorman led out for 525,000, Lafaye jammed his last 3,900,000 into the pot, and Moorman snap-called. The Brit tabled the and was well ahead of Lafaye's for a straight draw.
The Brit was two cards away from his first major victory, and fate was finally in his favor this time as the turn and river secured his WPT L.A. Poker Classic title. Moorman collected $1,015,460, which includes a $15,400 seat at the WPT Championship at Borgata later this year.
The World Poker Tour will travel to north to San Jose, Calif. next week for the always-popular Bay 101 Shooting Star. The tournament runs from March 10 through 14, and you can catch all of the recaps here at PokerNews.com.
Photos and data courtesy of the WPT