Nabil Hirezi Wins WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open; James Calderaro Denied Second Title
On the 59th hand of heads-up play in the WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open, Nabil Hirezi and James Calderaro flipped for nearly 90% of the chips in play. Calderaro was at risk with the and flopped a king, but Hirezi spiked a set of tens with the on the river, winning the tournament.
Hirezi earned $206,041, which includes a $15,400 seat for the WPT World Championship next month in Atlantic City, for navigating his way through a field of 258 entries. Hirezi also denied Calderaro a second trip to the WPT Champions Club this season. Calderaro, who earned $133,764 for his efforts, won the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open in February.
WPT Season VII Player of the Year Faraz Jaka was the first player to exit from the final table, taking home $38,241.
WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open Results
Jaka bowed out on the second hand of the day. According to the WPT Live Updates Team, Jaka five-bet all in for 539,000 with the in Level 23 (10,000/20,000/3,000). Peter Le, the four-bettor, snap-called with the . Le improved to a set of aces on a flop of , and held as the turn and river bricked off with the and , respectively.
Roughly 90 minutes and 35 hands later, WPT Champions Club member Jordan Cristos busted in fifth place. Cristos took a flop of with Hirezi and Le, and Cristos fired out 54,000. Only Hirezi called. The turn was the , both players checked, and the completed the board. Hirezi led out for 105,000, Cristos raised to 325,000, and Hirezi moved all in for effectively 786,000. Cristos called, then mucked when Hirezi showed the for the wheel.
With the knockout, Hirezi pushed his stack above 4.5 million, giving him nearly 60 percent of the chips in play. He dipped below four million chips not too long after, doubling up Brian Green on Hand #65, but retained the chip lead until the start of heads-up play.
Peter Le was crippled down to two big blinds in Level 25 (15,000/30,000/5,000), running into a straight from Calderaro, and was eliminated shortly thereafter. Le pushed his very short stack into the middle from under the gun, and both Green and Hirezi called. Green bet out Hirezi on a flop of , showing the for a set of fours, and Le tabled the for a pair of sixes. Le was drawing dead when the turn brought the , and a meaningless completed the board.
After sitting second-fiddle to Hirezi for the entire day, Calderaro assumed the chip lead on Hand #85, eliminating Green in third place. With the blinds at 15,000/30,000 with a 5,000 ante, Calderaro raised to 75,000 on the button. Green three-bet to 250,000, Calderaro called, and Green moved all in for roughly 880,000 on a flop of . Calderaro called with the for top two pair, and Green needed to improve with the .
The on the turn gave Green four more outs to make a queen-high straight, but unfortunately for him the river was a , and he was off to collect $86,043 from the cage.
Calderaro started heads-up play with 4.090 million chips to Hirezi’s 3.66 million, but Hirezi regained the lead on the very first hand. With the blinds at the same level, Hirezi called a preflop raise of 95,000 and led out for 105,000 on a flop of . Calderaro raised to 305,000, Hirezi called, and the turn was the . Hirezi checked, Calderaro fired out 325,000, and Hirezi moved all in for 3.225 million. Calderaro folded.
Hirezi immediately started to pull away, chipping up above five million, and although Calderaro won a two-million chip pot on Hand #116, he was never able to regain the lead. On the final hand, Calderaro limped in on the button, Hirezi raised to three times the big blind, making it 150,000 to go, and Calderaro back-raised to 550,000. Hirezi moved all in for effectively 3.395 million, and Calderaro snap-called.
Calderaro took the lead in the race on a flop of , and the turn was the , giving Hirezi nine outs to chop the pot with a flush on board. The river was not a heart, but the gave Hirezi a set of tens, the best hand, and the title.
Congratulations to Hirezi for joining the WPT Champions Club and locking up a seat in the WPT World Championship in April. The penultimate WPT Main Event will kick off at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on April 10, and PokerNews will bring you daily recaps of the action.
Photo and data courtesy of the WPT Live Blog