The first ever World Poker Tour stop in the Netherlands reached its conclusion late on Sunday as Niels van Leeuwen came out on top of the WPT National Valkenburg Main Event. Van Leeuwen took home €40,000 after beating some very tough competition at the final table which included some of the Netherlands' best players. The godfather of poker in the Netherlands, Marcel Luske, made a very impressive run before busting out in third place.
WPT National Valkenburg Results
|1||Niels van Leeuwen||€40,000|
|2||Pim van Wieringenl||€28,856|
|5||Joep van den Bijgaart||€10,236|
|8||Danny op t Hof||€5,459|
The third and final day started with Van Leeuwen as the overwhelming chip leader and 16 other hopefuls, but within two levels only 10 remained. Pim van Wieringen was extremely active right away as he knocked out a few players and doubled some up. Jeroen Minnekeer was the first to go followed by Bas van Marwijk, Jeno Marton and Stieven Razab-Sekh.
Peter Gutker fell in 13th place to Van Leeuwen, who was unstoppable for most of the day. Sandro Pitzanti was very unlucky just minutes later when his ace-king could not hold up against Van Leeuwen's ace-seven. The final table was reached when Rolf Weisshaupt busted in a hand where Joep van den Bijgaart more than doubled up through Thomas Brader.
Zeus Post was knocked out in 10th place when his queens were no match against Van Wieringen's ace-queen after Van Wieringen managed to river a straight. One hand later Post was knocked out to Luske's aces, and he was followed to the rail by Timo Hendricks who busted out on the official final table bubble.
Luske came into the final table as one of the short stacks but he managed to triple up at the start to give himself some more breathing room. Danny op t Hof had a better position going into the final table, but he was knocked out in eighth place for €5,459. Just a few hands later it was Van Wieringen who was all in for his tournament life with ace-queen against ace-king for the biggest pot of the tournament, but the board saved him when a straight rolled off. Van Leeuwen could've had half the chips in play with six left, but things didn't go his way yet.
Van Tran busted out in seventh place, and it was none other than Van Leeuwen who took his last chips. After this hand Luske doubled up again through Van Leeuwen, but this only dented the stack of the chip leader just slightly. Thomas Brader finished in sixth place for €8,189 and van den Bijgaart's grind ended in fifth place when he ran ace-nine into Van Leeuwen's ace-king.
One hand after van den Bijgaart's departure it was Ronald Keijzer who hit the rail in fourth place. Keijzer took home €13,843 for his efforts after he also busted out to Van Leeuwen who held pocket kings against ace-ten. After this hand Luske took the lead for a while after playing very aggressively, but it didn't last long. Van Wieringen cracked Luske's aces in the craziest hand of the tournament, and shortly after that Luske hit the rail.
The heads-up battle lasted for quite a while, especially considering the big limits, but in the end it was Van Leeuwen who came out on top. Van Wieringen lost the last hand of the day holding ace-nine against Van Leeuwen's pocket fives. Van Leeuwen was extremely happy with his big €40,000 win, and he'll forever be able to say that he was the first ever World Poker Tour winner in the Netherlands.