Eddie Ochana nearly snagged back-to-back Chicago Poker Classic Main Event titles, but fellow pro Brian Kleinhenz bested him heads up to take down $274,595 and a $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event seat. Kleinhenz defeated a field of 687 in the $2,000 buy-in tournament, which took place at the Horseshoe in Hammond, Indiana.
Ochana had to settle for $169,595, banking his third top-three finish at the event in the past four years. In addition to last year's win for $217,810, Ochana scored a third-place finish in in 2012 for $108,268.
Final Table Results
The event paid 63 entrants, and a few notable names grabbed payouts as the field whittled down to the nine-handed final table. Among them were Chris Tryba (54th), Jose Serratos (40th), Rob Wazwaz (39th), Mid-States Poker Tour Team Pro Matt Kirby (28th), Michael Hahn (27th), Freddy Hamad (21st), and David Kim (18th).
According to coverage from the tournament, Ochana began the final table in great shape to book a repeat win, holding 106 big blinds for a wide lead over second-place Kleinhenz. Shortly after the elimination of Ken Auker, Kleinhenz picked up a key double through Chicago pro Chris Karambinis when his held against the after the two got it in on a flop in a four-bet pot. That left Karambinis with just 10 big blinds, and he eventually settled for fifth after the eliminations of Steve Nussrallah (eighth), Danny Hannawa (seventh), and Todd "sharkslayerr" Breyfogle (sixth) — the latter courtesy of a cooler with flopped trip queens that were outkicked by Ochana.
When four-handed play began, Ochana had about half of the chips in play, but his lead was short-lived as Kleinhenz was out front just half an hour later after value-betting twice with on a board.
Short stack Alexander Doroshko then busted in fourth after jamming on the button for just over 15 big blinds with the only to have Brad Sailor wake up with the in the big blind and hold.
Sailor then fell third when he ran fours into Kleinhenz's tens. Sailor's cash was his fourth of this year's CPC and his third final table, including a win he booked in one of the $150 nightly tournaments for $3,303.
That set up a heads-up match between the defending champion and the 32-year-old Ohio-based player.
"I wasn't going into it thinking I was outmatched or feeling intimidated at all," Kleinhenz said to event reporter Lukas Willems of his mentality heading into the match. "I just wanted to show up and play my best poker. Whatever happened, happened."
Of course, it helps to hold a nearly 4-1 chip lead over the opponent, as Kleinhenz did.
Some of his lead melted away after taking a beat with all in preflop against the , but Kleinhenz finished the job in Level 33 (100,000/200,000/25,000). That's when Kleinhenz opened for a min-raise on the button and got action from Ochana, with the two seeing a flop. Ochana checked, Kleinhenz bet 450,000, and Ochana made it 1.375 million. Kleinhenz called and then snap-called for the rest when Ochana shoved on the turn. The held by Ochana was good for top pair and a gutshot on the flop, but trailed Kleinhenz's . A river was a brick to secure the title for Kleinhenz.
Kleinhenz came into the tournament with just a few small scores on his résumé, with a cash in last summer's WSOP "Millionaire Maker" event for $3,984 being his biggest. He now has a major live tournament title to complement his cash-game winnings.
"[It's] definitely the biggest score of my life," he said after the win.
*Data and photo courtesy of chicagopokerclassic.wordpress.com.