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Lubys Zanas Crowned 2016 WPT National London Champion

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  • Lubys Zanas topped a field of 576 in the WPT National London Main Event to secure a £21,500 payday

Aspers Casino in Stratford, London, played host to the partypoker World Poker Tour National London festival this weekend, and it was Lubys Zanas who walked away with the £100,000 accumulator Main Event title, a result worth £21,500, after outlasting 566 opponents.

2016 WPT National London Final Table Results

1Lubys Zanas£21,500
2Mo Zahour£15,000
3Steve O’Keefe£9,640
4Xuan Nguyen£7,140
5Davia Baruskaite£5,375
6Paul Newland£4,300
7Sam Macdonald£3,570
8Edgar Drozdov£2,855
9Chris Kadji£2,140

Only 20 players navigated their way through three starting flights and one Day 2 to reach the final day’s play. Zanas went into Day 3 with 998,000 in chips, which were enough to see him sit down with his name in third place in the chip counts.

By the time the nine-handed final table was set, Zanas had improved his chip stack to a healthy 1.275 million, but now trailed Sam Macdonald and the two big stacks in Steve O'Keefe and Edgar Drozdov.

It didn’t take long for the first finalist to bust and head to the cashier's desk. Xuan Nguyen opened from the hijack with the {K-Spades}{K-Diamonds} and quickly called when Chris Kadji three-bet all-in for 15 big blinds with the {10-Clubs}{10-Spades}. Kadji spiked a ten on the {9-Clubs}{k-Clubs}{10-Hearts} flop, but Nguyen also improved to a set to keep the lead. The {5-Hearts} turn and {8-Spades} river failed to rescue Kadji and he bust in ninth place.

Despite sitting at the final table second in chips, Edgar Drozdov was the eighth place finisher. Daiva Baruskaite raised to 110,000 from under the gun and Dozdov called from the next seat along. Baruskaite continued with a 225,000 bet on the {j-Spades}{7-Spades}{5-Spades} flop then called when Drozdov raised all in for 750,000. Drozdov flipped over the {A-Hearts}{J-Clubs} for a pair of jacks, which were crushed by the {Q-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds} of Baruskaite. The {Q-Spades} turn gave Drozdov some outs to a chop, but the {5-Clubs} river only improved Baruskaite, meaning Drozdov’s tournament ended.

The dangerous Sam Macdonald was the next to fall after a battle of the blinds with Zanas didn’t go to plan. Zanas, in the small blind, set Macdonald all-in with {10-Spades}{6-Spades} and Macdonald called with {K-Clubs}{8-Hearts} only to see the five community cards fall {6-Clubs}{2-Spades}{10-Hearts}{7-Spades}{a-Spades} to resign him to seventh place prize money.

To win poker tournaments, it is often said that players need to win their coinflips, which is something Paul Newland couldn’t do against Mo Zahour. With blinds at 40,000/80,000/10,000a, Newland moved all-in for 755,000 with {A-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}, and Zahour looked him up from the big blind with the {9-Spades}{9-Hearts}. The nines of Zahour remained the best hand on the {8-Spades}{7-Spades}{4-Clubs} flop, with the {9-Clubs} turn locking up the hand for him. Newland paired his ace on the {A-Clubs} river, although it was a case of too little too late, and the tournament was left with only five players in contention for the £21,500 first place prize.

Those five became four with the elimination of the popular Baruskaite. Known as “The Baltic Blond,” Baruskatie raised to 250,000 on the button, a raise called by Zanas in the small blind. On the {8-Spades}{a-Clubs}{3-Hearts} flop, Zanas checked, Baruskaite continued with a 250,000 bet, Zanas check-raised all-in, and Baruskaite called.

Baruskaite showed {A-Diamonds}{K-Clubs}, which had been outdrawn on the flop by the {A-Hearts}{8-Hearts} on Zanas’ hand. A turn and river reading {4-Clubs} and {3-Spades} sent Baruskaite to the sidelines, much to the disappointment of her fans on the rail.

The last standing female player was eliminated slightly later into proceedings, again by Zanas. Xuan Nguyen was short stacked and got her chips into the middle from the button while holding {Q-Spades}{3-Spades}. Zanas called from the big blind with {8-Hearts}{6-Hearts} and was rewarded with a board reading {Q-Clubs}{4-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{6-Clubs}{Q-Hearts}.

Three-handed play ended with the exit of Steve O'Keefe, who suffered death by quads. O’Keefe open-shoved with {10-Clubs}{9-Hearts} and Zahour called with {J-Spades}{8-Spades}. The {6-Diamonds}{J-Hearts}{9-Clubs} flop saw both players catch a piece, but the {J-Clubs} turn and {J-Diamonds} river gifted Zahour four-of-a-kind jacks, sending the tie into the heads-up stage.

It only took a couple of hands for the champion to be decided. Zahour found himself with less than 10 big blinds at the 100,000/200,000 level so pushed all-in with what turned out to be {8-Hearts}{4-Hearts}. Zanas made a loose call with {10-Hearts}{4-Clubs} to find himself ahead. That ten-kicker came into play after the five community cards fell {2-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}{Q-Spades}{Q-Clubs}{7-Spades}, busting Zahour in second place and leaving Zanas to claim the title of 2016 WPT National London champion.

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