The 2016 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event concluded on Saturday with James Romero never relinquishing the chip lead he entered the final table with. Romero took down the tournament's top prize of $1,938,118.
Romero, who competed against a tough final table which included Justin Bonomo, Jake Schindler and Igor Yaroshevskyy, was relatively unheard of in live tournament circles prior to his victory. According to The Hendon Mob, the Portland, Oregon native previously only recorded two live tournament cashes for a total of $4,699.
2016 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Final Table Results
*First-prize amount includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.
The tournament established a new WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event record with 791 entrants joining the field, including reentries. The previous record was established almost a decade ago, when in 2007, Ukraine's Eugene Katchalov outlasted a field of 664 entrants to bank $2,482,605, the biggest win of his poker career. The field size also tied the WPT record in $10,000 buy in events with the 2007 WPT L.A. Poker Classic, an event won by Eric Hershler for $2,429,970.
James Romero entered the final table with a significant lead of 9,860,000, or more than double that of Day 4 chip leader Ryan Tosoc, who was in second place with 4,465,000.
It took 59 hands before anyone was eliminated from the tournament. However, a trio of players then hit the rails in quick succession. First to go was Igor Yaroshevskyy in sixth place for $268,545 after he shoved all in for 14 big blinds with ace-ten and was unable to improve against Romero's queens.
Just two hands later, Justin Bonomo hit the showers in fifth place for $345,272, after he three-bet shoved 10 big blinds with pocket fives and received no assistance from the board after Jake Schindler called with sevens.
The next to go was Alex Condon, when three hands later, he shoved 12 big blinds with queen-nine. Romero called with fives and won the flip after the board ran out all blanks to eliminate Condon in fourth place for $494,889.
It wasn't for another two-and-a-half hours before the next elimination took place, when on the 120th hand of the final table, Jake Schindler exited the tournament in third place for $736,579. With blinds at 75,000/150,000 (ante 25,000) Schindler three-bet shoved 4,095,000 with pocket sixes and Romero called with king-jack. Romero spiked a pair on the king-high flop and heads-up play began after blanks appeared on the turn and river.
Romero, who already eliminated three of the four players to be eliminated, entered heads-up play at a seven-to-one chip advantage over his opponent, Tosoc. While Tosoc was able to chip-up a bit early in heads-up play, he found his stack going back down to where it started eventually.
On the 16th hand of heads-up play and the 136th hand of the final table, Tosoc shoved for 13 big blinds with pocket fives. Romero quickly called with kings and etched his name into the WPT history books by shipping the title and the $1,938,118 (including a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions) after Tosoc's hand was unable to improv.
Ryan Tosoc collected the runner-up prize of $1,124,051 to bring his total career live tournament earnings to close to $1.5 million. According to The Hendon Mob, Tosoc's previous biggest prize came just a few months ago. In September he took fourth place as part of a four-way deal in the Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza for $125,523.
The World Poker Tour Season XV resumes in the new year when it heads to Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Jan. 29 to Feb. 3 for the $3,500 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event, which features a $3 million guaranteed prize pool.
*Lead image and data courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com
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