World Poker Tour: Art Papazyan Wins Second WPT Title of Season
Art Papazyan may not be a name known to poker fans everywhere, but the remarkable speed with which he joined the two-time World Poker Tour champions club suggests that might soon be changing.
Just about a month after he won WPT Legends of Poker for $668,692, Papazyan defeated a field of 561 to win WPT Maryland Live! for $389,405.
According to the WPT, Papazyan is the 26th two-time champion in the tour's venerable history and the eighth to accomplish the feat in a single season.
Papazyan also jumps out to a big lead in the WPT Player of the Year race with double the points of his nearest competitors. Just last year, Ben Zamani got fifth in the very same event to all but seal the honors. Papazyan is well on his way to doing the same, as it will take a very strong performance to catch him.
Official Final Table Results
WPT Maryland Live! Main Event featured two starting flights and carried an ambitious $2 million guarantee. The 561 entries caused it to fall about $150,000 short of that total, so players got some added value for their money. Some players who banked on that value but did not make the final table included Darren Elias, Sam Grafton, Dan Heimiller, Aaron Mermelstein, Andrew Brokos, Ari Engel, Christian Harder and Papazyan's fellow Legends final table competitor DJ Alexander, profiled here by PokerNews.
Matt Glantz and Zachary Gruneberg were the two players to bubble the unofficial final table of nine, the former losing a race and the latter the victim of a mild beat when his lost to Phong "VIP" Nguyen's all in preflop.
Papazyan and Nguyen then played a big pot on a flop with Nguyen jamming for about 17 big blinds holding for a flush draw. Papazyan had the big blind special though for a pair and a couple of blockers, and the turn and river kept him best.
After Kenny Nguyen and Joshua Gordon busted in eighth and then seventh, respectively, the official final table was set and players bagged for the final day with Tom Reynolds leading and Papazyan in third with just under 3 million at 25,000/50,000/5,000.
Final Table Action
Timothy Chang took a brutal beat just 15 hands in when the final day began. He shoved for about 1.5 million over an open from Papazyan while holding and had to be pleased when he got a call from Reynolds who was dominated with . The board rolled out safe for Chang until the fell on the river and that was it for Chang.
Following a couple of failed bluffs, Papazyan found himself under 15 big blinds and shoving all in with on the button. Grigoriy Shvarts found in the blinds and put Papazyan at risk. The deck bailed Papazyan out as he ran a flush to survive.
Papazyan followed that by getting a friendly flop when he defended big blind with against the of Shvarts. The money went in on a brick turn and Papazyan held to reduce Shvarts under 10 big blinds, leading to a fifth-place elimination for the unfortunate Shvarts.
With blinds up to 40,000/80,000/10,000, Zachary Donovan opened for a raise to 180,000 and Papazyan three-bet to 600,000 in the small blind. Randal Heeb made it 1,580,000, and Papazyan called. The last 3 million went in on the flop when Heeb shoved, but his tens were no match for Papazyan's aces.
That gave Papazyan about 9.5 million of the 16.5 million or so in play. Donovan was able to close the gap to less than 2-1 when he eliminated Reynolds, the latter shoving a board of with and running into Donovan's .
The heads-up war would last almost two hours after Donovan found an early double when he shoved with deuces and Papazyan called with and bricked. Papazyan would wear his foe back down and then get dealt when Donovan shoved about 18 big blinds on the button with . A jack-high board later, Papazyan locked up his second WPT in less than two months.
Photo courtesy of WPT