Canadian Frederic Normand Wins WPT bestbet Scramble for $350k
There's a newly minted member of the WPT Champions Club and it is Frederic Normand, winner of the $5,000 buy-in World Poker Tour bestbet Scramble for $351,650.
The Canadian defeated Heng Zhang heads-up to win the title, and it ended in thrilling fashion. On top of the six-figure career-best score, the champion will also receive free entry into the WPT World Championship $40 million guaranteed event next month at Wynn Las Vegas.
Chip Leaders Reach the Finish Line
The final table went almost by chalk. Those who started the day with smaller stacks were early exits, and the two big stacks — Zhang and Normand — lasted until the end. There wasn't much back and forth between the bottom stacks and the big stacks throughout the five-hour session.
Brian Senie, the smallest stack entering the day, was first to go and made a quick exit in sixth place for $70,400. Ian O'Hara, who has over $4.2 million in lifetime live tournament cashes, was second from last in chips heading into the final table, and was second to go ($92,900).
Michael Frierson, a local recreational player who paid just $120 to enter the tournament via a satellite, then busted in fourth place ($123,900) when he jammed ace-queen into Zhang's pocket kings. The elimination allowed Toby Boas to ladder up to third place and $166,800.
That set up heads-up play between two of the best players at the table, whom also began the day with the two largest stacks. It was clear from the start that the heads-up match would be long as both players were over 80 big blinds and fairly close in chips.
On the 110th hand at the final table, Normand raised in position to 400,000 with A♠4♥. The big blind made the call with 10♦6♦ to see a flop of 8♣7♦5♠ and both players checked. When the A♦ appeared on the turn, Zhang again checked, and then check-raised his straight draw from 750,000 to all in for 4,675,000.
With top pair and the WPT Champions Club in sight, Normand made the call and then celebrated when the 6♥ on the river was a brick. The skilled poker players, both accomplished in tournament play prior to the WPT bestbet Scramble beginning, shook hands and Zhang, who received $226,700 as a consolation prize, congratulated his opponent.
Final Table Results
"It feels surreal,' Normand told the media following his career-defining win. "With tournament variance, it's hard to win in the end. I feel very grateful."
Normand, who said he didn't have a single losing level throughout the entire four-day tournament, now has over $1.1 million in The Hendon Mob results.
"I just felt he had more combo draws, I didn't feel he had ace-x," Normand said of his decision to call the turn bet on the final hand. "I think if he did have two pair or better, he would let me bluff."
After winning life-changing money, what does the champion have planned for this evening to celebrate?
"I have laundry to do," he joked.
Normand said he'll attend the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Paradise series in the Bahamas next month before traveling to Las Vegas for the WPT World Championship.
*Images courtesy of WPT/Drew Amato