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This Week's Big Winner: Griffin Paul Wins World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

A Hand-By-Hand Breakdown Of Paul’s Huge Score

by Card Player News Team |  Published: May 19, 2015


Heading into the World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, 22-year-old Griffin Paul had just $69,616 in lifetime live tournament earnings. The Calabasas, California native had previously made a deep run in the 2014 WSOP main event and most recently cashed in the 2015 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star main event.

But despite his limited experience, Paul had no problem navigating a massive field of 1,476 players in Hollywood, Florida, picking up his first major live tournament victory and the $1 million payday.

Here’s a look at the five biggest hands that propelled Paul to victory.

The Tournament: WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

Buy-In: $3,500 • No. of Entries: 1,476 • Prize Pool: $5 million • 1st Place Prize: $1 million

The Action

With just 11 players remaining in the tournament, Ely Levy, who was one of the bigger stacks remaining, limped from under the gun. Griffin Paul then raised in the cutoff to 180,000, and Dan Heimiller called from the small blind. Levy also called, and the flop came down 10Spade Suit 7Club Suit 4Heart Suit. Heimiller checked, and Levy bet 400,000. Paul raised to 900,000, and Heimiller folded. Levy called, and the turn was the 9Heart Suit. Levy checked, and Paul moved all in, having Levy covered. Levy called all in for another 3.3 million, revealing QSpade Suit 10Club Suit for top pair. Paul showed pocket queens for the overpair and faded the 10 on the river when the 7Spade Suit hit, giving him more than 10 million in chips.

The Action

At the unofficial final table of ten players, Andre Crooks raised to 180,000 from middle position. David Peters then reraised to 430,000 from the hijack. Griffin Paul was next to act and four-bet to 1.1 million from the cutoff. Crooks folded, and Peters moved all in for a total of 2.1 million. Paul called with ASpade Suit KHeart Suit, but Peters had him in terrible shape with AHeart Suit AClub Suit. According to the Card Player Poker Odds Calculator, Paul was less than 6 percent to win the hand, but the board ran out KDiamond Suit JHeart Suit 3Club Suit KSpade Suit 9Heart Suit to give him the pot and eliminate whom most considered to be the best remaining player in the tournament.

The Action

Griffin Paul went into the televised final table with the chip lead and, after 69 hands, hadn’t really put much more distance between himself and his opponents. Then he min-raised under the gun to 400,000, and Brian Green moved all in on the short stack for 1,950,000 in the small blind. Paul snap called with his pocket jacks and saw he was a big favorite against Green’s ASpade Suit 10Club Suit. The board ran out QHeart Suit 7Club Suit 4Spade Suit 4Club Suit 5Diamond Suit, giving the pot to Paul and giving him some more breathing room over the other three players at the table.

The Action

After Joe Ebanks took out both Shawn Nguyen in fourth and Andre Crooks in third, he had amassed a big chip lead going into heads-up play. Ebanks min-raised on the button to 600,000, and Griffin Paul reraised to 1.8 million. Ebanks then four-bet to 3.5 million. Paul thought it over for a bit before moving all in for 15,425,000, and Ebanks quickly called with pocket sixes. It was a classic race situation for the tournament, as Paul revealed AClub Suit JSpade Suit. The flop came down AHeart Suit QDiamond Suit 9Diamond Suit, catapulting Paul into the lead. Ebanks needed just one of two sixes, or running diamonds in order to take it down, but the turn and river fell 8Spade Suit 2Club Suit to give Paul more than a 2-1 chip advantage in the match.

The Action

With Joe Ebanks down to just 25 big blinds, Griffin Paul limped on the button. Ebanks raised to 1.5 million from the big blind, and Paul called. The flop came down KDiamond Suit JClub Suit 4Heart Suit, and Ebanks continued with a bet of 1 million. Paul then moved all in. Ebanks quickly called with ADiamond Suit JHeart Suit for middle pair, but Paul was well ahead with KClub Suit 9Diamond Suit for top pair. According to the Card Player Poker Odds Calculator, Ebanks was just 22 percent to come from behind and double up. The turn paired the board with the 4Diamond Suit, leaving Ebanks with just five outs in the deck to save his tournament. The river was the 6Spade Suit and Ebanks hit the rail, earning $615,000. Paul collected the pot and his first major title, along with the $1 million first-place prize.

Final Table Tournament Results

1. Griffin Paul — $1,000,000
2. Joe Ebanks — $615,000
3. Andre Crooks — $383,000
4. Shawn Nguyen — $323,500
5. Brian Green — $269,000
6. Ryan Rivers — $217,500
7. Sean Shah — $168,550
8. Dan Heimiller — $123,000
9. John Thrower — $88,500