Poker Coverage:

WPT -- Antonio Esfandiari Wins Five Diamond World Poker Classic

Esfandiari Takes Home the Top Prize Worth $870,124 and his Second WPT Title


Antonio Esfandiari WinsThe World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic has developed a habit of closing out the year on a strong note. Last year the final table featured six top professionals and produced a marquee champion in Daniel Alaei. This year was no different, with six top professionals making the final table from a field of 438 players, and a marquee champion emerging to win his second WPT title and $870,124 in prize money by the end of a long night that ran into the morning.

Ted Lawson fell quickly in sixth place to start the final day of the tournament, busting on the second hand of play for the evening. It was quite some time before the next elimination, with Kirk Morrison falling in fifth place just before the final table was 50 hands into the day. Recent World Series of Poker main event runner-up John Racener busted relatively quickly after that in fourth place, but then a long, long battle set in between the final three.

Vanessa Rousso was looking to become the first female champion of an open buy-in WPT event and things were looking good for her coming into the day as the final-table chip leader. But the lengthy battle for third proved to be Rousso’s undoing. She busted out a little after midnight in third place to set up a final heads-up match between Andrew Robl, who was looking for his first WPT title, and Antonio Esfandiari, who was looking for his second.

In the end Esfandiari did secure his second WPT victory while Robl scored the runner-up finish. The Magician’s first WPT was won at the L.A. Poker Classic in 2004. The final hand came just after 3 a.m. and despite the lateness of the hour there was still a lively crowd present to celebrate the victory. Esfandiari took home close to a million for the victory, and he grew his lifetime earnings to $4,240,859.

Here is a look at the chip counts at the start of play tonight:

Seat 1 — Antonio Esfandiari — 2,105,000
Seat 2 — Vanessa Rousso — 5,830,000
Seat 3 — Ted Lawson — 635,000
Seat 4 — John Racener — 3,235,000
Seat 5 — Kirk Morrison — 2,650,000
Seat 6 — Andrew Robl — 3,210,000

Here are the elimination hands from the final table as featured in Card Player’s live coverage of the final table:

Ted LawsonTed Lawson Eliminated in Sixth Place ($126,693)

What a way to start the final table!

On the second hand of play, Vanessa Rousso raised to 125,000 from under the gun and Ted Lawson moved all in behind her for 615,000.

Rousso instantly called with QClub Suit QHeart Suit and Lawson was in major trouble holding 9Club Suit 9Spade Suit. The crowd monitors were not yet turned on, but Lawson’s supporters knew he had spiked a nine on the JSpade Suit 9Diamond Suit 2Club Suit flop when he gave a fist pump and let out a loud “Ya Mon!”

Rousso then turned towards her supporters with a sad look on her face, but that frown turned upside down when the QSpade Suit peeled off on the turn.

The river was the KHeart Suit and Lawson graciously exited, earning $126,693 for his efforts here at Bellagio.

Kirk MorrisonKirk Morrison Eliminated in Fifth Place ($168,924)

John Racener raised to 255,000 and Kirk Morrison called from the button. Andrew Robl came along in the small blind and the flop fell AHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 5Club Suit.

Robl and Racener checked to Morrison, who bet 225,000. Robl raised to 550,000 and Racener folded.

Morrison called and the turn was the 9Spade Suit. Robl moved all in and Morrison reluctantly called all in holding ASpade Suit JHeart Suit. Robl showed pocket fives for a set and Morrison was drawing dead.

The meaningless river was the 10Spade Suit and Morrison was eliminated, earning $168,924 for his finish. Robl now has over 8 million in chips.

John RacenerJohn Racener Eliminated in Fourth Place ($232,271)

John Racener moved all in from under the gun for his last 1,005,000 and Antonio Esfandiari made the call from the small blind.

Racener showed QClub Suit 8Club Suit, but was dominated by Esfandiari’s KClub Suit QHeart Suit. The board fell KHeart Suit 6Club Suit 3Spade Suit 7Heart Suit 8Heart Suit and Racener was eliminated, banking $232,271.

Vanessa RoussoVanessa Rousso Eliminated in Third Place ($358,964)

Vanessa Rousso moved all in for her last 1.95 million from the button and Antonio Esfandiari made the call from the big blind.

Rousso showed QHeart Suit 2Heart Suit, but she was in bad shape against Esfandiari’s AClub Suit QSpade Suit. The board ran out 7Diamond Suit 6Heart Suit 5Club Suit 3Spade Suit 8Spade Suit and Rousso was eliminated.

Andrew Robl Eliminated in Second Place ($549,003)

Andrew RoblAntonio Esfandiari raised to 800,000 and Andrew Robl quickly moved all in. Esfandiari instantly called with KClub Suit JDiamond Suit and was excited to see that he was ahead of Robl’s QDiamond Suit 10Club Suit.

The flop came ADiamond Suit KDiamond Suit 6Diamond Suit and Esfandiari retained the lead. Robl could catch any jack or diamond to win, but the turn and river bricked with the 6Club Suit 5Spade Suit and he was eliminated.

Final-Table Results:

1: Antonio Esfandiari — $870,124
2: Andrew Robl — $549,003
3: Vanessa Rousso — $358,964
4: John Racener — $232,271
5: Kirk Morrison — $168,924
6: Ted Lawson — $126,693