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Dennis Blieden Wins 2018 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic Main Event

Amateur Player Takes Down The First WPT Event He Ever Entered To Win $1,000,000


Dennis Blieden has won the 2018 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. The 28-year-old Vice President of Finance for marketing services and media company StyleHaul had only two prior live tournament cashes to his name, totaling less than $22,000. The LAPC was the first WPT main event he has ever entered, but after six days of action at the legendary Commerce Casino, he emerged victorious from a field of 493 entries with the title and the $1,000,000 first-place prize.

Blieden dominated the final table, winning over 50 percent of the hands played and knocking out all but one of his five opponents on the way to victory. It took only 79 hands to narrow the final table of six players down to a champion. He entered the day in second chip position behind Toby Lewis, a British poker pro who had won the 2018 Aussie Millions main event for $1,156,205 less than a month ago.

Blieden overtook the lead by eliminating Manuel Martinez in sixth place ($186,235) and Peter Hengsakul in fifth place ($244,430) within the first 15 hands at the final table. Lewis and Blieden traded the lead a few times, but Blieden’s aggressive approach eventually saw distance himself from the pack. Lewis scored his lone knockout of the day by busting Marc MacDonnell in fourth place ($319,310), but by that time Blieden had built such a lead that he still had more than a 3-to-1 chip advantage over Lewis.

Lewis and Derek Wolters got tangled up in a big pot, with Lewis getting all-in holding the AClub SuitKHeart Suit against Wolters’ KSpade SuitKDiamond Suit. Lewis was in trouble, but flopped trip aces on to score a key double up and leave Wolters on fumes. Blieden eliminated him in third place shortly after to take just shy of a 4-to-1 lead on Lewis going into heads-up play.

After taking a short break, the final two players returned to play for the title. It took only two hands for Blieden to seal the deal. After winning a small pot on the first hand, Lewis opened to 120,000 from the button and Blieden reraised to 300,000. Lewis thought it oer before making it 750,000 to go. Blieden made the call and the flop brought the 6Spade Suit6Diamond Suit3Spade Suit. Blieden checked and Lewis bets 400,000. Blieden made the call and the turn brought the QHeart Suit. Blieden checked again and Lewis moved all in for 2,200,000. Blieden called with the ASpade SuitQDiamond Suit for queens and sixes, and was in great shape against Lewis’ 10Spade Suit10Club Suit. The river brought the 6Heart Suit, securing the pot and the title for Blieden and sending Lewis to the rail as the runner-up.

Lewis earned $600,630 and 1,500 Card Player Player of the Year points for his strong showing. The Aussie Millions champion was already sitting atop the leaderboard in the 2018 POY race, but now he has a commanding lead in the standings with 3,780 points and $1,756,835 in year-to-date earnings. Blieden earned 1,800 POY points as the winner of this event, enough to see him move into sixth place in the rankings.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Dennis Blieden $1,000,000 1800
2 Toby Lewis $600,630 1500
3 Derek Wolters $430,210 1200
4 Marc MacDonnell $319,310 900
5 Peter Hengsakul $244,430 750
6 Manuel Martinez $186,235 600
7 Gregory Paryani $143,740 450
8 Anthony Zinno $112,180 300
9 Aaron Kaiser $88,590 150

Winner photo courtesy of WPT / Joe Giron.