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Balakrishna Patur Wins 2020 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic Main Event For $1,015,000

The New Jersey Resident Overcame A Field of 490 Entries To Earn His First WPT Title


The 2020 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic $10,000 buy-in main event attracted a total of 490 entries to build a prize pool of $4,712,550. In the end, only one player would walk away with the seven-figure top prize and the title of LAPC champion: Balakrishna Patur.

“It’s incredible. I can’t express my happiness right now. To me, it was such a long time… and the table with such good players, it was anybody’s game and I played well and ran well,” Patur told WPT reporters after coming out on top.

The Parsippany, NJ resident added his name to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup and joined a prestigious list of players that have won the LAPC that includes the likes of Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Antonio Esfandiari, Michael Mizrachi, and many other legends of the game.

“I can’t express the feeling right now. Every poker player dreams of getting a WPT. Getting next to these big, big names that you watch all the time… getting my name next to them is an awesome feeling.”

In addition to the title and the money, Patur was also awarded 1,800 Card Player Player of the Year points. This was his first POY-qualified score of the year, but it alone was enough to catapult him into 11th place in the 2021 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.

Patur bagged up the chip lead when the final table of six players was set all the way back on Mar. 5, 2020. The final table was slated to play down to a champion less than a month later but was delayed for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eventually, this delayed final table was rescheduled for May 17, 2021, with a new location: the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Upeshka De SilvaThree-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva was the first player to be eliminated when action resumed. De Silva, who was disqualified from the 2020 WSOP main event domestic tournament final table due to a positive COVID-19 test result late last year, came into this final table as the shortest stack. On the 30th hand of the day he shoved from the button for 10 big blinds with AClub Suit2Spade Suit and ran into the AHeart SuitKHeart Suit of Patur in the small blind. Patur called and his A-K high held up to send De Silva to the rail in sixth place ($185,330).

Ka Kwan Lau was the next to fall. It folded to 2019 WPT L.A. Poker Classic runner-up Matas Cimbolas in the small blind and he shoved all-in with QDiamond Suit7Heart Suit, putting Lau at risk for his last 8 or so big blinds if he were to call. lau looked down at ASpade SuitJSpade Suit and made the call. The board ran out KDiamond Suit7Club Suit2Club Suit6Heart Suit8Diamond Suit and Cimbolas made a pair of sevens to bust Lau in fifth place. He earned $243,330 for his strong showing in this event.

A preflop cooler brought Scott Hempel’s run in this event to an end. With blinds of 75,000-150,000 and a 150,000 big blind ante, Hempel raised to 350,000 from the button with 10Spade Suit10Club Suit. Cimbolas three-bet to 1,200,000 from the big blind holding QSpade SuitQHeart Suit. Hempel went into the tank for a while before raising all in for 4,850,000. Cimbolas made the call and his superior pocket pair held up, making a full house by the river. Hempel was awarded $323,485 for his fourth-place finish.

Two-time WPT main event champion James Carrol had just a handful of big blinds at the time Hempel was sent to the rail. He managed to double up twice in rapid succession but soon found himself at risk yet again. This time around he three-bet all-in for around 11 big blinds with KClub Suit9Spade Suit facing a button raise from Patur. The chip leader quickly called with his KHeart SuitKDiamond Suit and the board came down QClub SuitJHeart Suit5Spade Suit4Diamond Suit7Spade Suit. Carroll fell short of his third WPT title, earning $431,585 for his third-place showing. Carroll had won the Mid-States Poker Tour Venetian main event earlier this year for $180,850 and 960 points. The 1,200 POY points he was awarded in this tournament were enough to move him into fifth place in the overall standings.

Matas CimbolasHeads-up play began with Patur holding 11,400,000 to Cimbolas’ 8,200,000. The Lithuanian poker pro was looking to improve on his second-place finish in this event in 2019. The two battled for 29 hands, with Patur extending his advantage to roughly a 4:1 lead by the time the final hand of the tournament was dealt. Cimbolas moved all-in for 3,700,000 from the button with KDiamond Suit6Club Suit. Patur called the shove of 15 big blinds with AHeart Suit9Diamond Suit and the JDiamond Suit7Diamond Suit2Diamond Suit8Spade Suit5Heart Suit runout secured him the pot and the title.

Cimbolas earned $600,060 and 1,500 POY points for his second runner-up showing in this prestigious event. He had already made three POY-qualified final tables this year, earning two runner-up finishes and a title in the past month. With $1,064,605 in year-to-date earnings and 2,810 total points, Cimbolas has climbed into second place on the POY leaderboard.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Balakrishna Patur $1,015,000 1800
2 Matas Cimbolas $600,060 1500
3 James Carroll $431,585 1200
4 Scott Hempel $323,485 900
5 Ka Kwan Lau $243,330 750
6 Upeshka De Silva $185,330 600

Photo credits – WPT / Joe Giron.