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WPT: Michael "SirWatts" Watson Wins the Bellagio Cup IV

David Benyamine Finishes Runner Up


Mike WatsonIt could be assumed that the biggest story to come out of the World Poker Tour would be the winner of the first stop on Season VII, the Bellagio Cup. But just hours before the final table began, an announcement was made to ensure that everything was going to be alright. The players and poker world can finally breathe easy, as the WPT announced a home for its weekly television show on Fox Sports Net for Season VII.

Still without a hostess, veteran poker reporter Amanda Leatherman filled in to conduct exit interviews and just like that, the show had begun.

Here were the chip counts heading into the final table:

Seat 1 - Ralph Perry - 1,635,000
Seat 2 - Luke Staudenmaier - 3,495,000
Seat 3 - John Phan - 3,495,000
Seat 4 - David Benyamine - 4,860,000
Seat 5 - Gabriel Thaler - 1,550,000
Seat 6 - Mike Watson - 5,060,000

The final table started off fast with the first hand as Luke Staudenmaier took a 1.3 million pot off of David Benyamine. Gabriel Thaler then started an all-in assault that ended with his pocket 10s being run down by Mike Watson's flush. John Phan then took some brutal beats to his stack at the hands of Ralph Perry, and was then busted in runner-runner fashion by Benyamine. Watson then took out Perry and Staudenmaier in succession, and heads up play began. In the end, Watson hit an exciting river card to take the lead and eventually bust Benyamine for the title.

Here's how all the action went down, as featured in's live updates page:

Gabriel ThalerGabriel Thaler Eliminated in Sixth Place ($129,275)

Mike Watson raised to 220,000 from under the gun and got a call from Gabriel Thaler in the big blind. The flop came 7 5 4 and Thaler checked. Watson bet 320,000 and Thaler quickly check raised all in for 1.9 million.

Watson made the call and saw Thaler’s pocket tens. Watson showed his A J and was actually a small favorite in the hand.

The turn was the 3 and Watson picked up more outs to the chop. The river was the 8 and Watson made his flush, sending Thaler packing in sixth place. Thaler earned $129,275 for his final table finish this week.

Luke Staudenmaier Wins a Massive Pot

John Phan raised to 285,000 under the gun and Luke Staudenmaier called from the big blind. The flop came A 6 3 and both players checked.

The turn was the 10 and Staudenmaier bet 525,000. Phan gave it some thought before making the call. The river was the 6 and Staudenmaier bet 1.7 million. Phan tanked for almost three minutes before calling, and he was disappointed to see Staudenmaier’s pocket tens for a full house.

After the hand, Phan was knocked down to 2 million and Staudenmaier took the chip lead with 7.3 million.

John PhanRalph Perry Doubles Through John Phan

Ralph Perry moved all in for 1.2 million and John Phan made the call.

Perry showed A 9 and Phan was ahead with A 10. The board came A J 9 9 J and a dejected Phan shipped most of his chips over to Perry who got the fortunate double up.

After the hand, Phan was crippled down to 700,000.

John Phan Eliminated in Fifth Place ($193,915)

John Phan moved all in from the small blind for his last 760,000 and David Benyamine called from the big blind. Phan showed A 9 and was ahead of Benyamine’s A 6.

The flop came K J 7 and Phan maintained the lead. But the turn was the Q, giving Benyamine a flush draw and many, many outs to the chop. The river was the …. 3! and Benyamine made the nut flush to eliminated Phan in fifth place.

Phan had a great summer, winning two WSOP bracelets along the way, but his elimination here will no doubt be on his mind for quite some time.

Ralph PerryRalph Perry Eliminated in Fourth Place ($290,900)

Mike Watson raised to 360,000 and Ralph Perry moved all in from the big blind for 2.2 million. Watson called and showed A Q and Perry was behind with K J.

The flop came out 5 4 2 and Perry was drawring semi-dead on the flawpp. The turn and river came 9 A and Perry hit the rail in fourth place, earning over a quarter of a million dollars for his finish.

Mike Watson Doubles Through Luke Staudenmaier

Mike Watson and Luke Staudenmaier found themselves all in against each other with similar chip stacks. After a count down, Watson was determined to be the short stack and the players turned up their cards.

Watson revealed A Q and was ahead of Staudenmaier’s A 10. The board came K J 9 7 7 and Watson’s hand held to double him up to about 8 million in chips.

Staudenmaier was left with roughly six big blinds after the hand.

Luke StaudenmaierLuke Staudenmaier Eliminated in Third Place ($452,465)

Luke Staudenmaier moved all in on the button and was called by both David Benyamine and Mike Watson in the blinds. The flop came Q 5 3 and Benyamine checked. Watson bet 500,000 and Benyamine quickly folded, showing Q-4. Watson turned over Q 8 and was way ahead of Staudenmaier’s K 4. The turn and river came 5 6 and Staudenmaier was eliminated in third place, earning just short of half of a million dollars.

Heads Up Play Begins

David Benyamine – 11,695,000
Mike Watson – 8,410,000

David BenyamineAce on the River for Michael Watson

David Benyamine moved all in preflop for 8.6 million and Michael Watson made an all-in call. Their cards:

Benyamine: Q Q
Watson: A K

Board: 10 9 2 5 A

Watson doubled up on the hand and Benyamine was crippled down to 2,665,000.

Mike Watson Wins the 2008 Bellagio Cup ($1,673,770)

Mike Watson moved all in from the button and David Benyamine made the call. Watson showed Q 9 but was in major trouble against Benyamine's K 9. The board ran out A Q 6 9 7 and Benyamine was eliminated, earning $840,295 for his runner up performance.

Watson takes home the title, along with the bracelet and nearly $1.7 million.