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World Poker Tour London - Justin Smith Wins High Roller

Smith Finally Takes Down WPT Title After Tough High Roller Final Table

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Champion Justin Smith. Credit: PartyPokerA skilled field made for a tough final table at the inaugural World Poker Tour London Poker Classic High Roller event held at the Palm Beach Casino, Mayfair. The £15,000 buy-in event attracted a long list of familiar names such as 2010 World Series of Poker Player of the Year Frank Kassela, Andrew Robl, Huck Seed, and Luke Schwartz.

The last player standing was one very worthy of WPT victory, Justin Smith. Over the past two years, first place had eluded the young pro with second and third place finishes in WPT Bellagio Cups, but now he can finally add a win to his WPT résumé. Taking down the title in London has made him £141,000 ($217,889) richer.

The final table was a gruelling affair.

Here is what it looked like to begin with:

Philipp Gruissem 545,300
Bruno Fitoussi 317,900
Jason Lester 279,000
Tony G 273,800
Jason Gray 236,600
Justin Smith 178,300
Freddy Deeb 120,800
Emeline Boich 40,300

With only three players getting prize money, the battle to the bubble was long and hard. Eight hours in and the final table had not lost a single player. Then all of a sudden it was casualty city with four bust outs in a row. Jason Lester was the first player to have to leave the tournament area without any winnings. After him was Emeline Boich, Jason Gray, and Philipp Gruissem; each leaving with nothing.

With players finally falling by the wayside, Justin Smith who started the day towards the lower end of the leader board began making a comeback. Another player making leaps and bounds up the chip counts was WPT Paris High Roller champ, Freddy Deeb.

The final four players, Deeb, Smith, Bruno Fitoussi and Antanas Guoga (also known as Tony G), had more than $15 million in tournament winnings between them but one of them was about to hit the rail with nothing this time. Frenchman Fitoussi was the unfortunate bubble, making his exit in fourth place with no prize money for the many long hours of play.

Here are the final bust out hands in the money:

Tony GSmith moved all in and Deeb went into the tank before making the call. Smith held pocket fours while Deeb revealed ASpade Suit 10Heart Suit. The flop was dealt QSpade Suit 9Heart Suit 3Spade Suit and Smith’s fours remained in the lead. The turn however brought the AClub Suit for Deeb, but in dramatic fashion the 4Heart Suit floated in on the river and Deeb went out in third place for £56,400. This left Tony G and Justin Smith heads up for the inaugural title, with chip counts of 538,500 and 1,423,000 respectively.

With chips flying back and forth between the two pros, it wasn’t long before the two got it all in. On a flop of QClub Suit 4Spade Suit 2Spade Suit, Smith bet out and Tony G moved all in for slightly less than what was in front of Smith. Smith insta-called and showed QHeart Suit 9Diamond Suit for top pair while Tony G tabled 5Spade Suit 3Club Suit for an open-ended straight draw.

The KClub Suit turn didn’t change anything, but the QDiamond Suit river sealed the deal for Smith with trips and sent Tony G home in second place after more than 12 hours of final-table play.

Here are the final results and payouts:

1. Justin “Boosted J” Smith, £141,000
2. Tony G, £84,600
3. Freddy Deeb, £56,400

After one of the longest final tables in WPT history, Smith said, “It is brilliant to finally get a first place on the WPT after my near misses at the Bellagio. This was quite some battle – the line-up was so tough. I am satisfied but completely exhausted!”