Dietrich Fast Denies Mike Shariati Second WPT Title, Wins L. A. Poker Classic

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Fighting his way from the back of the pack, Dietrich Fast was able to deny World Poker Tour champion Mike Shariati his second WPT title of the Season XIV schedule, winning the WPT L. A. Poker Classic early Friday morning.

Fast had his work cut out for him as, with his decent stack of 2.365 million in chips, only Alex Keating (1.785 million) was behind him. Fast was a part of a pack of players that was separated by less than 300K in chips, with Farid Jattin (2.63 million), Shariati (2.535 million), and Sam Soverel (2.425 million) joining Fast in that pack. Anthony Spinella was the man to beat at the start of the day, however, as he lorded over the final table with his 3.705 million chip stack.

Spinella would come out firing to put the pressure on his opponents, but it would end up hurting him more than helping. After taking a pot when he luckily rivered a ten to go with his A-10 and defeat Shariati’s A-J, Spinella decided to pop the pot again on Hand 5 from under the gun. This time it was Fast who came along, three-betting the action to 265K and Spinella called to see a J-9-4 flop. Spinella slowed down with a check, then came out firing with a raise to 920K after Fast bet 275K. When the A put a flush on the board, both players checked their options and another heart, the 2, completely shut down the action with two more checks. Spinella showed he was playing a J♣ 9♣ from under the gun and got fortunate in flopping two pair, but Fast had gotten even more fortunate to turn an Ace to go with his pocket Aces for the winning set, pushing the pot and the chip lead to him as Spinella began his downward dive.

It seemed that no one gave Spinella any respect for a hand after his battle against Fast. He lost another two million chip pot to Soverel on Hand 12 and, on Hand 19, doubled up Keating when his Big Slick failed to catch up against Keating’s pocket threes on a nine-high board. Down to only 385K in chips after that fight, Spinella would earn a double up on Hand 25; two hands later, Spinella would run K-J off suit into Soverel’s A-10 off suit to go from the “penthouse to the outhouse” in finishing in sixth place.

After the departure of the busy Spinella, the remaining five men relaxed into what became a rather sedentary final table. About the only excitement over the next 25 hands was the penalization of Alex Keating by Tournament Director Matt Savage, who warned Keating twice about discussing the contents of his hands with his opponents at the table while a hand was in action. After Keating ignored Savage’s warnings, the renown TD tossed Keating for one round in the tournament, which seemed to get the point across as Keating didn’t do it again.

After Keating returned to the table, the players seemed to take that as a cue to start eliminating some players. On Hand 58, Keating would use pocket Aces to knock off Jattin in fifth place (sure he was glad to not have been on penalty for THAT hand) and, 12 hands later in a blind versus blind battle, Fast would take down Soverel in fourth after Soverel tried to all-in bluff Fast off his hand. When Fast knocked off Keating on the very next hand, his Big Slick defeating Keating’s Big Chick, and heads up play was set with Fast holding nearly a 3:1 lead over Shariati.

Although they would battle it out for 55 hands, Shariati never once took the lead from Fast. In fact, Shariati never even got within 4 million chips of Fast’s chip advantage as Fast meticulously worked the stacks for several levels before the finale. On that fateful hand, Fast would open up from the button and, after Shariati pushed all in for almost 5 million in chips, Fast took some time and got the exact count before making a tenuous call. Fast was in the lead pre-flop, his A-9 off suit against Shariati’s A 8, and Shariati actually took the lead on the A-J-4-8 flop and turn. When the river paired the Jack, however, Shariati’s second pair was counterfeited, Fast’s nine now played and the championship was determined in the favor of Dietrich Fast.

1. Dietrich Fast, $1,000,800
2. Mike Shariati, $656,540
3. Alex Keating, $423,890
4. Sam Soverel, $316,440
5. Farid Jattin, $238,070
6. Anthony Spinella, $191,250

As a consolation prize (as if over $600K wasn’t enough), Shariati takes over the WPT Player of the Year race with the points earned at the LAPC. He now has a very healthy lead over second place Cate Hall as the WPT prepares to move on to the second stop of their “California Swing,” the Bay 101 Shooting Star in San Jose, CA, which begins on March 7.

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