Dylan Linde was a one-man wrecking crew on Saturday night at the Bellagio, storming through the final table of the 2018 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic en route to taking down the prestigious title.
There Can Be Only One…
Linde had been cruising leading up to the final table of the event, eventually beginning the action on Saturday as the second largest chip stack. The only player ahead of him was Serbia’s Milos Skrbic, who sat on an 8.43 million stack (compared to Linde’s 7.78 million). These two had to contend with a talented final table, however, with veteran pro Andy Lichtenberger, Season VXII Player of the Year contender Ping Liu, and longtime WPT stalwarts Barry Hutter and Lisa Hamilton looking to take them down.
The early action saw Liu slip into the lead for a short period, but Linde quickly struck back to seize that position from him only eight hands into play. Nearly two dozen hands into play, Linde became the first person to crack the 10 million chip mark at the final table and he wouldn’t look back. Other than a couple of occurrences, Linde was in the driver’s seat for most of the final table.
Linde was responsible for a majority of the eliminations at the final table, but not the first one. After sending most of his stack to Linde on Hand 22, Hutter decided to try his fortunes with Skrbic on Hand 37. Opening the betting on the button, Hutter saw Skrbic call from the big blind as the 6-8-5 flop hit the felt. Skrbic checked to Hutter, who issued a continuation bet for 350K, but Skrbic didn’t believe him. Skrbic check-raised Hutter to 1.375 million and this time it was Hutter’s turn to not believe. Hutter put his stack in the center and Skrbic nearly beat him into the pot and for good reason.
Hutter had caught with his A-8 off suit, but Skrbic had caught better with his 6-5 for two pair. After a deuce came on the turn, Hutter had outs to the Aces, eights and deuces in the deck, but the paint King that came wasn’t helping anyone. Hutter left the tournament arena in sixth place as Skrbic reassumed the lead with over 13 million in chips.
The five players then settled in for an extensive battle. It would be over 30 hands before Linde would be able to work his way back into the lead after eliminating Hamilton in fifth place. The elimination came on Hand 69 and it was a classic race, Hamilton’s pocket fives against Linde’s A♦ 10♦. That race ended when a ten on the flop and a ten on the turn left Hamilton looking for a five on the river for survival. It instead came with a trey, enough to take down Hamilton in fifth place and send Linde back into the lead.
Finish What You Started
This seemed to light a spark under Linde as he went on to dominate the final table. He chopped a sizeable chunk of chips from Liu to crack the 17 million chip mark, then eliminated Liu to eclipse the 22 million mark. Even after Skrbic knocked off Lichtenberger in third place, he still faced nearly a five million chip deficit to Linde. It would take over 30 hands for Linde to grind down Skrbic but, when the final hand came, it was also in a dominant fashion.
On the button, Skrbic pushed all in and Linde didn’t hesitate in calling off the bet. Skrbic had found pocket fives for his tournament life, but Linde had the better of it with pocket Jacks of his own. Favored 81/19, the 9-K-9-9-A board failed to bring any help to Skrbic as Linde took down arguably the biggest championship of his career in the 2018 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event.
1. Dylan Linde, $1,631,468
2. Milos Skrbic, $1,087,603
3. Andrew Lichtenberger, $802,973
4. Ping Liu, $599,147
5. Lisa Hamilton, $451,880
6. Barry Hutter, $344,529