In what turned out to be a rather quick Wednesday for the survivors of the World Poker Tour’s stop at the L. A. Poker Classic, the final table of six has been determined. There are some familiar names on the board, but they’ll be looking up at Balakrishna Patur and his 6.32 million stack. Instead of playing it out today, however, the ever-delighting “delayed” final table will hold off on a conclusion until April.
Eleven Players is Five Too Many
11 men came back to the felt Wednesday at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, all with the dreams of the latest WPT championship dancing in their heads. Playing some excellent poker, Isaac Baron was atop the leaderboard with his 2.97 million chips, but there were plenty of challengers facing him. Four former champions on the WPT, including James Carroll and Matas Cimbolas, were looking to add to their trophy mantle by capturing another championship on the premiere tournament circuit in the world.
It was either going to go quickly or drag out and the 11 men decided to play like they had a plane to catch. Baron tried to take down Charles Kassin in the early action, running pocket sixes against Kassin’s A-9 off suit, but an unlikely runner-runner Broadway straight saved Kassin to double him up and cut a chunk off of Baron. Meanwhile, Patur went the other way, forcing Daniel Strelitz out of a hand to capture a pot north of a million chips to take over the chip lead.
Things continued to go badly for Baron, locking up with Ka Kwan Lau on a K-6-7-7-5 board. First to act, Baron pushed all in and Lau immediately made the call. It seemed that Lau had Baron read perfectly; Baron turned up Big Slick for Kings over sevens, but Lau had the goods with a pair of pocket rockets for a better Aces over sevens, capturing the 1.68 million chip pot and sending Baron down to 1.62 million.
The one thing that wasn’t happening in the first hour of the day’s play? Any eliminations. Carroll would seize the lead from Patur after check-calling his winning pocket eights to the river against Patur’s Big Chick. Baron continued his slide by passing some chips over to De Silva after De Silva flopped a pair of eights and Baron couldn’t catch up with or bet out De Silva by the river.
The end would come for Baron soon after that. He would open up the betting in a hand only to see Scott Hempel three bet him to 225K. Baron called the bet and, after a 9-2-5 flop, Hempel pushed out a c-bet of 275K. Baron, probably steaming a little after seeing his stack dwindle, pushed all in and Hempel called. Baron’s pocket eights looked good, but Hempel’s pocket tens looked better. A Queen and a seven ended the proceedings, sending the start of day chip leader OUT of the tournament in 11th place.
And They All Fall Down…
Once Baron was eliminated, it seemed to loosen up the field. Kevin Eyster was then next to go, his flopped pair of Queens run down by Hempel’s flush draw on the river to push Hempel over the five million chip mark. After a quick redraw for the unofficial final table, Carroll began to creep closer to Hempel and the chip lead before taking it over as Hempel doubled up Strelitz.
Hempel and Carroll would clash frequently as the intensity built towards the television table bubble. Hempel knocked out Kassin in ninth place, his Queens holding up over Kassin’s pocket tens, but he handed a bunch of those chips to Carroll when he lost a set versus set situation only a few hands later. It was another battle, however, that changed the course of the final table.
After a raise from Patur, Hempel would three bet the action and Patur called. A J-4-5 flop saw Patur check call a bet from Hempel and, on the trey turn, Patur seized the action with a bet that Hempel called. A river ten saw Patur check call another bet from Hempel and, with over three million chips in the pot, Hempel confidently turned up pocket Queens. Patur had the cooler, however, turning up pocket Kings for a bigger pair to scoop the pot and the chip lead (6.24 million) while Hempel saw his once-monstrous stack dwindle to 1.4 million.
When the end came, it came in a rapid fashion. Cimbolas woke up with pocket Aces, taking out Strelitz in eighth place. Just a few hands later, De Silva dropped Shi Chen from the tournament in seventh place, his pocket Jacks withstanding a Chen gut shot straight draw and Ace over card. As Chen exited the Commerce tournament arena, the remaining six men had earned their seat for the final table of the WPT L. A. Poker Classic.
1. Balakrishna Patur, 6.32 million
2. Matas Cimbolas, 4.31 million
3. James Carroll, 4.125 million
4. Ka Kwan Lau, 2.25 million
5. Scott Hempel, 1.67 million
6. Upeshka De Silva, 930,000
Unfortunately, there will be no conclusion today for the tournament. Although the LAPC prides itself on being an “old school” event, the WPT has made the event one of their “delayed” final tables that will be played at the HyperX eSports Arena in Las Vegas. The delayed table will resume on April 2, streamed live (30-minute delay), at which point the champion and recipient of the $1,015,000 payday will be determined.