In a rapidly played final table, Gedimas Uselis was able to come from the middle of the pack to defeat Jacob Ferris and win the World Poker Tour’s latest stop at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL. Uselis will etch his name into the WPT Mike Sexton Champions’ Cup and enjoy the Christmas present of a $778,490 payday.
Patience Pays Off
Uselis came into the six-handed WPT final table in the middle of the pack, looking up at chip leader Harout Ghazarian and his 17.4 million chip stack. Ferro was second at the start of the day (16.4 million) while Clayton Maguire was holding down the third place slot (10.325 million). Uselis (8.9 million), Selahaddin Bedir (8.7 million) were battling it out for the fourth-place spot on the leaderboard, while Anshul Rai (875,000) was looking for something to jump start his tournament.
On the very first hand of the day’s action, Rai got that “double up or go home” hand and put it to action. He moved all in from under the gun and was able to waltz through most of the table – until reaching the chip leader. Ghazarian had the chips to spare and made the call, but he also had the cards to play in this circumstance.
Ghazarian tabled an A-Q for battle and found that he was on the downside of the fight. Rai’s Big Slick would start the hand as the leader but, as soon as the flop was spread, that edge disappeared. The A-Q-2 flop gave Ghazarian two pair and he would never be caught after a trey and another deuce came on the turn and river. Rai had gotten it in with the best, but he had to be satisfied with picking up his $170,835 sixth place payday only minutes into the final table.
Maguire could not get anything going at the final table. On Hand 19, he would ship over half his stack to Ghazarian after Ghazarian rivered two pair, Aces up, over Maguire’s mucked hand. The very next time around the felt, Maguire moved all in from the small blind against Bedir, who had him covered. Bedir made the call, and the race was on:
Maguire (Small Blind): pocket eights
Bedir (Big Blind): A-4
An Ace in the window immediately put Bedir into the lead and left Maguire seeking one of the two remaining eights in the deck for salvation. Only paint – a Jack on the turn and a Queen on the river – would arrive, sending Maguire out of the tournament in fifth place and pushing Bedir up the leaderboard.
For the next 40-plus hands, the foursome left – Uselis, Bedir, Ghazarian and Ferro – shuffled chips between each other before the next big elimination. That would come when Bedir and Ferro decided to go to battle, with Ferro’s Big Slick looking to stay ahead of Bedir’s 7♦ 6♦ on Hand 67. The Queen high board did not bring any help for the at risk Bedir, ending his tournament in fourth place while Ferro expanded his chip lead over Ghazarian and Uselis.
Three-Handed Play Goes Quickly
After using more than sixty hands to get to three handed play, the trio of men left settled the championship within 35 hands. Uselis and Ghazarian were at roughly the same chip stack, thus it was most likely they would battle it out to see who would go up against Ferro. That clash came on Hand 84, after a Ghazarian limp and a raise from Uselis.
Uselis’ 1.3 million chip bet from the big blind saw Ghazarian come back with an all in for his 12.2 million remaining in his stack. Wasting no time at all, Uselis immediately called and, once the cards were turned up, it was easy to see why. The pocket Kings of Uselis were routing Ghazarian’s pocket deuces, and the double paired J-7-7-9-J board did not help Ghazarian at all, sending him out of the event in third place.
Ferro and Uselis were roughly even (Ferro 31.9 million/Uselis 30.7 million) at the start of heads-up action, but that would quickly change. Uselis ramped up his aggression in heads up play with frequent pre-flop raises that Ferro let go by, enabling Uselis to take more than a 15 million chip lead only a dozen hands into the match. Only eight hands later, it would be all over.
On the final hand, Ferro opened the betting to one million chips and Uselis dropped 3.3 million into the pot. Ferro would move all in after that and Uselis nearly beat him to the pot with the call. Ferro’s pocket Jacks were the hand he had been waiting for to catch Uselis, but this time Uselis had the goods with his pocket Queens for a cooler.
The K-Q-J flop delivered for both men but left Ferro needing the case Jack to win the hand or running straight cards to get a miraculous chop. A six on the turn ended the dream of any chop for Ferro, leaving him looking for the lone Knave remaining on the table. A lowly deuce ended the proceedings, with Ferro coming up a bit short and Uselis claiming the title of the WPT Seminole Rock N’ Roll Poker Open.
1. Gedimas Uselis, $778,490
2. Jacob Ferro, $573,605
3. Harout Ghazarian, $380,000
4. Selahaddin Bedir, $282,380
5. Clayton Maguire, $211,925
6. Anshul Rai, $170,835