In a stunning comeback, Mohsin Charania overcame a gigantic chip deficit throughout the final table to win the 2013 World Poker Tour (WPT) Grand Prix de Paris Main Event. For his efforts, the Illinois resident known as “chicagocards1” online received $469,477.
One of poker’s oldest clichés is “a chip and a chair” and rarely has it been more appropriate than in the case of this tournament. Going into the six-handed final table Wednesday, Vasili Firsau was in an immensely dominant position, holding over half the total chips. Nobody was within 2 million of him; Charania was more than 2.2 million behind.
And from the get-go, it looked like Firsau was going to cruise to victory. Only about a half hour in, he raised all-in over the top of Kimmo Kurko with pocket Jacks. Kurko, the shortest stack to start final table play, decided to make the call with A-Q and was not able to make a pair, bowing out in 6th place.
In the meantime, Charania was running out of chips, allowing his opponents to double-up through him on more than one occasion and ending Level 23 with just 255,000 chips.
Firsau continued steamrolling the table in Level 24, first eliminating Christina Lindley with pocket Aces over A-K. He then took out Elliot Smith with pocket Jacks when Smith moved all-in pre-flop with A-6. A Jack landed on the flop and that was all she wrote. Finally, Firsau setup the heads-up match by taking out Peter Apostolou in third place. Once again, Firsau had a premium holding, although unlike his others, he did not have a pair. His A-K was good enough to beat pocket Queens, though, as he spiked a King on the river.
Going into heads-up play, it looked like it was going to be a simple, academic exercise for Vasili Firsau, he of the 4,898,000 to 712,000 chip lead. 7-to-1. It was over. Right?
Despite the desperate position he was in, Charania didn’t do anything rash. He did double-up a couple times, but since the first came after his chip stack had fallen closer to the felt, he didn’t make all that much of a dent into Firsau’s stack for a while. After an hour and a half, Charania had made up some ground, but with stacks at 4,400,000 and 1,200,000, he was still facing quite the uphill battle.
Two hours into heads-up play, though, Charania had closed the gap even more, building his stack up to 2,100,000. And then, shortly thereafter, he took the chip lead. In the key hand leading up to that moment, Firsau raised pre-flop to 120,000, Charania called, and the two saw a flop of 9-4-3. At that, Charania bet 95,000 and Firsau called. Charania checked the 5 on the turn and then called Firsau’s 155,000 bet. When a 6 was dealt on the river, Charania went big and bet 420,000, which Firsau called. Charania flipped over 7-5 for a rivered straight and scooped a sizeable pot. He took the chip lead on the next hand.
He continued advancing after that, growing his stack to 3,870,000 shortly before the final hand. That hand came about three hours into play when Charania raised pre-flop and then called Firsau’s all-in. Firsau was going to have to try to win another race, holding A-Q against Charania’s Tens. The flop was all low: 7-7-3, about as safe as it could get for Charania. The 8 on the turn left Firsau with just six outs, none of which were a 2, which landed on the river. Mohsin Charania had completed the improbable comeback to win his first World Poker Tour title.
2013 World Poker Tour Grand Prix de Paris Main Event – Final Table Results
1. Vasili Firsau – 2,893,000
2. Christina Lindley – 880,000
3. Elliot Smith – 782,000
4. Mohsin Charania – 644,000
5. Peter Astopolou – 269,000
6. Kimmo Kurko – 116,000