If it seemed like an inevitability going into the final table that Noah Schwartz would win the World Poker Tour (WPT) bestbet Jacksonville Fall Poker Scramble Main Event, it’s because it was. Schwartz entered final table play Tuesday with close to half the chips in play and cruised into the heads-up portion of the match. It was at that point that he actually had to work for his first WPT title, but he did finish what he started, earning $402,970.
As you can see, Schwartz had a dominating chip lead when final table play started Tuesday:
1. Noah Schwartz – 6,255,000
2. Hans Winzeler – 1,965,000
3. Brian Senie – 1,865,000
4. Lee Markholt – 1,720,000
5. Ryan Hartmann – 1,400,000
6. Byron Kaverman – 1,075,000
And starting with the very first hand, the lead got even bigger. Hans Winzeler made a min-raise pre-flop to 80,000, Brian Senie three-bet to 200,000, Schwartz four-bet to 570,000, and then Lee Markholt, the only man at the final table with a WPT title to his name, five-bet all-in for 1.715 million. Quite the start to the day. Schwartz was the only one who made the call, showing Q♦-Q♠ against Markholt’s A♦-K♣. The flop came down T♣-5♣-5♥, which was not much use to Markholt. The J♣ on the turn, though, gave him both a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw, so it was time for a sweat. The river was the 7♦, eliminating Markholt in 6th place and launching Schwartz’s chip stack to just under 8 million.
After that, it was largely a matter of the other four players holding on for dear life, going all-in when they needed to in an attempt to double-up. Brian Senie was next player to go, his Q-T dominated by Schwartz’s K-T. Out in 4th place was Winzeler, eliminated by Byron Kaverman. That was the point where things started to get more interesting, as Kaverman had already been able to double-up once. That combined with the Winzeler elimination sent Kaverman’s stack up to over 5 million chips, putting him well within striking distance of Schwartz.
On hand 68 of the final table, Kaverman took out Ryan Hartmann to go into heads-up play against Schwartz with a slight chip lead, 7.16 million to 7.1 million, the first time Schwartz was not leading the final table.
With the stacks so close, one would think it would take some time to determine the champion, and at first, it looked like it would. Schwartz did win the first five heads-up hands, but for the most part, the two players were just nipping at each other. Then, suddenly, on the 12th hand of heads-up play, it was all over.
Kaverman raised pre-flop to 250,000 and Schwartz called. On the flop of T♥-9♠-3♥, Kaverman bet 400,000 and Schwartz again called. When the 4♠ was dealt on the turn, Kaverman bet 700,000, Schwartz raised him to 1.925 million, and Kaverman decided to put all his chips at risk.
Schwartz called, revealing Q♠-T♠, giving him a flush draw and top pair. Kaverman had T♣-9♣, good for top two pair. The river was the Q♣, giving Schwartz a re-suckout with a better two pair, eliminating Kaverman in second place.
Noah Schwartz received $402,970 for his first WPT title, which includes his entry into the season-ending WPT Championship at the Bellagio.
2012 WPT bestbet Jacksonville Fall Poker Scramble Main Event – Final Table Standings
1. Noah Schwartz – $402,970
2. Byron Kaverman – $236,592
3. Ryan Hartmann – $153,403
4. Hans Winzeler – $106,848
5. Brian Senie – $77,083
6. Lee Markholt – $61,819