Ravi Raghavan Wins 2012 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic

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While it is always a good feeling to make the final table of a World Poker Tour (WPT) event, it had to be a little tough for Ravi Raghavan to feel too overjoyed entering play Saturday at the 2012 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic. After all, he was the short stack and had was staring up at a top three of Antonio Esfandiari, Shawn Buchanan, and Andrew Lichtenberger, two of whom had WPT titles to their names with the other, Lichtenberger, having $2.5 million in live tournament earnings and a fourth place finish in this same event last year. Talk about an uphill battle. But battle Raghavan did, eventually making the unexpected rise all the way to the top and winning $1,268,571.

Ravi Raghavan has had plenty of live tournament experience, but had never won a major event until now. He had ten World Series of Poker (WSOP) cashes to his name and four WPT cashes before this weekend, including a 5th place finish at the 2010 WPT Hollywood Poker Open ($105,234) and an 11th place finish at the 2012 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown ($38,976). His best WSOP performance came in 2011 when he placed 8th in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event, earning $47,174. The Illinois resident has now earned over $1.8 million his career.

Here is a look at the chip counts to start final table play at the Five Diamond:

Antonio Esfandiari – 4.310 million
Shawn Buchanan – 3.465 million
Andrew Lichtenberger – 2.940 million
Thomas Winters – 1.615 million
Jeremy Kottler – 1.515 million
Ravi Raghavan – 1.250 million

Raghavan bled chips for a while, not really getting involved for a few orbits. On Hand 33, though, he was able to double-up through Lichtenberger after moving all-in pre-flop with pocket Nines versus “Lucky Chewy’s” A-Q and flopping quads. That hand took him up to 1.805 million chips.

Just three hands later, it was Jeremy Kottler going all-in pre-flop, testing his luck with A-K against Thomas Winters’ pocket Sevens. The Sevens were good as the board stayed low and Kottler was the first player eliminated at the final table.

The eventual champ sat back again after his double-up, picking a spot or two to pick up a few chips, but otherwise didn’t do a whole lot until Hand 49, when he once against doubled through Lichtenberger. Interestingly, this time it was Lichtenberger with the pocket Nines, but unlike when Raghavan had them, they didn’t hold up against Raghavan’s A-K. That pot took Raghavan up to second place, just behind Esfandiari, while Lichtenberger fell to 475,000 chips. Lucky Chewy survived another dozen hands, finally bowing out in 5th place at the hands of his nemesis, Raghavan.

Ravi Raghavan really took control on Hand 81. He and Esfandiari got into a raising war pre-flop with Esfandiari eventually moving all-in with A-K, snap-called by Raghavan and his pocket Aces. Esfandiari’s tournament life was at risk, as he recently doubled-up Winters, and when he couldn’t find a major dose of like, his tournament life was snuffed out and he went home smiling in 4th place. Raghavan was now a significant chip leader with 9.220 million chips, compared to Buchanan’s 3.165 million and Winters’ 2.715 million.

Two hands later, Buchanan knocked out Winters to go into heads-up play with 5.770 million chips against Raghavan’s 9.330 million.

It was a long heads-up battle – almost 70 hands – but oddly, the chip lead never changed during that entire time. Raghavan just used his chip stack to continually beat at Buchanan, gradually increasing his lead. Finally, with just shy of 3 million chips, Buchanan went all-in with K-7 and Raghavan called, dominating with pocket Sevens. Buchanan was never able to find another King and Ravi Raghavan won the 2012 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic and $1,268,571.

2012 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event – Final Table Results

1.    Ravi Raghavan – $1,268,571
2.    Shawn Buchanan – $746,502
3.    Thomas Winters – $483,031
4.    Antonio Esfandiari – $329,339
5.    Andrew Lichtenberger – $234,197
6.    Jeremy Kottler – $187,845

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