Seems like they tried to sneak it in on the world of poker, but the World Poker Tour will have two final tables going on this Sunday. As the players battle it out in Rozvadov, Czech Republic for the WPT Germany (don’t ask), those in North America will be taking on the challenge of the final day of the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic. With 15 players left from the 594 entries that began the tournament, Arash Tafakori will try to keep his lead in this WPT and earn his first ever major championship.

The Return of Vanessa Selbst (For One Tournament At Least)

75 players would earn a piece of the $2.7 million-plus (Canadian) prize pool that was built by the 594 entries and one person who was glad to earn a piece was Alex Foxen. The defending Player of the Year on the Global Poker Index, Foxen has been trailing way behind Brian Altman in the race for the Season XVIII POY race on the WPT. By eking into the money with his 75th place finish – good for a $5014 payday – Foxen picked up a few points for cashing. He’s still a sizeable distance back (1450 points) of Altman (2100), however, with the tournaments clicking down on the WPT season.

Foxen wasn’t the only notable name to pick up some spare change from the WPT Fallsview. Ben Farrell (69th place, $5917), Andrew Chen (61st, $6860), Jeff Madsen (56th, $6860), Blair Hinkle (53rd, $7923) and former WPT Fallsview champion Mike Leah (49th, $7923) all picked up some cash for their two days of work. But many eyes in the Fallsview tournament arena were fixated on the now semi-retired Vanessa Selbst, who chose the WPT Fallsview for a return, for one tournament at least.

Selbst, who has successfully segued into a career as a financial analyst and hadn’t cashed in a poker tournament since the WPT Borgata Poker Open in September of last year, worked her way into the Top Five at the beginning of the day. She would crack the million-chip mark in a battle against the defending champion of the tournament, Demo Kiriopoulos, after Kiriopoulos failed to catch on his diamond flush draw and Selbst’s instincts to stay in with only an Ace high paid off. That would prove to be the highlight for Selbst, however, as she suffered setbacks that led to her elimination.

Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault was the first benefactor of Selbst’s chips, turning a Queen high flush against Selbst’s flopped pair of Queens (and backdoor chance at a four flush that would have beaten Carpentier-Perrault) to take a healthy stack of Selbst’s ammunition. Then the end would come ironically at the hands of Kiriopoulos, when his pocket Kings reigned supreme over Selbst’s flopped pair of tens and gut shot straight draw. For her efforts, Selbst received $19,756 for her 22nd place finish and proof that poker (nor its skills) never leaves your blood.

Tafakori Takes Command

The surprise of the day was Tafakori, who ran under the radar until he cracked the four million chip mark in a hand against Yuri Siniak. Tafakori would flop two pair on a 10-4-4 board, but Siniak had the edge when he was able to catch trip fours with his holdings. A turn two didn’t change anything, but it got the chips moving between the players. Once Siniak was all in with his 7-4 against Tafakori’s J-10, all Siniak needed to do was avoid a ten to massively double up.

The river card was a cruel one, coming down with the 10♦, to give Tafakori a full house, tens over fours, to eclipse the boat that Siniak made with fours over tens. The chips pushed to Tafakori put him over the four million mark, while Siniak could only take the $28,197 from the cage for his 17th place finish and dream of what might have been.

1. Arash Tafakori, 4.195 million
2. Demo Kiriopoulos, 3.86 million
3. Adam Hui, 2.54 million
4. Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault, 2.27 million
5. Sam Zhu, 1.795 million
6. Paul Brar, 1.675 million
7. Trung Hien Nguyen, 1.435 million
8. Tamer Alkamli, 1.025 million
9. Matvey Tevlin, 1.02 million
10. Eric Afriat, 805,000

There’s some danger waiting for players down the leader board. Afriat is a former WPT champion who is always dangerous, while Parker ‘Tonkaaaap’ Talbot (590K) might be down the board a bit, but he can be dangerous if he catches fire. The final day of the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic will play out Sunday afternoon and evening as the final 15 players fight it out, with the eventual champion taking home a $508,021 (Canadian) payday for their efforts.

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