WPT L. A. Poker Classic Main Event Day Five: Final Table Set, Paul Volpe Holds The Chip Lead

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As the rest of the players are packing their bags to head to Northern California for the weekend, the final six men are set to play out the final table of the World Poker Tour’s L. A. Poker Classic beginning this afternoon.

Coming back to the felt on Thursday were 18 men who had the dream of a million dollar payday in their sights. Toby Lewis held the chip lead when the cards hit the air Thursday afternoon, with Paul Klann and Paul Volpe within 250K in chips of taking that lead from him. Also in the hunt were Day Three chip leader Jeremy Ausmus, recent World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event champion David Tuthill and a short-stacked Danny Fuhs, who came to the day’s play with only 333K in chips to go to battle with.

Volpe went on the attack quickly, three betting Garrett Greer and WSOP bracelet winner Naoya Kihara to force them out of an early pot, and Klann kept pace (and then some) in taking over the chip lead after a massive clash against Jesse Yaginuma and Tuthill. Meanwhile, Ausmus was heading the other way after doubling up Andrew Whitaker.

Through the first two hours of play, there was only one elimination (Michael Winnet knocking off Blake Barousse in 18th place) as the players exercised a bit of caution with so much on the line. The remaining 17 men saw Klann at the top of the heap, while Lewis and Volpe battled it out for the second slot on the table. Following a level up, the action would heat up, however.

After double ups for Fuhs, Ausmus and Greer, one of the more colorful players in the tournament would depart. Winnet, who had taken to carrying a “Seven Commandments of Poker” faux-slate around the tournament room with him (think Moses in the Bible and you’ll have the idea), hit the exits at the Commerce Casino in sixteenth place when his A-5 failed to catch up with Ben Zamani’s A-J. Zamani, however, would turn around and hand those chips out to Tuthill and Yaginuma before departing at the hands of Tuthill in fifteenth place. After Randy Ohel (14th) and Gary Lent (13th) were dismissed from the tournament, the unofficial final table was in the horizon.

Tuthill would take out Ausmus in 12th place, while Volpe knocked out Alexander Venovski in 11th place to bring the final 10 men to the felt together. Klann and Lewis were within 40,000 chips of each other, but they were facing steep challenges from Yaginuma and Tuthill, slightly more than 100K in chips behind them. Over the course of the next three hours, the final table for the L. A. Poker Classic would be determined.

The players would shuffle around the chips for the first 26 hands before the first elimination occurred. Bruce Kramer used the minimum raise of 80K to attempt to take the pot, but Klann and Fuhs decided to come along with him. On a 9-8-7 flop, Fuhs checked and Kramer bet out. Klann decided to drop out at this point, but Fuhs came along to see the turn. A six came on the turn, bringing an all-in move from Kramer and nearly an immediate call from Fuhs. Kramer showed pocket sixes for a turned set, while Fuhs had him covered with an A-10 for the ten-high straight. Looking for the board to pair, Kramer instead saw a blank on the river and was out in tenth place.

Klann wouldn’t be passive at the unofficial final table, eliminating Kihara from the tournament in ninth place when his Big Slick caught up with Kihara’s pocket nines. The stunning hand of the day, however, went to Fuhs and Tuthill. After a min-raise from Fuhs, Tuthill three bet the action and saw Fuhs make the call. The 10 9 5♠ flop brought a check-call from Fuhs as the twosome saw another ten on the turn. After a double check, the 8 came to add the drama to the setting.

Fuhs moved all-in, sending Tuthill into the depths of agony as he contemplated his decision. Calling would put all of his chips on the line and, as he looked over at Fuhs, Tuthill saw a very relaxed player sipping soup as he waited on Tuthill’s decision. “I know you don’t have a flush here,” Tuthill commented to his opponent, but he couldn’t determine just what would call for Fuhs all-in move. After the clock was called on Tuthill and began to count down, Tuthill would make the call for his tournament existence and saw the bad news; Fuhs turned up Q-J for the rivered straight, good enough for Tuthill to muck his cards and leave the table. As Tuthill went to the payout cage for his eighth place money, Tournament Director Matt Savage turned up Tuthill’s pocket Aces that had been cracked.

Back from the break after the extended Tuthill-Fuhs battle, it would only take three hands to determine the official six-handed WPT final table. After a min-raise from Volpe, Greer made a stand from the small blind with an all-in move that Volpe called. It was the classic race, Volpe’s pocket nines against Greer’s A-K, but Greer would never catch up. The board brought a 7-6-3-10-9 arrangement, knocking off Greer in seventh place and setting up today’s final table.

1. Paul Volpe, 4.195 million
2. Paul Klann, 3.375 million
3. Daniel Fuhs, 3.28 million
4. David Fong, 2.295 million
5. Jesse Yaginuma, 1.235 million
6. Toby Lewis, 1.125 million

The final table of the WPT L. A. Poker Classic kicks off at 4PM (Pacific Time), with the action being line streamed over the WPT website. The WPT crew will also be taping the proceedings as a part of the Season XI broadcast schedule. By the end of the evening, the newest champion on the World Poker Tour will be crowned, taking down the $1 million first place payday, putting their name on the WPT Champions’ Cup and taking home the traditional trophy of the L. A. Poker Classic, a replica of the “Bronco Buster” statue by Frederic Remington.

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