The Tower Room at the Bellagio was the locale for the final table of the WPT World Championship where dozens of media reps and hundreds of die hard poker fans showed up to soak in the largest event in the history of the World Poker Tour. Six players survived a field of 606 who all bought in for $25,000. After six days of intense poker, they were ready to play for the record $3.7 million first place prize.
The seven day event started last Tuesday as some of the top pros in poker showed up to the Fontana Room overlooking the Bellagio fountains, hoping to cash record prize pool worth over $14 million. James Van Alstyne ended Day 5 and Day 6 as the chipleader. He gave it up a few times on both days, but managed to survive the day at the top in chips. Men the Master started Day 6 as one of the short stacks and hung on to make it to the final table. England's Roland de Wolfe won the WPT Paris event at the Aviation Club in July. He's seeking his second victory on the WPT this year.
Here's the final table seat assignments with chipcounts:
Seat 1: Joe Bartholdi (Dan Diego, CA) $7.135M
Seat 2: Roland de Wolfe (London, England) $1.86M
Seat 3: Men "The Master" Nguyen (Bell Gardens, CA) $1.490M
Seat 4: Claus Nielsen (Aarhaus, Denmark) $5.875M
Seat 5: James Van Alstyne (Las Vegas, NV) $8.07M
Seat 6: Davidson Matthew (Toronto, Canada) $5.765M
James Van Alstyne won the first pot, but lost the first monster pot of the day to Joe Bartholdi. It was worth over $7.2 million. On a board of 4-4-3-A-6, Van Alstyne mucked after Bartholdi showed 8-8. After he won that pot Bartholdi took over the chipleader with over $9M in chips, while Van Alstyne slipped to $5M.
Men the Master moved all in and uttered his trade mark phrase, "All you can eat, Baby!" He didn't get any action and only picked up the blinds and antes. Roland de Wolf's tight image hurt him early. He did not get any action with his pocket Kings.
On the 15th hand of the final table, Men the Master and Claus Nielsen were both all in preflop. Claus had Q-Q and Men's pocket tens were dominated. Men's hand did not improve and he finished in 6th place winning $292,915.
Play slowed down after Men the Master busted, but at the first break Joe Bartholdi built his stack to over $10M. Roland de Wolfe was the shortstack with $1.845M. James Van Alstyne slipped to 4th in chips. He came over to talk and said, "I'm playing the worst poker of my life."
James Van Alstyne would lose the majority of his stack when he made a move with K-6 and pushed all in. He was called by Roland de Wolf's K-K, which held up. Van Alstyne would be eliminated when he moved all in with A-K a few hands later. Joe Bartholdi called and flopped a 10 with J-10. Van Alstyne busted out in 5th place and picked up $439,375. Joe Bartholdi increased his stack to $11.3M.
Roland de Wolfe went on a rush and built up his stack until he tangled with Claus Nielsen. Roland de Wolf had A-10 and doubled up Nielsen's 9-9. Claus Nielsen jumped to $6M in chips but he wouldn't last too much longer. Joe Bartholdi rivered a flush with Kd-9d against Nielsen who caught a Queen on the river with A-Q. He finished in 4th place and won $659,120.
With three players remaining, Joe Bartholdi held a 3 to 1 chip lead over both players. He had $18M to their $6M each.
Roland de Wolfe had moved all in with 6-6 and was called by Joe Bartholdi who held Q-Q Bartholdi flopped a set but de Wolf picked up a gutshot on the turn. The river didn't help de Wolfe and he was eliminated in 3rd place. He won $1,025,205, which is not bad for third place. Joe Bartholdi increased his stack to over $21 million. Davidson Matthew had about $8 million in chips.
Matthew picked up his aggression. He reraised all in twice against Bartholdi who folded on both instances. At one point after he won an $8 million pot, Matthew took over the chiplead. He would not have it for too long.
On the 42nd hand of heads-up play, a winner was decided. Joe Bartholdi made a tremendous call against Davidson Matthew. On a board with of Ah-9c-8h, Davidson Matthew re-raised all in with 10h-4h and a flush draw. Joe Bartholdi thought about calling for a few minutes and even stood up to think. He decided to call with 9-5o. Bartholdi had middle pair and his read was right. Matthew was just on a flush draw. The turn and river did not improve Matthew's hand and he ended up finishing in second place.
Davidson Matthew is a small business owner from Toronto, Canada won his seat in the WPT World Championship after he won a $25 online satellite. He turned $25 into $1,903,950. For first place, Joe Bartholdi picked up $3,760,165 and he was awarded a free seat in the 2007 WPT Championship. Congrats to Joe for an amazing victory. He left the Bellagio $3.7 million richer. History was made at the Bellagio once again as the fourth season of the WPT concluded.
Here's the payouts for the final table:
Also, Congrats to Gavin Smith for winning the WPT Player of the Year. Well deserved!