Antonio Esfandiari Wins 2010 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic At Bellagio Casino.
LAS VEGAS, NV - It's been a banner year for the World Poker Tour(R) with five of six Season IX events showing double-digit percentage attendance jumps. New expansion events in the US and Europe; new Regional and National Series events; new on-air talent, and a renewed energy on WPT tournament floors mark the new changes. At each stop this season, WPT has showcased a variety of revolutionary enhancements and intense table action that continued this week at Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Antonio Esfandiari took home the 2010 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker, besting the most accomplished final table of the season and a strong tournament field of 438 entrants that saw a 33% increase over 2009 attendance.
Joining Esfandiari in the final six were: Vanessa "Lady Maverick" Rousso, John Racener, Kirk Morrison, Andrew Robl and Ted Lawson. Combined, those six players have amassed three World Poker Tour titles, three World Series of Poker bracelets, more than a dozen major tournament victories, dozens of final tables and more than $17 million in career earnings.
Esfandiari took the chip lead early on Day 1 and held it at the end of Days 2, 3 and 4. His domination of the field ended on Day 5 when he lost two major hands to Vanessa Rousso helping establish her as the new chip leader. Play began with the crowd singing Happy Birthday to the now short-stacked Esfandiari who turned 32 on final table day. With Ted Lawson eliminated on the second hand followed by Kirk Morrison and John Racener shortly thereafter, the remaining three players entered into an intense battle for the title. Rousso, Esfandiari and Robl each took turns as chip leader and short stack, each making seemingly impossible calls and folding huge pots to the others. Eventually, Esfandiari's birthday luck held up when his AQ broke Rousso's Q2 and ended her quest to become the only woman ever to win a WPT buy-in event.
Heads up came down to two long time friends- Robl, an established cash game player looking to make a name for himself in the tournament arena, and Esfandiari, a well known pro seeking to take down his second WPT title after a long absence from the final table felt. In the end it was Esfandiari who came out on top when his KJ busted Robl's Q10, earning Esfandiari the WPT title and $870,124, including a $25,500 buy-in to the season-ending WPT World Championship.
"It feels damn good. I'm not gonna lie," said Esfandiari. "It was legendary. It was tough. Fun. Exciting. All of the above and it was so exciting to come out on top. I don't think it has sunk in yet... By far hands down one of the best birthdays ever!"
Arguably, the second most impressive feat of the tournament, behind Esfandiari's victory, was the legendary Doyle Brunson's play in his namesake event. The Hall of Famer entered the fray late in the action taking his seat at the start of level 9 that was both well into Day 2 and the last possible moment allowed under tournament rules. Brunson finished 18th after weaving his way through a brutally tough field including Phil Ivey, Justin Young, Alan Goehring, Johnny Chan, Chris Ferguson, Faraz Jaka, Freddy Deeb, Barry Greenstein, Tony Dunst, Kara Scott, Jason Koon, defending 2009 Five Diamond Champion Daniel Alaei and WPT Season IX Champions Randal Flowers, Dwyte Pilgrim and Andy Frakenberger.
The Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio kicked off with a media preview party, showcasing the many changes to the upcoming TV season of the World Poker Tour. Debuting on FSN on Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 8:00PM and 11:00 PM, the show is completely revolutionized. For Season IX, fans will see all the same great poker action they would expect from the WPT but with an entirely new look and a more sports-like feel. WPT has spiced things up with one of a kind player interviews, play down coverage, Kimberly Lansing as show anchor, Tony Dunst as WPT's analyst for The Raw Deal, and, of course, the Royal Flush Girls.
"We were excited to premiere the new WPT here at Bellagio and give players and fans a taste of the new enhancements in store this season," said Adam Pliska, President of World Poker Tour. "Back in 2002, the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Classic was the inaugural stop of the World Poker Tour. It is only fitting that we return to Bellagio where it all began to unveil the all new WPT."
See the preview clip at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sjk10PcwGvo.
Final Table Standings and Payouts
1. Antonio Esfandiari, $870,124
2. Andrew Robl, $549,003
3. Vanessa Rousso, $358,964
4. John Racener, $232,271
5. Kirk Morrison, $168,924
6. Ted Lawson, $126,693
World Poker Tour (WPT) is one of the most recognized names in internationally televised gaming and entertainment with brand presence in land-based tournaments, television, online and mobile. Leading innovation in the sport of poker since 2002, WPT ignited the global poker boom with the creation of a unique television show based on a series of high stakes poker tournaments. WPT has filmed more than 350 hours of programming broadcast in over 150 countries & territories and is current filming its all-new ninth season, which will air on FSN. WPT is a subsidiary of PartyGaming Plc.
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