By Scott Carlson, Rakeback.com Senior Writer
Nearly $20 million in career tournament earnings made up the final table of the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic. When the dust settled, Antonio Esfandiari would take down the title along with the $870,124 first place prize. Not a bad present on the day he turned 32. Esfandiari entered the final table fifth in chips. The starting stacks of all players at the beginning were:
Seat 1. Antonio Esfandiari - 2,105,000 (35 bb)
Seat 2. Vanessa Rousso - 5,830,000 (97 bb)
Seat 3. Ted Lawson - 635,000 (10 bb)
Seat 4. John Racener - 3,235,000 (53 bb)
Seat 5. Kirk Morrison - 2,650,000 (44 bb)
Seat 6. Andrew Robl - 3,210,000 (53 bb)
The first player was eliminated on just the second hand of the night when a short stacked Ted Lawson shoved with pocket nines into chip leader and Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso's queens and he was out.
It took until the 47th hand to see the next elimination. Kirk Morrison hit the rail when he called with top pair on the turn and was drawing dead against Andrew Robl's set.
Full Tilt sponsored John Racener was the next to bow out of the final table. He was down to a 10 big blind stack and shoved his Q-8 into Antonio Esfandiari's K-Q. The board didn't improve Racener's hand and he was out in 4th.
Vanessa Rousso's run ended in third place. She was looking to become the first woman to win a WPT crown. Her title shot ended when her Q-2 was dominated by Esfandiari's A-Q. She didn't catch the 2 she was looking for and was eliminated.
When heads-up play began the two Victory Poker sponsored players were fairly even in chips with Robl holding a slight lead. Both had between 40 and 50 big blinds so it was shaping up to be a long heads-up battle. It proved to be exactly that when it took 58 more hands to end the tournament. Esfandiari's K-J held against Robl's Q-10 and the birthday boy took it down. Check out his interview with Kimberly Lansing.
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