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The longest running tournament series in LA – L.A. Poker Classic came back for its 25th anniversary edition with Season XVI WPT L.A. Poker Classic $10,000 Championship at Commerce Casino. The event drew a total of 493 entries to create a staggering prize pool amounting to $4,681,035 with the top 62 places reaching the money line ($1 million top prize secured for the winner). Dennis Blieden (cover image) emerged victorious and lifted the WPT Champions trophy along with the million bucks top prize which included a $15,000 entry into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.
Blieden also received a Commerce Casino Remington trophy, a Hublot Big Bang Steel watch, and a $5,000 JetSmarter membership. Blieden’s name will be inscribed on the one-and-only WPT Champions Cup, alongside every other WPT champion from across all 16 seasons.
The six-day event’s money bubble burst on Day 3 with the elimination of Maria Konnikova in 63rd place. She was ousted by Ben Zamani when her pocket jacks lost to Zamani’s .
The field was a star-studded one and many notables picked up scores including Aaron Kaiser (9th for $88,590), Garrett Greer (11th for $70,820), Phil Hellmuth (15th for $46,940), Chance Kornuth (16th for $46,940), James Rann (18th for $38,940), Josh Kay (21st for $32,710), Mike Sowers (24th for $32,710), Ubaid Habib (32nd for $27,830), Joe McKeehen (37th for $23,990), Kristina Holst (40th for $23,990), Sam Phillips (44th for $20,950), Jake Bazeley (50th for $18,550), Alex Lynskey (54th for $18,550), Ben Keeline (60th for $16,640) and Rainer Kempe (62nd for $16,640).
The six-handed final table was set after Greg Paryani`s exit in seventh place for $143,740.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Toby Lewis – 5,390,000
2. Dennis Blieden – 4,125,000
3. Marc Macdonnell – 1,695,000
4. Derek Wolters – 1,520,000
5. Peter Hengsakul – 1,065,000
6. Manuel Martinez – 985,000
Toby Lewis started the final table with an overwhelming chip lead with eventual champion Blieden a distant second and there was a huge gap on the leaderboard before Marc Macdonnell’s name showed up third in chips.
Action was dauntingly fast as the first elimination came in just six hands in short stacked Manuel Martinez. Martinez opened, Dennis Blieden called and the flop opened . Martinez bet 50,000, and Blieden check-raised to 175,000. Martinez called to see the turn . Blieden bet 230,000, and Martinez tank shoved holding :@12. Blieden snap-called with for a full house and Martinez needed a queen on the river to stay alive. The river completed the board and it was all over for Martinez.
The next elimination took just another 8 hands with the shortest stacked Peter Hengsakul hitting the rail. Blieden opened, Hengsakul jammed with and Blieden called with after using one of his Time Chips having tanked for about 50 seconds. The board ran and Blieden won the pot with two pairs to eliminate Hengsakul in fifth place.
The pace of eliminations slowed down considerably and the next player walked out on the 57th hand of the day in Marc Macdonnell who shoved with and Toby Lewis called with . Lewis flopped a set on the board , to eliminate Macdonnell in fourth place.
Exactly 20 hands later, Derek Wolters shoved with , and Blieden snap called with . Blieden rivered the nut flush on the board and busted Wolters to set up the heads-up finale with Lewis.
Hand 79 went on to become the final hand of the event where Lewis bet 120,000, Dennis Blieden 3-bet to 300,000, and Lewis 4-bet to 750,000. Blieden called to see the flop , Lewis bet 400,000, and Blieden check-called. On the turn , Lewis announced all-in and Blieden tanked a bit before calling with for two pairs. Lewis turned over for lower two pairs, and lost out on the title as the completed the last board of the tournament.
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Dennis Blieden – $1,000,000*
2. Toby Lewis – $600,630
3. Derek Wolters – $430,210
4. Marc Macdonnell – $319,310
5. Peter Hengsakul – $244,430
6. Manuel Martinez – $186,235
* includes a $15,000 entry into WPT Tournament of Champions