2 Minutes Read
The first World Poker Tour (WPT) Season XVIII champion has been crowned! The premier poker brand’s Main Tour lineup for the year has a total of 17 stops across the U.S. and other international locations, and the first of them, WPT Gardens Poker Festival, played out at The Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, California from July 12-27.
Headlining the 23-event series was the $5,000 Main Event that enjoyed a five-day run from July 20-25. In the end, it was Roger Teska who came out on top in the $5,000 buy-in event. Teska outran a field of 373 entries to win the title and the $368,475 cash prize accompanying it.
A trio of former Indian bracelet winners, namely, Nipun Java, Aditya Sushant, and Abhinav Iyer, were in attendance at the event and all three of them advanced to Day 2 – Java making it from Day 1A while Sushant and Iyer advanced from Day 1B. However, Java was the only one among them to enter Day 3 with Sushant and Iyer hitting the rail empty-handed on Day 2.
Entering Day 3 with a stack of 126,000, Java did well to spin it up, eventually bagging 605,000 for Day 4. Java, unfortunately, had a very short stint on Day 4 and was the first one to be eliminated. He got his money in holding pocket jacks and was a small favorite against Lior Orel’s ace-king before the latter flopped a better pair. Java hit the rail in 11th place collecting $28,445 (~ ₹19.59 Lakhs) for his efforts.
Talking about the 34-year-old champion, Teska is a celebrated poker pro with nearly $2.9 Million in live tournament winnings even before this win. He had most notably won the $25.5K partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Caribbean Poker Party last November for $2 Million.
“I’m drinking, having fun, and I’m definitely the least concerned about leveling up of anybody in the field. Maybe that gave me a little bit of an edge. A cocktail helps me stay loose I think and definitely if I take it too far I’ll just punt off a stack, but I seem to do alright,” said Teska obviously in high spirits after his impressive win.
The money bubble burst on Day 3. The day had started with 54 runners and with 48 places paid, the hand-for-hand play was initiated reasonably early in the day. The money bubble ultimately fell upon Joel Feldman and Tam Nguyen who were both eliminated on adjacent tables and split the 47th place payout, taking home $4,665 each.
Only 11 players advanced to Day 4, and it took five hours to get to the six-handed final table.
Elio Fox (18th for $16,150), four-time WSOP champion Max Pescatori (28th for $11,910) and Jared Jaffee (34th for $10,460) were among the prominent names on the payouts list.
Eric Hicks (7th for $56,860) and Maria Ho (8th for $44,525) were the last few eliminations before the six-handed final table was formed.
The six remaining finalists were all guaranteed to win $73,600 payday, but all eyes were on the coveted WPT title and $3658,475 top prize that included a seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, and the 2019 BMW X1 car worth $40,000 on offer by the Gardens Casino.
Final Table Chip Counts
Final Table Recap
The two short stacks, Cord Garcia and Andrew Wisdom, were the first ones out in sixth and fifth place respectively.
The play slowed down then, and it took some time before Lars Kamphues was sent packing in fourth place, his pocket jacks coolered by Teska’s ace-queen that rivered a better pair.
Several hands later, Lior Orel hit the rail in third place. The action saw Laszlo Molnar making a raise of 300,000 from the button. Orel three-bet from the big blind for 1 Million. In response, Molnar moved all-in for 7 Million, and Orel called for 4.95 Million.
The board ran and Molnar, who had hit a set scooped the pot sending Orel out.
The heads-up between Laszlo Molnar and Teska began with Molnar holding a commanding chip lead with 12.27 Million against Teska’s 2.65 Million. An early double-up by Teska saw him close the distance and he continued his upward climb. Before long, Teska had taken charge, and soon the final hand was dealt. On the last hand of the tournament, Molnar moved all-in on the button for 1.475 Million with , and big blind Teska called with . Molnar was at risk, but the flop gave him additional outs to a straight. He added flush draw outs on the turn and needed a club, king, queen or ten to stay in the race, but the river card landed the declaring Teska the champion!
Final Table Results (USD)
*includes $15,000 entry into the WPT Tournament of Champions
Content & Images Courtesy: World Poker Tour