After surviving three days of play and fighting through a field of 395 runners, Soheb Porbandarwala finished 2020 as the last player standing in New Jersey’s WPT Online Poker Open taking home the $239,820 first-place prize and admission into the WPT Champions Club.
The $3,500 buy-in tournament generated a prize pool of $1,264,000, shattering the $1 million guarantee and making it one of the largest events ever to take place on the partypoker US Network. It also made history as the first time that players in the United States could battle for a WPT Main Tour title by playing online.
Porbandarwala entered the final day as the chip leader and while he didn’t hold on to it for the entire final table, he won the day in convincing fashion by eliminating four of his final seven opponents and battling back from a short stack to defeat WPT LAPC final table chip leader Balakrishna Patur heads up for the trophy.
The day started with just eight players left, including Daniel Buzgon who was playing in his fourth WPT final table. Buzgon started the final table as the short stack and less than ten minutes in, found himself at risk. With the blinds at 350k/700k, Alex Farin opened on the button to 1.6 million holding and Buzgon, in the big blind with made the call. The flop came and Buzgon checked it over to Farin who bet another 1.6 million. Buzgon check-raised to 3.9 million and Farin responded by raising enough to put Buzgon all in. Buzgon made the call, way ahead, but the hit the turn leaving Buzgon looking for one of his two outs to hit the river. It wasn’t to be as the completed the board and Buzgon exited in eighth place for $28,727.
After Buzgon’s exit, the remaining seven players battled for nearly another hour before the next bust out. With the blinds at 500k/1M, Porbandarwala put in a raise to 2 million in early position with the . Tim Kuder made the call from the small blind holding . The flop came and Kuder checked it over to Porbandarwala who continued for 1.9 million. Kuder then check-raised with his flopped set to 5.2 million, prompting Porbandarwala to ship with his nut flush draw. Kuder called, and with his tournament on the line, the hit the turn. However, the came on the river giving Porbandarwala his flush and sending Kuder out the door in seventh place for $41,217.
The better part of another hour passed before Porbandarwala was back at it. With the blinds up to 600k/1.2M, Porbandarwala put in a raise to 2.6 million with . Farin three-bet to 6.8 million holding , leading to a four-bet shove from Porbandarwala. Farin made the call and the duo was off to the races. The flopped looked good for Farin’s pocket jacks, but when the spiked on the turn, he was down to just two outs. The on the river wasn’t one of them and Farin was knocked out in sixth place for $56,830.
Just after the blinds increased to 1M/2M, Obli Prabu completed the small blind with only to be shoved on by the bigger stack of Matt Iles in the big blind holding . Prabu made the quick call with the pocket pair and his tournament life on the line. The flop came , giving Iles the lead he wouldn’t lose through the turn and the river. His pocket kings cracked, Prabu collected $75,564 for a fifth-place finish.
‘anomalous’ was the next to fall at the hands of Porbandarwala. With the blinds up to 1.2M/2.4M, Porbandarwala raised holding the and ‘anomalous’ shoved his final 20bb stack with . Porbandarwala made the call with the dominating hand and the two watched as the board ran out , giving both players two pair but Porbandarwala out kicking his opponent. ‘anomalous’ fell in fourth place which was good for $95,948.
Three-handed play lasted roughly forty minutes when at 1.4M/2.8M blinds, Iles shoved his 17bb stack from the button with . Patur, who had taken over the chip lead, made the call holding . The flop gave Patur top pair and left Iles searching for help. The turn was the , leaving Iles looking for an ace on the river. Instead, it was the , which ended his tournament in third place for $127,398.
Even though he’d headed into the final table as the chip leader and held on to it for most of the day, Porbandarwala entered heads up play against Patur as the shorter of the two stacks. Patur kept his foot on the gas, continually chipping up, and at one point held a roughly 4-1 chip advantage.
But Porbandarwala battled back. He took back the lead by securing a couple of key double ups and picking off a big bluff. On the final hand of the tournament, with fewer than ten big blinds, Patur shoved from the small blind with . Porbandarwala made the easy call holding . The board missed both players and Porbandarwala took the hand and the WPT title with ace high. Patur settled for second place and a $164,868 payday but still has a chance to take home a title when the delayed LAPC live final table takes place at a future date.
Porbandarwala takes home $224,820 as the winner plus a $15,000 entry into the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions, a Hublot Big Band E Titanium watch, a set of Baccarat Crystal Beluga Highball Glasses as well as the honor of having his name added to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup.
Final Table Payouts
1. Soheb Porbandarwala – $224,820 + $15,000 WPT TOC ticket
2. Balakrishna Patur – $164,868
3. Matt Iles – $127,398
4. anomalous – $95,948
5. Obil Prabu – $75,565
6. Alex Farin – $56,830
7. Tim Kuder – $41,217
8. Daniel Buzgon – $28,727