Taylor Black started the final table of the 2021 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event with more than half the chips in play, and, in the end, topped the 716-entry field to claim his first WPT title and a career-high $1,241,430 score.
With Black holding such a massive chip advantage, the Five Diamond Main Event had the makings of a rather quick final table. But instead, the deep structure allowed for plenty of play and, by the time the table became four-handed, the chip stacks nearly evened out and Black’s intimidating lead had disappeared.
However, Black quickly bounced back into the chip lead, eliminated three of his last five opponents, and survived the tense, drama-filled final table that brought the World Poker Tour’s Season XIX to a close.
It took over an hour for the first elimination of the night. David Kim started the final table fourth in chips but never really was able to get much going. After short stack Lorenzo Lavis doubled through Kim when Lavis’ moved all -n with and held against Kim’s on a board, Kim was left with just two big blinds.
Two hands later, Kim made his last stand. Black, from late position, raised to 200,000 with his and Kim called for the rest of his chips with the and Gianluca Speranza defended his big blind. The flop came and after Speranza checked, Black put out a bet of 250,000 and Speranza called to create a side pot. The turn was the and Speranza checked again to Black who fired another 500,000. After a short tank, Speranza folded and the cards were turned up, showing Kim that he was drawing dead to the river. Kim made his exit in sixth place for $261,235.
Moshin Charania was navigating the short stack, doubling not once but twice trying to get back into the thick of the final table. But soon after, it was Charania who was being doubled through by Vik Shegal leaving Charania with just five big blinds. With the blinds at 75,000/125,000 (125,000 bb ante) Charania moved all-in from under the gun holding the and Black called from the small blind with the . The flop came keeping Charania’s ten-high ahead in the hand but Black had straight, flush, and pair outs. The turn was the , bringing in the flush for Black and sending Charania home in fifth place for $342,645 before the completed the board.
Nearly three hours of four-handed play took place with chips being passed back and forth and the chip lead being claimed by a number of players. Eventually, the blinds climbed to 125,000, 250,000 (250,000 ante), and Lavis was sitting on fewer than 20 big blinds. Folded to Lavis in the small blind, he completed holding the and, in the big blind, Black raised to 650,000 with his and Lavis called. The flop came , giving Black top pair and Lavis a king-high flush draw. Lavis checked the action to Black who bet 600,000, and Lavis check-raised for the rest of his stack, some 3.8 million. With top pair, Black made the call putting Lavis at risk. The turn came the , changing nothing, and the river was the ending Lavis’ run in fourth place for $454,590.
After all that time between the eliminations of fifth and fourth place, it was unexpected that the next would take place just two hands later. After Black folded the button, Vik Shegal shoved his 7 million chip stack from the small blind with into the small stack of Gianluca Speranza. Speranza, with less than 10 big blinds, called the shove and put his tournament life on the line with the . The board ran out keeping Shegal’s pocket eights ahead the entire time and sending Speranza out in third place for $609,960.
At the start of heads-up play, Black held roughly a two-to-one chip advantage over Shegal which he quickly extended to three-to-one. It took just 11 hands between Black and Shegal to decide the tournament as on Hand 195, it all came to an end.
On the final hand, Black raised to 500,000 with the and Shegal three-bet shoved his final 7.5 million in chips with the . Black called and the pair watched as the board ran out , allowing Black’s top pair to take the hand and the trophy. Shegal ended up as the runner-up and took home a healthy $827,620.
Black ended up with a new top line to his poker resume, the second million-dollar score of his career, and a date in the future to have his name added to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup.
With the conclusion of the Five Diamond Main Event, the World Poker Tour’s season comes to a conclusion with the tour’s 20th Anniversary season kicking off on January 21 with the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
WPT Five Diamond Final Table Results
Taylor Black – $1,241,430
Vic Shegal – $827,620
Gianlucj Speranza – $609,960
Lorenzo Lavis – $454,590
Moshin Charania – $342,645
David Kim – $261,235