For nearly 15 years Mike Sexton has been the voice of World Poker Tour broadcasts. Thursday night in Montreal the Poker Hall of Famer was unable to be in the broadcast booth as he was busy adding his name to the WPT Champions Cup after overcoming Benny Chen heads-up to win the partypoker.net WPT Montreal event and $317,896.
Sexton outlasted a field of 648 players at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal to win the first WPT title of his career. He now has over $6 million in lifetime earnings, a World Series of Poker bracelet and a Tournament of Champions title.
The final table included Chen, the first winner of the WSOP Millionaire Maker and highly respected pro Jake Schwartz, who had two previous WPT final table appearances to his credit before this event.
Schwartz came in to the final table with the second shortest but wasn’t able to outlast anybody. Action folded to Schwartz in the small blind and he jammed 695,000 in the middle with only to have Nadir Lalji, the only player who started with a shorter stack, called from the big blind with . The board ran out to give Lalji the hand and eliminate Schwartz in sixth.
Sexton started the final table with the lead, but right behind him was Ema Zajmovic. Those two tangled in a big pot early on that saw Zajmovic’s run end. From the cutoff, Sexton raised to 250,000 with before Zajmovic moved all in for 2,065,000 with . Sexton called and the flop, turn or river were no help for Zajmovic and she was out in fifth place. Through 15 seasons of the WPT events, no woman has ever won an open event title.
Chen claimed his first victim at the final table a little over an hour later in a blind vs blind battle. Action folded to Chen in the small blind and he called with before Ilan Boujenah moved all in for 1,325,000 with and Chen called instantly. The flop left Boujenah drawing to runner-runner, but the turn was no help for him and the river gave Chen a full house. Boujenah was eliminated in fourth.
Over the next 45 minutes Chen and Sexton took turns with the chip lead. Caught in the middle was Lalji who fell victim to another pocket pair from Sexton. Chen folded his button, Sexton raised to 375,000 from the small blind with and then called when Lalji moved all in for 2,200,000 total with . The flop put Sexton well ahead. Lalji got no love on the turn or river to end his run at the title in third.
Heads up play between Chen and Sexton began with Chen holding 10,575,000 chips to Sexton’s 8,875,000. The pair played heads-up for nearly four hours with Chen holding the lead for almost all of that. Sexton took the chip lead for the first time after 155 hands between the two players and then ended things two hands later. Chen open-shoved all in for 8,150,000 with and Sexton called with . The door card put Sexton ahead and the remaining board of sealed the deal and gave Sexton his first WPT title.
Sexton has twice been unable to be in the broadcast booth at the start of a WPT final table because he was playing. The first occurred in 2011 (Season 9) when he made the Bay 101 Shooting Star final table, eventually finishing sixth. The second came in 2013 (Season 11) when he finished third at the WPT Venice Grand Prix.
On Thursday night Sexton’s normal commentary seat was filled by Raw Deal host Tony Dunst.
Final Table Payouts
- Mike Sexton – $317,896
- Benny Chen – $213,515
- Nadir Lalji – $136,806
- Ilan Boujenah – $99,067
- Ema Zajmovic – $76,127
- Jake Schwartz – $61,000