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  1. [caption width="640"] Daniel Strelitz beat out a stacked final table to win the World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Former World Poker Tour One to Watch Daniel Strelitz lived up to the billing Thursday night in Los Angeles. The 27-year-old overcame a final table that included a poker living legend and two other WSOP bracelet winners to take down theWorld Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic and walk away with just over $1,000,000 in prize money. It took just seven hands to go from six players to five. The action opened with Strelitz raising to 85,000 from the button. Action folded to Richard Tuhrim in the big blind and he moved all in for 545,000. Strelitz called and showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"] but was behind Tuhrim's [poker card="as"][poker card="7s"]. The [poker card="7d"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3d"] flop didn't change anything and neither did the [poker card="9h"] turn but the [poker card="kh"] river gave Strelitz top pair and sent chess prodigy Tuhrim to the rail in sixth. The next elimination came in a blind vs blind battle almost 60 hands later. Action folded to Jesse Martin in the small blind and he moved all in for 745,000 and Jared Griener called from the big blind. Martin showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="6c"] and Griener tabled [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4h"][poker card="ah"] to eliminate Martin. Coming in to the final table all eyes were on WPT commentator Mike Sexton. Just a few short months after winning his first WPT title in Montreal, Sexton was at the LAPC final table seeking a second victory but it was snuffed out by Strelitz. Sexton moved all in from the button for 670,000 and action folded to Strelitz in the big blind. He called and showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="7s"] while Sexton showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="js"][poker card="7c"] flop was bad news for Sexton though and neither the [poker card="9c"] turn or [poker card="as"] river were any help and Sexton was out in fourth. Three-handed play lasted 65 hands. Strelitz opened to 225,000, Simeon Naydenov called from the small blind but Jared Griener moved all in from the big blind for 1,755,000. Strelitz got out of the way before Naydenov called and showed [poker card="8s"][poker card="8h"]. Griener had [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] and needed help. The [poker card="as"][[poker card="9c"][poker card="8d"] flop paired Griener's ace but gave Naydenov a set of eights. The [poker card="js"] turn gave Griener extra outs to a straight but the river was the [poker card="qc"] and he was out in third place. When heads-up play began Naydenov had 8,475,000 in chips to Strelitz's 7,150,000 but a key full house over flush hand early on changed the dynamic and paved the way for Strelitz's win. On the 38th hand of heads-up action, Strelitz raised to 260,000 and Naydenov called. After the [poker card="qs"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6s"] flop, Naydenov check-raised to 975,000. The [poker card="8h"] turn got Naydenov to check, Strelitz bet 1,350,000 and Naydenov raised all-in to 3,860,000. Strelitz called and showed [poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"] tor a turned straight while Naydenov had [poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"] for top pair. The [poker card="4d"] river changed nothing and Strelitz picked up his third elimination of the final table to win the first major title of his career. Final Table Payouts Daniel Streliz - $1,001,110 Simeon Naydenov - $672,190 Jared Griener - $431,340 Mike Sexton - $300,690 Jesse Martin - $230,380 Richard Tuhrim - $191,490
  2. The Season XVII World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic final table was set on Wednesday evening, with the tournament reaching its final six players from a field of 546 entries. The $10,000 buy-in event is now on a short break from action before the final table plays out on March 11, 2019, in Las Vegas. Four-time WPT champion Darren Elias topped the leaderboard entering the hiatus, with a first-place prize of $1.015 million awaiting the winner. The final six players were guaranteed $201,650. When action resumes on March 11, Elias will have a sizable lead on the other five. His stack of 9.07 million in chips in 41.5% of the chips in play and nearly double anyone else. Not only with Elias’ opponents have to battle with his powerful chip stack, but they’ll have to go up against a chip leader with an incredible amount of WPT experience. Elias holds the record for most World Poker Tour titles with four. Of the $6.628 million in live tournaments he had to enter this event, Elias had won more than $3.2 million in WPT events. He’s making his 33rd cash and 12th final table on the WPT Main Tour and is in line to earn an unprecedented fifth title. The reason for the delay is so that the event can move to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. That’s where the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s Season XVII television schedule alongside the WPT Gardens Poker Championship and WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. The final six in the WPT Gardens Poker Championship will play to a winner on March 12, and the final six of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open will grind to a champion on March 13. WPT L.A. Poker Classic Final Table Seat 1: Jean-Claude Moussa - 1,250,000 Seat 2: Matas Cimbolas - 4,675,000 Seat 3: John Smith - 895,000 Seat 4: Darren Elias - 9,070,000 Seat 5: David Baker - 4,760,000 Seat 6: Steve Yea - 1,205,000 The Grind To the Final Table The WPT L.A. Poker Classic remains one of the few $10,000 buy-in tournaments with a freezeout format. Blake Bohn emerged as the Day 1 chip leader, and Andrey Zaichenko was atop the pack after Day 2. Day 3 brought about the money bubble, as 69 players of the 546-entry field would reach the money. On Day 3, 108 players returned to action and began to work their way towards a payday. Eventually, Andy Park busted in 70th place when he found the last of his chips in the middle on the flop of [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kh"][poker card=“5h"] holding the [poker card="Ad"][poker card=“Jd"] for top pair. He was up against the [poker card="Ah"][poker card=“7h"] of Oscar Carrasco. Park had the lead on the flop due to his kicker, but Carrasco had plenty of outs thanks to holding a flush draw. The turn and river were the [poker card=“4h"] and [poker card=“Qh”], respectively, giving Carrasco his flush and busting Park on the bubble. From there, players began to pile up in the payouts, including Bohn going out in 68th, Billy Baxter bowing out in 51st, Adam Levy busting in 49th, Mike Del Vecchio falling in 41st, and Gordon Vayo hitting the rail in 36th place. Vayo, who famously dropped his lawsuit against PokerStars, was the final elimination to take place on Day 3 and he scored $26,830 for his finish. With 35 players remaining, David Baker headed the charge into Day 4. Baker entered the event with only one WPT Main Tour final table on his résumé and just more than $4.4 million in live tournament earnings. On Day 4, Baker busted Brock Wilson in 34th, Douglas Smith in 22nd, Carrasco in 19th, and Zaichenko in 18th en route to leading the final 12 players heading into Day 5. Elias came into Day 5 second in chips behind Baker. He stumbled out of the gate when Mike Meskin doubled through him, but Elias was back in form after taking a big pot from Tony Tran before busting the fellow WPT Champions Club member a short while later in 11th place. After Jeffrey Colpitts was eliminated by Matas Cimbolas in 10th place, Elias sought revenge on Meskin by busting him in ninth. Paul Fontan would later fall in eighth place to Baker, and after that, it was a series of double ups that tried to derail Elias. First, Jean-Claude Moussa doubled through Elias, not once but twice. Then, it was Steve Yea’s turn to double through Elias. The four-time WPT champion steadied the ship each time and would go on to bust James Carroll in seventh place and set the official final table. On the final hand of Day 5, Elias opened to 100,000 from the hijack seat with the blinds at 25,000-50,000 with a 50,000 ante. Carroll reraised all in for 800,000 from the cutoff position and Elias called with the [poker card="Ks"][poker card=“Qs”]. Carroll had the dominated [poker card="Kc"][poker card=“Jh”]. The flop, turn, and river came [poker card="8h"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="9d"][poker card=“3s”] to eliminate Carroll in seventh position. He took home $155,900 in prize money and Elias soared into the final table with the chip lead. Elias Continues To Shine as "Mr. WPT" If there was a player to be named “Mr. WPT,” it would be Darren Elias. His run on the World Poker Tour is tremendous and he now has a chance to claim a record fifth WPT title. Elias’ first WPT title came in the Season XIII WPT Borgata Poker Open, when Elias topped a field of 1,226 entries to win $843,744 and his first World Poker Tour title. Less than a month later, Elias topped a small but tough field of 118 entries in the WPT Caribbean for a score of $127,680. Elias’ third WPT title came in Season XV when he scored first place in the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic for $346,776. He then won the final event of Season XI, the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, for $387,580. Not only would a victory be Elias’ fifth World Poker Tour trophy, but he’d earned the largest payday of his live tournament career. Right now, the result is the eighth largest score of Elias’ live tournament career. [caption id="attachment_623019" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Matas Cimbolas looking for second WPT title (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Cimbolas Also Looking for Another WPT Title Matas Cimbolas, a Lithuanian player who won the Season XIII WPT Nottingham title for €313,327, is also looking to add another WPT Champions Cup to his trophy case. He’ll enter the final table third in chips with 4.675 million. Interestingly, this won’t be the first time Cimbolas and Elias share the stage at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. To close Season XVI of the World Poker Tour, both Cimbolas and Elias reached the WPT Tournament of Champions final table. Cimbolas finished second to Matt Waxman for $265,590, and Elias took third for $177,060. Waxman won that event for $463,375. [caption id="attachment_623020" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] David Baker is chasing his first WPT title and a career-best score (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Baker Chasing First WPT Title and Career-Best Result David Baker has put countless hours into poker. In 2012, he finally won the elusive WSOP gold bracelet. Now he has a chance to win his first WPT title and comes into the final table second in chips with 4.76 million. Baker has one previous WPT final table on record, coming back in Season V when he took fifth in the WPT Festa Al Lago tournament for $125,240. Money-wise, this is his best WPT result, but he’ll need to jump up two more places to make it his top finish. Second place or better will give Baker the largest tournament score of his live poker career. A win would mean his first World Poker Tour title and first million dollar tournament payday. Final Table Takes Place On March 11 The final table for the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic takes place March 11 at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s televised schedule of events, plus the live stream can be viewed on PokerGO. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan.
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