Black Wins WPT Five Diamond to End Season XIX
The World Poker Tour just finished a year of dodging pandemic hurdles only to face more of them right at the end. Nevertheless, the WPT wrapped Season XIX in style in Las Vegas this week.
Just before the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event began, the tour headed to Vegas. With some pandemic protocols in place – masks, sanitization, etc. – the WPT needed only fade a week of the Covid-19 surge happening around the country. They had finished the stop at the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida at the end of November, which took them to Sin City for the finale.
They did it. At least one Five Diamond player announced his positive Covid-19 test results after busting from the WPT tournament, but contact tracing may stunt that spread. But as the number of positive cases rose from coast to coast, the WPT did close off its final table to spectators. With that, they played it out and found a new WPT champion.
Big Buy-in at Bellagio
The last stop of WPT’s Season XIX was one of the original World Poker Tour partners from the first season. Bellagio was in the midst of its Five Diamond World Poker Classic series and brought in the WPT to host the Main Event. It was a $10K buy-in, the largest of the season, and it got underway on December 15.
The first and only starting day of the tournament brought in 561 entries, though registration remained open through the first break on Day 2. That first night ended with 280 players still holding chips, and John Flynt had the chip lead with 324,500 in his bag.
When that registration period did close, the board showed 716 total entries and a resulting $6,945,200 prize pool. That was enough to pay out the top 90 finishers at least $18,110. And the winner would take home more than $1.24M.
The event attracted a total of 716 entries, creating a prize pool of $6,945,200.
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) December 16, 2021
Day 2 finished with 106 players still in the running and Ben Hamnett in the lead with 800K chips.
💎 – Live Updates – https://t.co/u7iXidUanF
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) December 17, 2021
Day 3 quickly burst through the money bubble. Players like Nate Silver and Jeremy Ausmus, Landon Tice and David Baker were among the first to head to the cashier cage. Later in the evening, Erik Seidel and Brad Berman busted, as did Andrew Lichtenberger. Mike Liang’s exit in 30th place for $38,890 closed out the action for that day.
The fourth day started with just 29 players and Gianluca Speranza in the lead with 2.36M chips. Matt Berkey and Ray Qartomy were among the first to hit the rail, followed by Aaron Massey and Elio Fox. Pat Lyons busted in ninth place for $124,145 and Dylan Linde in eighth for $157,220. Taylor Black led the final seven and Bryn Kenney struggled. Ultimately, Black eliminated Kenney in seventh place for $201,480.
That set the final table as follows:
-Taylor Black = 17M chips (nearly 60% of chips in play)
-Gianluca Speranza = 4.625M chips
-Vikenty Shegal = 3.275M chips
-David Kim = 1.4M chips
-Mohsin Charania = 1.175M chips
-Lorenzo Lavis = 1.15M chips
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) December 19, 2021
Betting on Black
Play took place at the HyperX Esports Arena, located just down the Las Vegas Strip at the Luxor.
Lavis was ready to move and did so on the first and second hands but received no action. Shegal climbed, but Black maintained control overall. Lavis moved all-in a few orbits later, but he and Speranza chopped that pot. But in the next orbit, Lavis did double through Kim, leaving the latter with just 250K chips. Two hands later, Kim put those chips into the pot with A_K suited. Speranza and Black played along until Black and his pocket fives made a set. A king on the turn brought hope but nothing else on the river sent Kim out in sixth place.
Charania had struggled throughout the first few dozen hands but did double up through Black to stay alive on the 61st hand. Lavis also doubled through Black, and Charania doubled again, that time through Speranza. Shegal doubled through Charania, though, and the latter put his 575K all-in with T-3 of hearts. Black called with 8-6 of diamonds, and he turned a diamond flush to beat the trips of Charania. The longtime pro departed in fifth place.
Play then continued for dozens more hands. Lavis and Shegal kept doubling when necessary. At the same time, Black dropped from more than 20M chips to just 10M, and Speranza took over the lead. Lavis soon took over that spot as Black dropped to 5M. Black did double through Speranza, though, and began to recover. More than 180 hands into the final table, Lavis found himself at risk again. He had K-4 of clubs on a flop of A-Q-3 with two clubs. Black called with A-T, and the flush never got there. Lavis left in fourth place.
Two hands later, Speranza shoved with A-3 suited, and Shegal turned over pocket eights. The board allowed the eights to hold to push Speranza out in third place.
Heads-up play began with Black holding 19.15M chips to the 9.475M of Shegal. Fewer than a dozen hands in, Shegal pushed with A-8, and Black called with A-K. The board of K-T-6-Q-9 gave Black the victory and a ticket into the WPT Champions Club.
|Season XIX||$10K||WPT Bellagio Five Diamond Poker Classic|
|Total prize pool:||$6,945,200.00|
|Final table results:||1st place:||Taylor Black ($1,241,430)|
|2nd place:||Vik Shegal ($827,620)|
|3rd place:||Gianluca Speranza ($609,960)|
|4th place:||Lorenzo Lavis ($454,590)|
|5th place:||Mohsin Charania ($342,645)|
|6th place:||David Kim ($261,235)|
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) December 20, 2021
(All information courtesy of WPT live updates.)