The $10,000 Bobby Baldwin Classic at ARIA in Las Vegas, Nevada put together a loaded field of 162 entrants for the last open event of Season XVI on the World Poker Tour.
The final table was one of the most decorated in the history of the World Poker Tour with eight combined WPT titles and a WSOP Main Event bracelet sitting among them.
WPT Champions Club member Darren Elias finished the job he started in Jacksonville earlier this season and won his record fourth title.
Final table lineup
Seat 1: Dietrich Fast – 801,000
Seat 2: Jonathan Little – 300,000
Seat 3: Sam Panzica – 566,000
Seat 4: Darren Elias – 2,127,000
Seat 5: Kitty Kuo – 683,000
Seat 6: Joe McKeehen – 385,000
Close but no cigar for many of poker’s best
Only 21 players made the money in the Bobby Baldwin Classic but the list of players who cashed reads like a Hendon Mob all-time money list rundown. Among those who almost made the final table were WPT Champions Jared Jaffee and Kevin Eyster. 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event final tablist Bryan Piccioli bowed out in 14th place, shy of his third career WPT final table.
U.S. Poker Open Champion Stephen Chidwick took ninth, setting himself up for a potential run in Super High Roller Bowl.
Phil Hellmuth almost made his second final table of Season XVI. Hellmuth lost with pocket tens to Elias’ queens to exit in seventh. Always entertaining, Hellmuth and Ray Qartomy exchanged words as captured by Little.
— Jonathan Little (@JonathanLittle) May 23, 2018
Fast, Little, and Panzica fall shy of another title
The odds favored a repeat WPT winner based on the lineup of the Bobby Baldwin Classic final table. Elias was the only player with three but Panzica and Little both had the chance to win their third. Fast won the L.A. Poker Classic in Season XIV and the Bobby Baldwin Classic represented his first final table since.
Little took sixth after entering the final table as the shortest stack. Panzica took out Little when his ace-four paired up against Little’s ace-jack to send Little to the payout desk.
Panzica peaked when he busted Little and had a chance to accumulate more chips versus McKeehen. The two players flipped for 650,000 and McKeehen came out on top when his deuces beat Panzica’s ace-queen. McKeehen flopped a set and faded the broadway draw of Panzica by filling up on the turn. Panzica lost another flip to Elias a few orbits later to earn fifth place.
Second in chips when the final table started, Fast gained little traction and was eliminated by Kuo is rough fashion. Fast was all-in with pocket aces against Kuo’s nut flush draw on the flop. Kuo hit her flush on the turn and Fast waits another day for his second title.
McKeehen misses history by inches
Needing to win the Bobby Baldwin Classic to overtake Art Papazyan for Player of the Year honors, McKeehen put forth a tremendous effort in pursuit of his first career WPT win.
McKeehen was a 70 percent favorite to be the chip leader with three players remaining but was cut down by Elias.
Elias opened the button to 45,000 and McKeehen kicked it up to 180,000 from the big blind. The three-bet was met by an all-in by Elias for 1,465,000 effective. McKeehen called with ace-queen and was in great shape against the ace-deuce of Elias.
The deck bailed out Elias when a deuce flopped and McKeehen would have to settle for his second third-place finish of Season XVI. McKeehen finished his campaign with three final tables and six cashes.
Elias closes out Kuo
Heads up play between Elias and Kuo opened with Elias holding a three-to-one chip lead. Kuo was game for the battle but couldn’t overcome destiny.
On the 103rd hand of heads-up play and 174th hand of the final table, Kuo was all-in for 600,000 with ace-five against the ace-ten of Elias. Kuo turned a straight draw but bricked the river and Elias locked up his fourth WPT win.
Final Table Results
1st: Darren Elias – $387,580
2nd: Kitty Kuo – $248,380
3rd: Joe McKeehen – $178,610
4th: Dietrich Fast – $130,895
5th: Sam Panzica – $97,795
6th: Jonathan Little – $74,520
Lead image courtesy of World Poker Tour/Flickr