This marked the first time since Season XIII the Lucky Hearts Poker Open was featured on the WPT schedule. The $2 million guarantee was easily surpassed, and 114 players got their share of the over $2.9 million prize pool.
The final table played out on the fifth day of action and was live streamed with Jeff Gross providing commentary. A sizable 209 hands took place before Fish emerged in dramatic fashion to etch his name on the Champions Cup.
Final table lineup
Seat 1: Brett Bader – 3,160,000 (53 bb)
Seat 2: Darryll Fish – 5,920,000 (99 bb)
Seat 3: Alan Krockey – 2,810,000 (47 bb)
Seat 4: Aleksandr Shevelev – 6,960,000 (116 bb)
Seat 5: Andy Frankenberger – 2,170,000 (36 bb)
Seat 6: Ness Reilly – 6,295,000 (105 bb)
Early eliminations pace the final table
The first player to exit the final table stage was the lone recreational player at the final table, Alan Krockey. On Hand #19, Krockey was all-in with ace-queen offsuit and fighting an uphill battle against Ness Reilly’s pocket kings. No help arrived on the board and Krockey departed back to Chicago with $104,784.
Next to go was Floridian Brett Bader. Aleksandr Shevelev flopped better with ace-king against Bader’s pocket queens and the Russian dealt the fatal blow to his American foe.
Four-handed play lasted for 25 hands before Reilly met her demise. Reilly final tabled the WPTDeepStacks Hollywood Main Event to open the Lucky Hearts series and earned a career-high $182,249 for her performance in this WPT event. Fish eliminated Reilly when his ace-ten connected to defeat her wired jacks, taking her last 10 big blinds in the process.
Down goes Frankenberger
The lone World Poker Tour Champions Club member at the final table was Season IX Legends of Poker winner Andy Frankenberger. The former WPT Player of the Year started the final table as the short stack and climbed three play ladders thanks to timely double ups and well-timed laydowns. Frankenberger will now have to wait for at chance at his second title.
With the blinds at 60,000/120,000, Frankenberger pushed with two sevens for 2.305 million. Fish woke up with a suited ace-jack and called to put Frankenberger at risk. A jack turned for Fish and Frankenberger departed with a podium finish.
Fish closes out the title
Fish entered heads up play against Shevelev with a lead as the two proceeded to battle for over four hours.
The two exchanged the chip lead for most of their match which lasted 120 hands. Shevelev took control late with a double when he hit a wheel with ace-four to overcome Fish’s pocket fours. The match then turned completely with the last double-up of the night.
Fish won an all-in with pocket nines versus the threes of Shevelev and held to take a sizable chip lead.
In the last hand of the tournament, Fish’s king-jack hit a straight against the ace-ten of Shevelev to lock up the title.
Shevelev takes home $331,116 for his great run and tops his career earnings of $22,000. The 26-year-old won his seat in a $390 satellite and was in Florida originally to visit family.
Fish earned his largest tournament score and a seat in the $15,000 Tournament of Champions to be held at ARIA in May.
I’ve never been happier. I feel so much gratitude for all who’ve shown love and support along the way. Poker is fun! https://t.co/8XLUm9m8My
— Darryll Fish (@DarryllFish) January 25, 2018
Final table results
1st Place: Darryll Fish – $511,604
2nd Place: Alexsandr Shevelev – $331,116
3rd Place: Andy Frankenberger – $244,342
4th Place: Ness Reilly – $182,249
5th Place: Brett Bader – $137,440
6th Place: Alan Krockey – $104,784
Top pros leave their mark
Notable players who made a deep run include 2016 Super High Roller Bowl victor Rainer Kempe (14th), former November Niner John Dolan (9th), and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Ben Yu (16th).
Other Champions Club members to finish in the money consist of Andjelko Andrejevic, Mohsin Charania, and Aaron Mermelstein.
The WPT moves up the East Coast
The World Poker Tour travels north to Atlantic City, New Jersey for the Borgata Winter Poker Open in a quick turnaround on the schedule. The event starts on Sunday, Jan. 28 and features a $3 million guarantee for a $3,500 buy-in.
Lead image c/o WPT/Flickr