World Poker Finals Recap

While WSOP Circuit events were starting and ending at opposite ends of the world last weekend, the World Poker Tour’s popular Foxwoods leg was just heating up in Connecticut. October 27 marked the first day of the WPT’s World Poker Finals at Foxwoods, and the early news from the event was less than good news with only 242 players fronting the $10,000 buy-in. Still, with a top prize of more than half a million dollars and with several solid players at the tables the skill level was high, and the competition was as tough as ever.

By Saturday, the World Poker Finals field was down to a mere 69 competitors, but only the top 25 would finish in the money. Those 25 spots were filled and the other players were sent home empty-handed, and by the end of Day 4 only a dozen players remained. Monday saw a dramatic start to Day 5 of the Finals when some of the largest remaining names were eliminated.

By Monday night, the final table of six had been determined. Thomas Marchese came into the final six with more than 3 million chips. More than a million chips behind him with the second largest stack was Jeff Forrest. Mohsin Charania was the only other player to come to the final table with more than a million chips. Nikolai Yakovenko, Dave Inselberg and Keven Stammen rounded out the rest of the final table.

At stake at the World Poker Finals was more than the title and more even than the $548,752 top prize. The World Poker Finals awards a significant number of points toward Card Player’s heavily coveted Player of the Year prize, making the Finals a key event for the year’s leading players. The very fact that Thomas Marchese made it to the final table guaranteed that his point total would surpass that of last year’s Player of the Year Dwyte Pilgrim, but just how well he fared would determine the size of his new lead, and could even cinch a 2010 victory.

On Tuesday, Marchese’s deep stack failed him and he fell out of the competition in third, but it was still enough to put him 750 points into the lead for the current POY standings. The first final player to lose their seat was Mohsin Charania followed by Kevin Stammen and then Nikolai Yakovenko. Marchese bit the dust when he went all-in on A-K only to have Forrest outdraw him with a K-6.

Forrest entered the heads-up portion against Inselberg with a nearly three to one chip advantage, and it didn’t take him long to get underdog Inselberg where he wanted him. Less than an hour into the heads-up competition, Inselberg was out and Jeff Forrest was crowned the World PokerĀ Finals champion.

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