Tehan Takes Top Honors at NAPT LA

Joe Tehan had a legendary session at the NAPT LA Main Event’s final table yesterday. There’s not a poker fan in the world that could argue that Tehan didn’t earn his $725,000 payout. Throughout the week, Jason Mercier made himself the most-watched Main Event player by generating constant buzz via his Twitter account, but yesterday it was all Tehan all the way. Not only did Tehan ultimately win the event, but he took out every one of his seven final table opponents along the way.

Though Tehan came to the final table at the top of the bottom with the fifth place stack, he quickly made his presence known when he doubled up early by sending Jake Toole to the rail. Going into yesterday’s final table, a lot of bets were on Mercier and the consistent chip leader Chris DeMaci, but there was so much talent among the final eight that it was hard to peg anyone as the underdog. Still, a long dry run for Tehan combined with his weak starting position definitely made his quick rise a bit of a surprise.

Luck is something few players like to rely on, but it was definitely on Tehan’s side Wednesday as he repeatedly outdrew his competitors in a series of pre-flop pushes. In many of those hands, Tehan certainly seemed out-gunned, but time and time again he prevailed. After Toole, Tehan targeted Mercier, putting him to bed much earlier than anyone expected with a $84,857 consolation prize for 7th place.

The table was visibly shaken, and only a hand later Tehan struck again, forcing Mike Binger all in with a pair of 10s. Tehan held an A-J unsuited. After an unhelpful flop, Tehan took the lead with an Ace on the turn. The river two-paired both players, but Tehan’s Aces trumped Binger’s 10s, knocking him out in 6th. From then on, Tehan used his superior stack to systematically eliminate the other small stacks.

The next big hand was a three-way battle. Tehan called all in, Nguyen rose to the occasion, and Henson followed them in. Once again Tehan was looking pretty vulnerable with a K-5 unsuited against Nguyen’s A-Q and Henson’s A-J. The 9-9-4 flop helped no one, but the King on the river gave Tehan yet another lucky break, and when the river showed a 2 that was all she wrote for Henson who finished 5th and Nguyen who went out 4th.

Only a few hands later, the original short stack, Al Grimes, decided it was now or never and shoved all in with an 8-7 suited. Tehan saw him in the middle with a J-9 unsuited. The flop favored Grimes with a 7, but the turn handed Tehan yet another win when it paired his 9. An impotent King on the river sent yet another player to the rail.

Only two players remained. Tehan was now holding more than 14.5 million chips. DeMaci, who had sat much of the game out in an effort to avoid Tehan’s killing streak, had done nothing to improve on his original stack and now faced Tehan with only 6.3 million chips. DeMaci stayed tight through much of the early heads-up action but lost half his stack when Tehan won a weak draw with a superior kicker.

After a short break, Tehan finally finished DeMaci off in a tense hand where DeMaci double paired on the turn only to see Tehan surpass him on the river. It was a much-needed win for Tehan whose career has been relatively uneventful since his $1 million+ plus win at the WPT Mandalay Bay championship back in 2006.

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