David Williams Finds a Way to Win at the WPT Championship
Level 31: 120,000-240,000, 20,000 ante
David Williams has a history of close calls. Over the course of his history with the WPT, he’s had a trio of final table appearances, including a runner-up appearance at the Borgata Poker Open in Season III and 4th place finishes at Bay 101 in Season IV and the Mirage Poker Showdown in Season V. There’s also the matter of his runner-up finish to Greg Raymer at the WSOP Main Event in 2004.
Featured Blog, David Williams, Eric Baldwin, Shawn Buchanan, David Benyamine, Billy Baxter, John OShea, Tournaments, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season 8 on FSN, Season VIII
In other words, Williams had developed a reputation in the poker world for being incredibly good at making the final table, but not so stellar at closing tournaments out. After last night, that is no longer the case.
Williams came into the final table of the Season VIII WPT Championship effectively tied for the chip lead with David Benyamine. He took the chip lead on the 28th hand of play and did not relinquish it until Hand #106. For the remaining 30 hands of the tournament, Williams was almost always the man in control and his efforts resulted in his first WPT title and the honor of being the WPT World Champion.
It was not long after the Championship final table began before the first player hit the rail. Short stack John O’Shea was keen on doubling up or catching a flight back home to Dublin. O’Shea moved in from the small blind with 36, but Billy Baxter woke up with AT in the big blind and eliminated O’Shea in 6th place.
That would be the peak of Baxter’s good fortune at the final table though. He dropped a 4 million chip pot to Willliams to help cement his chip lead and found himself out in 5th a short while later when Williams’ K10 was able to get the best of Baxter’s AJ.
After that hand, Williams controlled over half the chips in play and the other three players in the field were simply trying to stay alive. Handcuffed by short stack, they could do little to defend themselves as Williams picked up pots and chipped away at his opponents. A rash of double ups shifted the chip dynamics at the table though. David Benyamine’s exit in 4th place at the hands of Shawn Buchanan put Buchanan neck and neck with Williams for the chip lead.
All eyes were on a short-stacked Eric Baldwin to be the next player to hit the rail, but a massive pot between the two chip leaders in which Buchanan moved all-in with pocket queens and Williams called with pocket nines would trim the field to two. Buchanan had the best of it preflop, but a nine on the flop would give the hand to Williams and set him up with a nearly 4-1 chip lead going into heads-up play. Buchanan’s elimination in 3rd place also meant that Faraz Jaka earned the honor of WPT Player of the Year.
Baldwin had a major chip deficit to overcome during heads-up play and, while he was making progress chipping up, the one-on-one battle would be a short-lived affair, lasting just 22 hands. On the final hand of play, Baldwin pushed all-in over the top of a raise from Williams with A5 and Williams called with pocket deuces. An ace on the flop gave the advantage to Baldwin, but a deuce on the turn sealed up the victory for Williams, who was overcome with emotion as his mom Shirley rushed the stage to give him a congratulatory hug.
For Williams, it is a landmark win and, of course, a nice prize of more than $1.5 million. It is more than just money and a win though. It is affirmation that the longtime poker pro can find a way to win, even if it is at one of the more stacked final tables the WPT has seen over the course of Season VIII.
08:42 AM, 04/25/10
John O'Shea Has Places to Be
Level 27: 50,000-100,000, 10,000 ante
After Hand #1 is over, Tournament Director Jack McClelland informs the crowd that John O'Shea has a plane back to Dublin he needs to catch. Before the final table got underway, O'Shea told McClelland he intends to either double up and win this thing in a hurry or make his flight back home.
John OShea, David Benyamine, Tournaments, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season 8 on FSN, Season VIII
O'Shea isn't the only player with places to be. David Benyamine was inquiring about flights to Monte Carlo for the EPT Grand Final, which gets underway tomorrow.
04:33 PM, 04/24/10
Hand #112: John O'Shea vs. Scotty Nguyen
Level 25: 30,000-60,000, 5,000 ante
Hand #112 - Scotty Nguyen raises from middle position to 180,000, and John O'Shea calls from the cutoff. Both players check to the turn on a board of 8872, Nguyen checks, O'Shea bets 210,000, and Nguyen calls.
John OShea, Tournaments, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season 8 on FSN, Season VIII
The river card is the 10, Nguyen checks, O'Shea bets 600,000, and Nguyen calls. O'Shea shows 98 for trip eights, and Nguyen mucks. John O'Shea takes the pot.
John O'Shea - 4,210,000 (70 bb)
Scotty Nguyen - 2,665,000 (44 bb)
05:49 PM, 04/23/10
Hands #53-56: David Williams Outkicks John O'Shea in a 1.57 Million Pot
Level 23: 20,000-40,000, 4,000 ante
Hand #53 - David Benyamine raises from middle position to 113,000, winning the blinds and antes.
David Williams, John OShea, Tournaments, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season 8 on FSN, Season VIII
Hand #54 - David Williams raises from early position to 100,000, and John O'Shea calls from the small blind. The flop comes AK8, O'Shea checks, Williams bets 150,000, and O'Shea calls. The turn pairs the board with the 8, and both players check.
The river card is the 7, O'Shea bets 225,000, Williams raises to 500,000, and O'Shea calls with A4 (two pair, aces and eights). But Williams shows AK to win the pot (worth 1.57 million) with a higher two pair, aces and kings.
Hand #55 - Billy Baxter raises from the small blind to 120,000, winning the blinds and antes.
Hand #56 - Everyone folds to David Williams, giving him a walk in the big blind.
03:06 PM, 04/23/10
JJ Liu Doubles Through John O'Shea
Level 18: 6,000-12,000, 2,000 ante
JJ Liu and John O'Shea get it all-in on a board of Q62Q. O'Shea shows pocket aces, while Liu holds 22 for a flopped set. The river brings the K and Liu doubles up.
JJ Liu, John OShea, Tournaments, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season 8 on FSN, Season VIII
JJ Liu - 540,000
John O'Shea - 450,000
04:30 PM, 04/21/10
Antoine Arnault Eliminated by John O'Shea
Level 17: 5,000-10,000, 1,000 ante
Antoine Arnault and John O'Shea get it all-in with Arnault holding A-J to O'Shea's pocket sixes. The pocket pair prevails and Arnault is eliminated.
John OShea, Antoine Arnault, Tournaments, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season 8 on FSN, Season VIII
John O'Shea - 400,000
Antoine Arnault - eliminated in 29th place
03:02 PM, 04/21/10