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.
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.
Hand #39: David Williams Wins a 4.4 Million Pot Against Billy Baxter
Level 28: 60,000-120,000, 15,000 ante
David Williams raises from the cutoff to 300,000, and Billy Baxter calls from the big blind. The flop comes K63, Baxter checks, Williams bets 350,000, and Baxter calls. The turn card is the A, Baxter checks, Williams bets 500,000, and Baxter calls. There is already more than 2.4 million in the pot.
The river card is the A, Baxter checks, and Williams eyes Baxter's stack. Williams bets 1,000,000, and Baxter calls. Williams quickly turns over AK for a full house, aces full of kings, and Baxter mucks.
Pot Size: 4,435,000
Seat 2. Billy Baxter - 1,460,000
Seat 3. Eric Baldwin - 3,580,000
Seat 4. David Williams - 8,575,000
Seat 5. David Benyamine - 3,615,000
Seat 6. Shawn Buchanan - 2,270,000
Hand #14: John O'Shea Eliminated in 6th Place ($199,888)
Level 27: 50,000-100,000, 10,000 ante
John O'Shea moves all in from the small blind for 1,130,000, and Billy Baxter thinks for a moment before he calls with A10. O'Shea shows 63, and he'll need to improve to stay alive.
The board comes J8447, and Billy Baxter wins the pot with ace high to eliminate John O'Shea in sixth place.
Seat 1. John O'Shea - Out in 6th Place ($199,888)
Seat 2. Billy Baxter - 4,370,000
Seat 3. Eric Baldwin - 5,570,000
Seat 4. David Williams - 4,070,000
Seat 5. David Benyamine - 3,235,000
Seat 6. Shawn Buchanan - 2,255,000
Hand #146: Billy Baxter Doubles Through Shawn Buchanan
Level 26: 40,000-80,000, 10,000 ante
Hand #146 - Billy Baxter raises from late position to 220,000, Shawn Buchanan moves all in from the big blind, and Baxter calls all in for 1.15 million with AK. Buchanan shows 88, and Baxter will need to improve to stay alive.
The board comes J10537, and Baxter wins the pot with an ace-high club flush on the river to double up in chips.
Billy Baxter - 2,400,000
Shawn Buchanan - 1,750,000
Scotty Nguyen limps under the gun for 20,000, Billy Baxter raises from early position to 80,000, Faraz Jaka calls from middle position, and Nguyen folds. The flop comes Q87, Baxter checks, Jaka bets 120,000, and Baxter calls.
The turn card is the J, and both players check. The river card is the K, Baxter bets 500,000, and Jaka calls. Baxter shows AA to win the pot with an ace-high club flush, and Jaka mucks.
Billy Baxter raises from the cutoff to 50,000, Faraz Jaka calls from the button, and Nikolay Evdakov calls from the big blind. The flop comes AA4, Evdakov checks, Baxter bets 80,000, Jaka raises to 220,000, and Evdakov folds. Baxter calls.
Baxter and Jaka both check the Q on the turn and the J on the river. Baxter shows A2 to win the pot with trip aces, and Jaka mucks.
Billy Baxter Wins a Pot Worth 1.7 Million Against Faraz Jaka
Level 20: 10,000-20,000, 3,000 ante
Billy Baxter raises from the small blind to 50,000, and Faraz Jaka calls from the big blind. The flop comes 422, Baxter checks, Jaka bets 75,000, and Baxter calls. The turn card is the 9, Baxter checks, Jaka bets 275,000, and Baxter calls.
The river card is the 8, Baxter bets 440,000, and Jaka tanks for a while before he calls.
Baxter shows AQ to win the pot worth 1.7 million with an ace-high spade flush, and Jaka mucks.