Live Tournament Updates
Last Man Standing: Andrew Cimpan Wins a Marathon Match at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic
Level 35: 125,000-250,000, ante
by BJ Nemeth
A great blind structure generally leads to a long tournament. Sometimes too long.
For the first time in WPT history, a final table played more than 300 hands, with Andrew Cimpan outlasting Binh Nguyen to win the title in Hand #303. (The old record, set at Foxwoods this past November, was 275.)
The final table proceeded at a relatively normal pace early, losing the first four players in 116 hands. But then Cimpan and Nguyen both switched into super-passive mode, and played a WPT record 187 hands heads up. (The old record was 170, also set at Foxwoods last November.)
Both players were extremely passive post-flop, and their preflop play seemed predetermined. When Nguyen had the button, he made a standard preflop raise. When Cimpan had the button, he would limp, giving Nguyen a slight advantage that allowed him to build up a substantial chip lead over time. But Nguyen could never close the deal, and whenever an all-in situation came up, Nguyen couldn't win with the best hand. Cimpan sucked out three times to stay alive, and ultimately, win the tournament.
Other notables at the final table were online pro Mike "SowersUNCC" Sowers (3rd place), blast-from-the-past Chris Karagulleyan (who hasn't been seen much since his Season I WPT victory, and finished 4th on this night), and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson (6th).
Ferguson's final table chip stack followed an interesting route. Online pros Kevin "BelowAbove" Saul and Kofi Farkye were among the chipleaders when they tangled in a huge pot at the end of Day 2. Saul pressured Farkye by betting his entire stack post-flop with eight high, and Farkye called light with top pair. That momentum carried Farkye to Day 4, until he tried a similar bluff on the river against Ferguson -- and Ferguson called with top pair, top kicker to take the chip lead. Unfortunately for Ferguson, he couldn't carry that momentum any further than sixth place, and he'll still be looking for his first WPT title in less than two weeks at Bay 101.
Tournament Director Matt Savage was extremely proud of his blind structure, which the players praised for giving them plenty of pressure-free play. The structure was so good that Brett Shaffer mistakenly showed up for the first time on Day 2 -- he had the starting days mixed up -- and still had chips left. He quickly recovered from his short stack, and reached average at one point, but couldn't hold it. Shaffer busted in the final minutes of Day 2.
Our time at Commerce isn't over yet, because there is still the WPT Celebrity Invitational, set for Saturday evening. Return to WorldPokerTour.com for live coverage as the celebrities and poker pros mix cocktails and cards for the most interesting Day 1 of each season.
Here's one last look at the final table finishers:
1st: Andrew Cimpan - $1,686,760 + $25,500 seat in WPT World Championship
2nd: Binh Nguyen - $935,424
3rd: Mike Sowers - $654,797
4th: Chris Karagulleyan - $430,963
5th: Pat Walsh - $310,694
6th: Chris "Jesus" Ferguson - $240,538
02:15 PM, 02/28/09