Grand Prix de Paris
|Dates||Jun 12 - 16, 2006|
|Final Table Date||Jun 16, 2006|
|Number of Entrants||232|
Bonjour! There couldn't be a more beautiful city than Paris or a more elegant card club than Aviation Club de France for the World Poker Tour's European stop. It is one of the most highly-anticipated events on the tour!
Previous Grand Prix de Paris tournaments have produced champions who have become world-renowned pros like David Benyamine, Surinder Sunar, Roland de Wolfe, and Christer Johansson, and of the 232 players who attempted to follow in those footsteps, only six were at the final table to vie for the title.
The players and chip counts were as follows:
Seat 1: Thomas Wahlroos of Finland Chips: 653,000
Seat 2: Philip Yeh of Sweden Chips: 456,000
Seat 3: Jani Sointula of Finland Chips: 647,000
Seat 4: Christian Grundtvig of Denmark Chips: 625,000
Seat 5: Henrik Witt of Denmark Chips: 649,000
Seat 6: Patrick Schuhl of France Chips: 455,000
Play began with Henrik Witt as the aggressor, winning the first two pots with strong bets. Patrick Schuhl lost some chips in one of those hands but tried to come back against Philip Yeh. Schuhl raised with A-9 suited, but when Yeh reraised with A-K, Schuhl folded.
The Frenchman took a stand on the next hand after Yeh raised; Schuhl reraised with A-Q, but Yeh made a third raise All-In, and Schuhl called to see that Yeh had A-K. The board came 10-2-8-4-9, and Yeh became the new chip leader while Schuhl left the game in 6th place. The French crowd was disappointed, but Schuhl, who won a satellite into the event, happily took home $119,063.
Yeh wasted no time playing the next few hands with pocket 4's and 10-9 suited, only to lose both, the former with a sizable pot given over to Thomas Wahlroos. Finally, when Witt raised with pocket 5's and Walhroos called with A-K, Yeh reraised All-In with pocket 9's. Witt folded but Wahlroos called. The coin-flip situation played out on the board with 8-6-4-A-8, and Yeh was eliminated from the tournament in 5th place. The 20-year old newcomer to tournament poker left with $166,688.
The two Danish players and two Finnish players were left to battle it out for the rest of the prize money. The succession of hands that followed saw the chip lead transition from Wahlroos to Witt, with Jani Sointula struggling to stay in the game.
A key hand in Sointula's battle came when he looked down at pocket J's and raised. Wahlroos called with A-9. The flop showed Q-3-9 with all spades, and both players checked. The turn of a diamond 3 brought a check from Wahlroos, bet from Sointula, raise from Wahlroos, and call from Sointula. The river was a 2 of clubs, and Wahlroos moved All-In. Sointula, not knowing that he truly had the best hand, went into the tank, and finally folded.
Frustrated, Sointula came back strong to win a number of subsequent hands, and Christian Grundtvig, who played very tight to this point, began to loosen and become more aggressive. All the while, Witt and Wahlroos were losing their chip leads to both players.
Grundtvig came out raising with A-K, Witt reraised All-In with A-Q, and Grundtvig called without hesitation. The board came 8-8-K-6-5, and Witt left the game in 4th place with $214,313.
Soon after, Wahlroos tried to take a stand with A-3 by moving All-In, but Grundtvig woke up to a very playable pair of Q's and called. The board was blank except for a pair of 7's, Grundtvig won the hand with two pair, and Wahlroos was knocked out of the tournament in 3rd place. He was given $309,653 for his efforts.
Heads-up play began with Grundtvig dominating the table with 2.325 million in chips and Sointula trailing with 1.16 million.
After several hands that saw Grundtvig betting strong, Sointula took the reins. After a pre-flop raise from Grundtvig with Q-10, Sointula reraised All-In with A-4. Grundtvig called, and the cards came 7-9-5-3-4 to give Sointula the pair and a chance to double up.
The two finalists traded chips for quite a few hands before the final hand. Sointula looked down at A-5 and raised All-In, and Grundtvig called with pocket 6's. The board came 8-J-8-K-10, and Grundtvig's pair held up to win the tournament!
Jani Sointula took 2nd place and $452,438 home to Finland, and Christian Grundtvig was overwhelmed with congratulations from his fellow Danes in the audience. He was awarded the grand prize of $930,375, a $25,000 entry into the WPT Championship, and the title of WPT Grand Prix de Paris Champion!