James Romero Wins Five Diamond World Poker Classic

Dec 11, 2016

Champion James Romero

By Ryan Lucchesi
Photos by Joe Giron

It’s a rare occurrence on the World Poker Tour when the chip leader at the start of play comes in and holds the lead for a wire-to-wire victory, but that’s what happened tonight at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. James Romero came in with a 2-1 advantage over his next closest competitor, and he never let anyone get within a few million of him during a dominant win to claim his first WPT title.

The Portland, Oregon resident was active early and often at the final table, opening the betting action more than any other player on the final day of this six-day $10,000 buy-in tournament by a wide margin. Romero claimed the top prize in this prestigious event thanks to his impressive performance, and the reward is a handsome one at $1,938,118 thanks to the fact that this tied the 2007 L.A. Poker Classic as the largest $10,000 buy-in event (791 entries) in the history of the World Poker Tour.

Here is a look at the chip counts when cards got into the air this afternoon at Bellagio:

Seat 1.  Justin Bonomo  –  3,360,000  (56 bb)
Seat 2.  Ryan Tosoc  –  4,465,000  (74 bb)
Seat 3.  Alex Condon  –  2,265,000  (38 bb)
Seat 4.  Jake Schindler  –  1,210,000  (20 bb)
Seat 5.  James Romero  –  9,860,000  (164 bb)
Seat 6.  Igor Yaroshevskyy  –  2,570,000  (43 bb)

Action started slow at the final table, with the first all-in confrontation not taking place until the 42nd hand of play. That was when Jake Schindler scored the first double up at the final table against James Romero. Then a flurry of eliminations kicked off on Hand 59, when Igor Yaroshevskyy busted in sixth place ($268,545). His A-10 fell against the pocket queens of Romero.

Just two hands later, Justin Bonomo was all in with pocket fives, but he was behind the pocket sevens of Schindler. No help came on the board and Bonomo was eliminated in fifth place ($345,272). Just three hands later, Alex Condon was all in with Club QClub 9, and Romero had him covered with pocket fives. No help arrived on the board once again, and Condon busted in fourth place ($494,889).

After that rush of activity, the final three players settled back in for a long battle. Romero used this stretch to his advantage, increasing his chip lead to an almost unassailable position. Tosoc slowed down Romero when he scored a double up through him on Hand 102, but Schindler was not so lucky when he moved all in against Romero on Hand 120. Schindler was all in with pocket sixes, but Romero held K-J in the hole and he found another king on the flop. The turn and river changed nothing, so Schindler was out in third place ($736,579).

Romero collected the last of Schindler’s chips and that gave him a dominant stack at the start of heads-up play with 20,950,000. Tosoc faced a 7.5-1 chip disadvantage holding a stack worth 2,775,000. The final match took just 16 hands, with the chip deficit proving too much for a comeback from Tosoc.

On the final hand, Tosoc moved all in for 1,975,000, and Romero snap-called with KhKd. Tosoc turned over 5s5c, and he needed to improve to stay alive. The board was dealt AhJd9c4s6c, and Romero won the pot — and the WPT title — with pocket kings. Tosoc finished as the runner-up, earning $1,124,051.

Romero wins the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, earning $1,938,118, which includes his $15,000 entry into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. Romero also receives a WPT Champions Trophy, a Hublot King Power Unico Carbon and Red watch, and a pair of gold Monster 24,000 headphones. Romero’s name will be inscribed on the one-and-only WPT Champions Cup, alongside every other WPT champion from all 15 seasons.

Congratulations to James Romero!

Final Table Results:

1st:  James Romero – $1,938,118
2nd:  Ryan Tosoc – $1,124,051
3rd:  Jake Schindler – $736,579
4th:  Alex Condon – $494,889
5th:  Justin Bonomo – $345,272
6th:  Igor Yaroshevskyy – $268,545

That concludes our coverage from the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Thanks to Bellagio for hosting another great event on the tour here on the Las Vegas Strip. The next stop takes the tour to Atlantic City, New Jersey from January 29 – February 3 for the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event, which features a $3,500 buy-in and a $3 million guaranteed prize pool. The WPT live reporting team to bring you all of the action in live updates, chip counts, and photos from the East Coast.

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