Griffin Paul entered the final day of the $3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown with a sizeable chip lead, and by the day’s end the 22-year-old poker professional held all the chips in play.
Paul earns his first WPT title, $1,000,000, a Hublot Oceanographic 4000 watch and a pair of Monster 24k headphones after defeating Joe Ebanks in an action-packed heads-up battle that lasted 34 hands.
Paul waded his way through a massive field of 1,476 players filled with top pros to take a chip lead to the final table.
Early in the final table, the chip lead was traded back and forth between Paul, Ebanks, and eventual third-place-finisher Crooks. But after Ryan Rivers was eliminated in sixth, Brian Green in fifth and Shawn Nguyen in fourth, Ebanks and Paul were neck and neck at the top of the counts.
Griffin took the lead back on the second hand of three-handed play, but headed into heads-up play with a chip deficit after Ebanks’ pocket nines defeated Andre Crooks’ pocket kings.
Paul scored a double up on the ninth hand of heads-up play, winning a flip with his ace-jack against Ebanks’ pocket sixes. An ace on the flop gave him the chip lead back for good and he parlayed it into his first title.
Paul has a quick turnaround in his upcoming tournament schedule since his win earns him a seat into the $15,000 WPT Championship event, which starts this Saturday at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, NJ.
Here is a look at the final table results:
1. Griffin Paul – $1,000,000
2. Joe Ebanks – $615,000
3. Andrew Crooks – $383,000
4. Shawn Nguyen – $323,500
5. Brian Green – $269,000
6. Ryan Rivers – $217,500
All photography provided by Joe Giron / pokerphotoarchive.com