The last will be first and the first will be… first. This is what the latest World Poker Tour (WPT) champ taught us after an amazing three-day run in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Canadian Matthew Lapossie came away with the victory after a series of ups and downs, bad beats, and one-of-a-kind poker hands. He was the chip leader after the first day of the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic event and the last man standing from a field of 383 players.
Lapossie wasn’t in a bad place before the beginning of the final day either; he was sixth in chips out of ten players left. The action resumed full steam ahead as two of the remaining cast were eliminated in the first five hands of the day. Xiaohu Chen was the first to go; he had around 11 big blinds left and moved all-in immediately after he saw the hand that was dealt to him: Ace-Queen. Unfortunately for him, Spiro Mikrogianakis woke up with a similar big hand and called the shove with pocket Jacks. The community cards didn’t help Chen, who finished the WPT event in tenth place.
John Boulougouris made the same move with a stack worth under 10 big blinds. He had another premium hand, pocket Queens, and was called by the same player who eliminated Chen. This time, Mikrogianakis wasn’t even close to flipping with his opponent as he held pocket Jacks and some slim 20% chance of winning the hand. Nevertheless, he managed to peel a Jack on the flop to increase his already big stack.
After that, it was Lapossie’s time to shine. He eliminated the next player in style, catching an unlikely hand on the turn. Peter Labib was fairly confident when he shoved the turn with the nut flush. But the smile on his face was immediately erased after Lapossie snap-called with the winning hand – A STRAIGHT FLUSH. The river couldn’t change anything as Labib left the table still wondering what he had done wrong to deserve this.
The Canadian, however, was still far away from winning the WPT title. He was put to the test after the big hand, losing an all-in battle with pocket Aces. Moreover, Lapossie lost another important pot with a full-house. He bet on a 5-K-5-8-K board while holding another five. His opponent, Jason James, tank-called with the bigger boat.
It was James who eventually eliminated the last player standing in the way of the official final table. He called a shove from Dave Graham to win a race – pocket sixes against Ace-Eight.
With the six-handed final table under way, the future champ was the shortstack, being the only player with under 1 million chips. This changed immediately after only one hand and a Big Slick double-up. The up and down continued for Lapossie, falling yet again to just five big blinds only to climb up to 20 in just four hands.
Howie Leung was the first to leave the shorthanded play after 17 hands. He raised all-in with pocket eights but couldn’t survive in front of Dylan Wilkerson’s Ace-King. Leung left the final table $65,373 richer.
Josue Sauvageau followed him after being eliminated by the lucky Wilkerson, who won another race – pockets Jacks versus Ace-Queen. Sauvageau cashed in $81,716 for fifth place.
The next elimination was also Lapossie’s big breakaway. After a button shove, the Canadian and Mikrogianakis called, creating a three-way all-in. The button, Wilkerson, had Queen-Ten, Mikrogianakis held pocket sixes, and Lapossie had Ace-King. The King river secured the future champ all the chips in the middle and the lead. Mikrogianakis hit the rail with $108,956.
Fifteen hands later, there were only two. James three-bet all-in with Ace-Seven and Lapossie called yet again with the big Ace-King. For his performance, James won $147,090.
From then on, Lapossie never looked back, securing his big lead and first place. The last hand was an already classic flip for Niagara Falls: pocket fours versus Ace-Five won by the slight underdog.
Runner-up Dylan Wilkerson cashed in $228,806, while the winner took down the big prize of $342,266 plus a guaranteed place at the WPT Championship event at Borgata.