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  • James Dempsey Wins WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic

    Monday, December 12th, 2011 by Ryan

The World Poker Tour Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic featured one of the most stacked final tables in recent history, and had quite a few story lines surrounding it as well. Whether it was Antonio Esfandiari’s shot to become the first ever repeat champion at a WPT event, or Vanessa Selbst’s chance to be the first ever female winner of a WPT Championship; the interest level from both fans and players around this final table was incredible. The final six players remaining (in order of chip stacks) were Soi Nguyen (4.995 million), James Dempsey (3.86 million), Andrew Lichtenberger (3.605 million), Vanessa Selbst (2.25 million), Antonio Esfandiari (1.255 million), and Vitor Coelho (560k).

All the players had their work cut out for them, moving forward, and while the eventual champion Dempsey was sitting pretty in second place heading into the day, he had a task at hand as he had to catch up to 2010 WSOP Main Event Final Tabler Soi Nguyen. The opponent just behind him, Lichtenberger, had a nice run at the 2009 WSOP Main Event himself, as he pulled in an 18th place finish there. Obviously well-known names like Selbst and Esfandiari would cause issues for almost any player in the game, especially since both of them have some incredible resumes. And Coelho? Well, he had just come off a 4th place finish at the World Poker Tour’s Jacksonville event.

As interesting as the action was throughout, the real excitement came in heads up play, as the two leaders in chips heading into the day found themselves heads up to take it all down. After seeing Selbst go home in 3rd with a nice $338,351 payday, Lichtenberger in 4th with $218,933, Coelho in 5th with $159,224, and Esfandiari in 6th with $119,418, the stage was set for a match that featured both players have almost the same starting chip stack in heads up play. Dempsey grabbed hold of the action early on, and took about a 4 million chip lead, but it wasn’t long before Nguyen took the lead a few hands after.

It didn’t look good for Dempsey, as he was eventually down about 13.5 million to 3 million in chips, and the end seemed near. He fought back though and got it to about a 4 million chip difference before a huge hand went down. Nguyen started with a min raise, which led to a three bet from Dempsey, and a call from Nguyen. The flop came out the Qs-4c-2s, and Dempsey bet 1 million chips. This led to a call from Nguyen and the turn was where it got good. The turn was the Ts, and Dempsey shoved all in. Nguyen took his time and weighed the options before finally calling. Nguyen was holding As-5d for an Ace high flush draw and a straight draw, while Dempsey turned over Ad-Js for a Jack high flush draw and a straight draw. Dempsey really just needed a blank on the river, and he got one better as the Kh came, giving him a straight draw and a huge double up.

It all came to an end five hands later when Dempsey called an all-in with K-Q, and was up against the K-J of Nguyen. While Nguyen took a lead with a Jack, Dempsey went on to river a straight and take down the championship and the $821,612 first place prize. For his run, Nguyen took home $517,478. Dempsey has now won both a WSOP gold bracelet, and a WPT title, and his total live tournament winnings are now over $1.7 million.

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