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  • Matt Juttelstad Named Champion of WPT Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open

    Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 by Ryan

The World Poker Tour’s Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open was flying, and the chatter around it had quite a bit to do about the potential of us having our first ever female to win a World Poker Tour Main Event. Gigi Gagne was sitting as the chip leader, and looked like she was in a great spot to take down the event. While Gagne was not able to hold on to the chip lead, it was actually Matt Juttelstad who played consistent and strong throughout the final day and was able to take down the championship. On top of that though, he also got a very nice first place pay day for picking up his first live poker tournament win in his career. Juttelstad didn’t just fly up out of nowhere in the final day, as he was the chip leader through both of the first two days, and was in second at the end of the third day. Gigi entered the final day with just over one million chips more, so his name was a bit overshadowed.

The tournament had some big names in it, but the story behind Juttelstad is one that’s definitely interesting. He was in the process of taking a year off from playing poker, but was in Miami for a graduate school interview. Things just added up as he was attending the interview at Florida Atlantic University, and decided to use his extra time to play in the event. This event gave players who were knocked out of Day 1A, the option to re-buy in for Day 1B. Juttelstad was knocked out on Day 1A, and actually wasn’t going to re-buy in, but his interview ran shorter than he anticipated, so he decided to give it another run.

While Juttelstad and Gagne went back and forth as being the two most talked about players in the event, it made sense that they would end up going heads up for the championship. Gagne actually dipped a bit in terms of her chip stack size by taking a bad beat and then making some tough decisions after that, but she managed to work her way back up. While that was happening, Juttelstad just kept building his stack. The hot streak didn’t last forever though, as he then started going up and down, but eventually made a huge knockout to get into the final two against Gagne.

Heads up play began with Juttelstad holding a nice chip lead of around 3.5 to 1, and the two only played about 30 hands before the champion was crowned. The last hand featured both players holding almost exactly their same starting stacks, but when they went all in, both turned over a straight. The issue for Gagne was, that Juttelstad was holding the nut straight, which was simply higher than hers. This sent her home in second place with a pay day of $158,194, and gave Juttelstad the championship and the $268,444 for taking it down. Gagne may not have made history, but a second place finish is nothing to turn your nose up at!




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