The Season XI World Poker Tour (WPT) Barcelona has reached its final table and it is one of the weakest that you will see at a major poker tournament this year. The two chip leaders are Chanracy Khun and Benjamin Pollak, and if one of them doesn’t walk away as the latest member of the WPT Championships then I will run through the streets of Barcelona with my wedding tackle on show.
It was back on Day One that I interviewed the birthday boy Steve O’Dwyer, and asked him if he would ever return to the United States should legalized online poker create a second boom. My question was met with an emphatic NO as O’Dwyer explained that there is no better form of poker than the European live poker circuit, and this statement is summed up by the quality of performers at this final table.
Sergio Fernandez, Tahiri Hassani Najib, Bruno Garcia Cotelo and Antonio Alfaia have all demonstrated weaknesses in their games that show that the deck has been a favorable one in the Catalonian capital this week. Even Khun, a player that bubbled a seat in the $1 Million WSOP Big One for One Drop last summer, made a questionable decision on the penultimate day of action. At the time, Khun was sitting pretty – second in chips – and Sergio Fernandez was the runaway chip leader, when Khun made the decision to play for stacks with just ace-king. It was a rash decision from a player sitting on 80BB and it could have easily resulted in him finishing in 11th place for a measly €13,500. Instead, Khun got the luck he needed; he hit his ace and now has the chance of winning the whole goddam thing.
Day Four reached its climax, at breakneck speed, with players hitting the rail harder than Mike Tyson hits people’s chins. Sergio Fernandez started the chopping when he made a questionable play against Nikola Ivancic. Fernandez bringing in the three-bet and then calling off against a short stack shove, holding just [8s] [7s]. Ivancic was holding ace-king but a seven on the river gave the chip leader the credit for the first elimination of the day.
Next we had another display of the absurdity of the poker decisions the poor dealers in Barcelona were being forced to watch. Antonio Alfaia limped into the pot holding [Qc] [Js] and when the action folded to Anaras Alekberovas in the small blind he raised to 100,000 from an effective stack of 160,000. Alfaia then flatted! The flop was [Ad] [Qs] [2d] and Alekberovas moved all-in for 60,000 holding [Kh] [8c] and Alfaia called. The turn was another Jack and Alekberovas was out in 12th place.
If that hand wasn’t to your liking then what about this little beauty. Mario Sanchez opened to 25,000 from mid-position and Tahiri Hassani flatted in the small blind bringing the big blind also into the action. The flop was [Ah] [4c] [3c] and the action checked to Sanchez who bet 35,000 and both players called. The turn was the [Td], and all three players checked. The final card was the [Js], and Hassani led out with a 69,000 bet. Khun mucked instantly and then the action fell to Sanchez who pulled 150,000 out of his 300,000-stack and moved it over the line for the raise. Hassani moved all-in and Sanchez snap-folded!
The final table starts at 14:00 (CET) and if we continue to see hands played in the manner we have, then it won’t take long for Benjamin Pollak or Chanracy Khun to be handed the title on a silver platter.
Seat 1: Sergio Fernandez – 548,000
Seat 2: Tahiri Hassani – 1,636,000
Seat 3: Chanracy Khan – 2,393,000
Seat 4: Benjamin Pollak – 1,899,000
Seat 5: Bruno Garcia Cortelo – 722,000
Seat 6: Antonio Alfaia – 273,000