World Poker Tour (WPT) bwin Grand Prix de Paris has reached it final table and Vasili Firsau is the bookies favorite with over 50% of the chips in play. Mohsin Charania and Christina Lindley are amongst the players trying to over turn the odds.
Not since Dave Shallow won WPT Ireland back in Season X have I witnessed such a dominating chip position as we enter the final phase of a WPT event, but that is the scenario presented to the watching Parisian public as Vasili Firsau holds over 50% f the chips in play with just six players remaining.
Shallow used his chip advantage to dominate that final table in Ireland, and I fully expect Firsau to do likewise here in the Aviation Club de France (ACF). The only thing that is stopping him from winning this competition is going to be luck, and so far the lady has been well and truly camped in his corner.
His biggest threat is Mohsin ‘chicagocards1’ Charania. The former European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final winner will start the day with 32bb and is the most experienced, and talented, member of the final six.
Last year, Charania finished fifth in this event for a score of $119,119 and made his way to the final for the second time courtesy of two defining hands against Kimmo Kurko and Marvin Rettenmaier.
In the first hand Charania flopped a set of aces against Kurko that saw all of the chips going into the middle on the turn with Kurko chasing a flush draw. The river bricked and Charania had a stack, which would get bigger when he eliminated Rettenmaier AJ v A6 to see the German fall short of yet another WPT final table appearance in 10th place.
Christina Lindley was one of the players chosen to represent the WPT in their annual WPT Ones to Watch series and she has returned that faith by making her first major final table appearance.
If Lindley can somehow manage to find a way past the huge wall of Vasili Firsau then she will become the first lady to win an open WPT event – but that is some wall.
Lindley shot into second spot after finding pocket kings in an all-in and call at a vital moment in the competition against Kimmo Kurko and his pocket queens. That hand would have given Kurko the ammunition to fire a few solid round at Firsau, but instead he was left with blanks. The Season XI WPT Baden fourth place finisher, will come into the contest as the short stack with just 6BB in a shove or fold type spot.
Elliot Smith is another player, who on another day would have a fantastic shot at this title. Smith has the big time tournament experience, after finishing third at the 2009 Aussie Millions, the composure and the skills. It’s just all about that brick wall again.
Peter Apostolou is having the time of his life. It’s his deepest run in a major tournament, it’s his largest cash and his first time cashing outside of his native Australia, but alas, all good things come to an end, and his lack of experience and chips will see him topple out of the contest early in the final table.
That leaves Vasili Firsau.
The Belarusian has been the man to catch ever since he made the Day 4 hero call against Jason Koon, after Koon had moved all-in on [5d] [4d] [2s] holding [Kd] [Qd] only for Firsau to find the strength and conviction to call holding [Ac] [Qh] for ace high. The diamonds evaded Koon and Firsau went from strength to strength eliminating players for fun.
With over 50% of the chips in play and the momentum and luck all seemingly going his way, I can’t see past Vasili Firsau as the next WPT champion here in Paris, but this is poker and as we all know anything can happen.