Photo Credit: WPT
Harry Arutyunyan produces a sparkling comeback to defeat Mike Eskandari to win the first World Poker Tour event of Season XIII at the Bicycle Casino in California.
Harry Arutyunyan joins the likes of Mel Judah, Doyle Brunson, Dan Harrington, Prahlad Friedman, Andy Frankenberger and Will Failla, as a winner of the WPT Legends of Poker, and he did it the hardest way possible.
The 31-year old businessman, who was born in Armenia, didn’t have a single live tournament cash registered on the Hendon Mob database until he took part in the 2014 Legends of Poker. A 36th place finish in a side-event gave him all the confidence he needed to go all the way in the big one and capture a life changing $576,369.
593 entrants created a prize pool of $2,172,994 and some of the best players in the business took part in over 37-levels of play. Day 1A attracted 156 players, 178 decided Day 1B was their best route to glory, 232 cool kids waiting to enter on Day 1C, and 33 players took advantage of the controversial ‘Quantum Reload’ ruling that allowed them to pay $10k to enter on Day 2 with a 60bb starting stack.
The highlights of the tournament saw ominous Owen Crowe bubble the final table, Keven Stammen coming incredibly close to achieving back-to-back WPT Main Event titles with an eighth place finish, and 10th and 27th place finishes for former WPT Player of the Year winners Andy Frankenberger and Matt Salsberg.
The biggest name to make the final table was Jeremy Kottler who was making his third WPT final table after a sixth in the Five Diamond Championship in 2012, and a fourth at the Borgata Poker Open last season.
Unfortunately, Kottler would exit first at the hands of Eskandi, after the pair got it in on [Ac] [8c] [3c] [Jd] with Kottler holding [Kc] [Kh] for the pair and flush draw, and Eskandi holding [Ah] [6c] for top pair and the worse flush draw. The [Js] completing the action sending Kottler to the rail.
It was the second time Eskandi had cashed in this event, after finishing 14th back in 2011, and he would go a damn sight further than that, this time around, when he took a huge chip lead into the heads-up action against Arutyunyan: 15,205,000 v 3,745,000.
But Arutyunyan is made of stern stuff and after doubling up on two occasions he finally surpassed Eskandi and took the title after his [Ah] [8h] outran the [Ad] [7c] of his opponent to take the money, the title, a brand new 24k Monster headphone set, a Hublet King Power Unico watch, the Bicycle Casino’s Wild Bill Hickok trophy, the WPT Champions trophy and a seat in the season-ending WPT World Championships.
Final Table Standings
1st: Harry Arutyunyan – $576,369
2nd: Mike Eskandari – $330,110
3rd: Tyler Kenney – $213,600
4th: Taylor McFarland – $145,640
5th: Tyler Cornell – $103,560
6th: Jeremy Kottler – $83,075
The next stop will be the PartyPoker WPT Merit Classic from North Cyprus where yours truly will be on hand to provide you with all of the action live from the tournament floor.