The second of three World Poker Tour Main Event Final Tables is in the books after Frank Stepuchin beats Shannon Shorr, heads-up, to win the WPT Garden Poker Championships.
When the World Poker Tour (WPT) announced plans to shift most of their North American Main Event Final Tables to the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas poker’s terrible twitter tirade began.
Some called the new arena a ‘tomb.’
Other complained that recreational players wouldn’t compete in WPT events because they wouldn’t want the inconvenience of an additional trip to Las Vegas.
Try telling that to Frank Stepuchin’s family and friends.
Stepuchin finished the LA portion of the $10,000 buy-in WPT Gardens Poker Championship Main Event with the chip lead, but he faced an obscenely challenging time in Las Vegas.
Shannon Shorr is one of the best in the business with $7.1m in live tournament earnings. Shorr came second to James Calderaro in the Season XII Lucky Hearts Poker Open event, and in Season VII he finished fifth in the WPT Championship event in the Bellagio.
Steve Sung had earned more than $5.8m playing live tournaments. The double WSOP bracelet winner finished fourth in the Season VII Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, second to Brandon Cantu in the Season VI Bay 101 Shooting Stars Main Event, and fourth in the Season VI WPT Barcelona Main Event.
WPTDeepStacks Main Event winner and WSOPC gold ring winner Brent Roberts finished third in the Season XIV Legends of Poker Main Event.
Ray Qartomy finished fourth in the bestbet Bounty Scramble Main Event earlier in the season, finished fifth in the Season XIII WPT World Championships, and sixth in the Season XIII WPT Borgata Open.
Jonathan Abdellatif is a former WPT National Brussels Main Event winner.
Let’s look at the tale of the tape.
Seat 1: Shannon Shorr – 1,710,000
Seat 2: Frank Stepuchin – 4,065,000
Seat 3: Brent Roberts – 1,385,000
Seat 4: Jonathan Abdellatif – 555,000
Seat 5: Ray Qartomy – 820,000
Seat 6: Steve Sung – 1,580,000
Jonathan Abdellatif began the tournament as the short stack and exited as per the mathematical reasoning of these types of things. After doubling through Frank Stepuchin when flopping an ace with AT v KK, he wasn’t so lucky the next time he moved all-in and received a call from the chip leader. The Belgian was ahead with AdKs facing 86hh, but a six on the flop and an extra one on the turn sent Abdellatif packing.
Brent Roberts doubled through Shannon Shorr in a cooler KK>AK.
Then we lost Ray Qartomy.
With blinds at 25k/50k/50k Qartomy moved all-in for 335,000 from the first position, and Stepuchin called in the small blind. Qartomy showed pocket sevens, but Stepuchin had woken up with jacks, and five cards later Qartomy was out.
Steve Sung doubled through Stepuchin when AK beat Q3, and then Sung did it again when A9 outdrew Roberts’ AJ. That beat hurt Roberts, and he left in fourth place after running pocket tens into the kings of Shorr.
It seemed for all the world that Steve Sung and Shannon Shorr were playing for the right to face Stepuchin heads-up for the title, and it turned out to be Shorr after Sung failed to win his big flip against Stepuchin when sevens crashed and burned against KQ.
Stepuchin took a big chip advantage into heads-up against the experienced Short (8.655m v 1.46m), and despite Shorr adding another million to his stack things ended in the following hand.
With blinds at 30k/60k/60k Shorr opened to 160,000 from the button and Stepuchin called. The flop was 8d7s5c, and Stepuchin check-called for 210,000. The As hit the turn, Stepuchin checked, Shorr bet 650,000, and Stepuchin used a time extension chip before moving all-in for 7,165,000, and Shorr called.
Stepuchin showed A4 for a pair of aces, and Shorr was ahead with 85 for two-pair. That was until the 4s hit the river to give Stepuchin a better two pair hand, and just like he was the newest member of the WPT Champions Club.
It’s only Stepuchin’s second live tournament win of his career. The first came in July when he beat 2,070-entrants to win the $149,220 first prize in a $375 No-Limit Hold’em Quantum event at the Larry Flynt Grand Slam of Poker in the Hustler Casino, California.
It had been coming.
In 2016 Stepuchin finished 12/1125 in a $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), and in 2017 he finished 10/687 in a World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) Main Event at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.
Here are the final table results:
Final Table Results
1. Frank Stepuchin – $548,825
2. Shannon Shorr – $355,885
3. Steve Sung – $259,880
4. Brent Roberts – $192,465
5. Ray Qartomy – $144,595
6. Jonathan Abdellatif – $110,225
Three other Moby Dicks who dived deep into these waters were the former Aussie Millions Main Event winner Toby Lewis (7th), the Season XIII WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic runner-up Garrett Greer (8th) and double WPT Main Event Champion, Marvin Rettenmaier (11th).