One of the most important annual poker tournaments on U.S. soil is the L.A. Poker Classic. This event always draws big numbers of players, and this year was no exception. Southern California is an absolute hotbed for poker, and the Commerce Casino was once again the scene for the region’s big annual event.
The Main Event was the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, not to be confused with the $25K High Roller event that was also played out last week. This year’s winner turned out to be an unknown player from Turkey named Andras Koroknai who beat out a field of 745 players to take down the $1.7M first-place prize.
The final table consisted of the last six players; Koroknai, Raymond Dolan, Tri Huynh, Gevork Kasabyan, Jean-Claude Moussa and Michael Kamran. The six players were making their televised poker debuts and the eventual event winner had only cashed in some small tournament action back in Europe. The final table consisted mostly of amateur players who were living the poker dream of playing in one of the biggest poker tournaments of the year for millions of dollars.
First to fall was Kamran after he got his remaining 490,000 in chips in the middle with 10d-7d. He got action from Kasabyan, who had Ac-Jd, and after hitting an ace on the river Kamran was set to the rail in sixth place with $246K. Next to go was Moussa, who went out after he ran into Ac-Qh while holding As-9c. Moussa pushed in pre-flop and got the death call from Huynh. Tri’s queen kicker held up against the board and Moussa had to settle for the $321K fifth-place prize.
Going out in fourth place, and collecting $450K, was Kasabyan. He ran into a superior ace after check-raising a 300,000 bet with A-7. Huynh called with A-9, and after making a full house, he sent Kasabyan to the rail. But Huynh’s luck wouldn’t last very long because he would be the next to go down. After getting dealt pocket jacks, Huynh raised the action to 400,000 from the button. Then Koroknai moved all-in with A-K, which Huynh eventually decided to call. But the board brought a king and Huynh was out in third place with a $665K paycheck.
The heads-up battle wasn’t much of a battle at all. Koroknai had a massive chip lead of 13,450,000 to Dolan’s 1,450,000 and wasn’t about to drag the heads-up stage through the mud all day. In the first hand of heads-up play Koroknai pushed in his stack with Qh-8h and got called from the short-stacked Dolan. Dolan had Qc-4h while Koroknai held Qh-8h, and after Koroknai hit a flush on the river he was crowned champion of the 2010 WPT L.A. Poker Classic. For the win he got $1.7M, while Dolan got the second-place prize of $1M.