In what is definitely the longest tournament name out there, James Dempsey prevailed over a field that was star studded at the World Poker Tour’s Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Classic. The final table itself drew some well-known names, featuring players like Antonio Esfandiari, Vanessa Selbst, Andrew Lichtenberger, and 2012 November Niner Soi Nguyen. Esfandiari was looking to become the first ever player to become a repeat champion of a WPT event, while Selbst was looking to become the first female winner of one.
To start the six handed action, Nguyen found himself atop the leaderboard with over a 1 million chip lead (4.995 million), with Dempsey in second place (3.86 million). Lichtenberger was in third with 3.605 million chips, followed by Selbst with 2.25 million, Esfandiari with 1.255 million, and Vitor Coelho with 560k.
When all was said and done through the first four eliminations, there was Dempsey and Nguyen, the two players atop the leaderboard to start the day, matched up to decide the championship. Esfandiari went out in 6th, and was followed by Coelho in 5th place, Lichtenberger in 4th place, and Selbst falling just short in 3rd place. The heads up play started with each player almost even in chips, and set up quite an interesting match.
It started with Dempsey up a bit early on, but it wasn’t long before Nguyen took a big pot and control of the game. After Nguyen kept raising and re-raising, Dempsey found himself at a huge disadvantage of over 10 million chips, 13.5 million to 3 million. He was able to get up to about 6 million before a huge hand went down. The action started with a raise by Nguyen pre-flop, and a three-bet by Dempsey. The flop came down with the Queen of spades, 2 of spades, and 4 of clubs; prompting Dempsey to bet out 1 million chips. Nguyen called this, and the turn came with a Ten of spades, leading to an all-in from Dempsey. Nguyen debated for multiple minutes before finally calling and turning over As-5d for the nut flush draw and a straight draw. Dempsey had Ad-Js for a worse flush draw, but a higher kicker, meaning that he could either hit one of his straight cards, or have a blank come on the river. It was the King of hearts, giving Dempsey the straight with no flush for Nguyen, and everything had turned.
It wasn’t long after that before Dempsey sent the knockout punch to Nguyen, as he called his opponents’ all in with K-Q, and Nguyen turned over K-J. Nguyen actually flopped a Jack to take the lead, but the river gave Dempsey a flush, the championship, and a $821,612 payday. Nguyen got a nice pay out for his run as well, taking home $517,478.