Last week at Bellagio in Las Vegas, Eugene Katchalov won the 2007 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, earning $2,482,605, and a $25,500 seat in the 2008 WPT World Championship, which will take place at Bellagio in April.
Katchalov also set a record by winning the final table in just 53 hands. This beat the record that Doyle Brunson set when he won the 2004 WPT Legends of Poker. It was a perfect blend of symmetry that the record that Doyle set was broken at the tournament bearing his name.
The 664 contestants created a prize pool worth $9,661,200, and a first-place prize worth $2,482,605. This was the largest prize in tournament poker history outside of the World Series of Poker main event and the WPT World Championship.
With so much money on the line every final table player was eager to stake his claim for the prize. Here are the chip stacks when final table action started:
Seat 1: Ken Rosen ”” 1,135,000
Seat 2: Ted Kearly ”” 1,620,000
Seat 3: Jordan Rich ”” 6,585,000
Seat 4: Eugene Katchalov ”” 8,360,000
Seat 5: Ryan Daut ”” 330,000
Seat 6: David "Devilfish" Ulliott ”” 1,900,000
The fast and furious pace of the final table continued and three hands later the third victim of the evening was claimed. Nineteen hands into play, Katchalov had the button and he raised to 300,000. Rosen moved all in from the big blind and Katchalov asked for a count.
It was a total bet of 905,000, and Katchalov had to call with 107. Rosen showed down A2 and he was in good shape to double up. The board hit the table 554910 however, and Katchalov rivered two pair to take the pot, adding even more chips to his monster stack (he now held 15 million). Rosen was eliminated in fourth place, earning $433,675.
It seemed as though everything was going Katchalov’s way, that is until he actually lost a hand. Kearly was able to double up through the massive chip leader and bring him back down from the stratosphere. Kearly pushed with QJ and Katchalov made the call with A4. The board came KJ47K and Kearly proved that the ferocious chip leader was human after all.
On the 39th hand of play Ulliott had the button and he moved all in for a little more than 2 million. Katchalov thought for a bit from the big blind before he called with AJ and was happy to see Ulliott turn over a dominated A10. The board of K539K provided no help and the Devilfish was eliminated in third place, earning $674,500.
With the start of heads-up play, the action paused for the money presentation. Eight ladies carrying Doyle Brunson’s signature cowboy hat filled with cash stopped by to drop off the final prize. A quick chip count during this break in the action revealed a lopsided distribution of wealth:
Eight hands into the heads-up match things only got worse for Kearly. Katchalov knocked out one of his legs when he scored a pot that Kearly had invested over 1 million into preflop. After that the end was near and the final battle came down on the 53rd hand of the night. Kearly had the button and he raised to 380,000. Katchalov made the call and the flop came 1063.
Katchalov checked, Kearly bet 300,000, and Katchalov raised to 800,000. Kearly then moved all in and Katchalov called with J10 for a pair of tens. Kearly showed down KJ and he was in deep trouble.
The turn card brought the J, and the river card was the 2. Katchalov won the hand, and the tournament, with two pair - jacks and tens. Kearly finished in second place, earning $1,252,640.