The 2013 $25,000 World Poker Tour Championship came to an end early Saturday morning with David "Chino" Rheem defeating Erick Lindgren heads-up for the prestigious title and $1,150,297 top prize. Rheem claimed his second WPT title — both coming at the Bellagio in Las Vegas — and joined Marvin Rettenmaier, Scott Seiver, David Williams, Yevgeniy Timoshenko and Carlos Mortensen as winners of the WPT Championship.
WPT Championship Final Table Results
Rheem entered the final table with a sizable chip lead, almost doubling his next closest competitor Erick Lindgren, but Canadian pro Jonathan Roy stole the show early in the day. Roy, who would have clinched the Season XI WPT Player of the Year honor by winning at Bellagio, eliminated David Peters in sixth place shortly after the action began.
According to the WPT Live Updates, Roy min-raised to 80,000 from under the gun, and Peters three-bet to 165,000 from middle position. Roy called, and the flop came . Roy checked, Peters bet 165,000, and Roy check-raised all-in to put Peters to a decision for his tournament life. Peters called with for a pair and a flush draw, and Roy tabled for a pair of jacks. The on the turn and on the river didn't improve Peters, and he collected $173,993 for his sixth-place finish.
Brandon Steven flopped a straight flush with early at the final table, but that was as good as it got for the 39-year-old businessman and part-time poker high roller. Steven exited in fifth place, and once again Roy played executioner. Roy min-raised to 100,000 from under the gun, and Steven moved all in for 520,000 from the button. Roy crunched the numbers before electing to call, and the cards were revealed.
Steven's pair was ahead for the time being, but the gave Roy two pair, sending Steven to the rail to pick up $223,203 in prize money.
Roy stayed active and eliminated Matt Hyman a short while later in a cooler situation. Hyman, whose twin brother, Zach, also cashed in the event, raised to 175,000 from under the gun, Rheem three-bet to 450,000 from the button, and Roy cold-four-bet to 1,025,000 from the small blind. Hyman moved all in for 1,910,000, and after Rheem tank-folded, Roy called instantly with pocket aces. Hyman picked an inopportune time to find pocket kings, and the board knocked him out in fourth place for $289,988.
Roy was closing in on the chip lead, but his run quickly ended when he lost a massive pot to Rheem. With the blinds at 60,000/120,000/ 20,000, Rheem raised to 250,000 from the button, Roy reraised to 670,000 from the small blind, and Rheem called. The flop came , and Rheem called a bet of 620,000 from Roy. The turn brought the , and Roy fired again, this time for 1,310,000. Rheem thought for a couple minutes before deciding to call, creating a pot worth 5.3 million. On the river, Roy moved all in for 2.7 million and Rheem snap-called with for the nut flush. Roy's set of eights came up short on the river, and he received $421,800 for his third-place finish. Roy's elimination also secured the Season XI Player of the Year honor for Matt Salsberg. Salsberg celebrated and thanked Rheem via Twitter after the hand.
Rheem began heads-up play with more than a 3-to-1 chip advantage over Lindgren, but it took more than two hours and almost 100 hands to put the two-time WPT champ away. Lindgren was able to close the gap a little bit by doubling up at one point during the match, but Rheem never surrendered the lead, eventually putting Lindgren away on the 259th hand of the final table. According to the WPT Live Updates, Rheem moved all in preflop and Lindgren paused because calling for his last 10 big blinds with . Rheem tabled , turned to his friends and said, "I got him."
The board ran out , giving Rheem the winning hand with king-high as well as the 2013 WPT Championship title. The $1.1 million score marked Rheem's fourth seven-figure payday in his career. His largest score came at the 2008 WSOP Main Event, where he took 7th place for $1,772,650. He followed that up with a win at the 2008 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio for $1,538,730. Rheem also won an Epic Poker Tour title in 2011 for exactly $1 million.
In a postgame interview with the WPT's Matt Savage, Rheem called his heads-up match with Lindgren "meaningful" because both players are in the process of turning their lives around. Rheem and Lindgren have both faced harsh criticism in the poker community over the past couple years, but Rheem said he is focusing on making better life decisions and repaying those who have supported him while he was down.
Here's the full interview with Rheem:
Photo and data courtesy of the WPT Live Updates team.