Ilyas Muradi won the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open, the World Poker Tour's first live tour stop in 2021.
After a ten month hiatus, that's alive World Poker Tour Main tour returned to Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for that WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open. After a long game day and a three-handed deal Ilyas Muradi took home $ 605,000, a ticket for that 2021 WPT Tournament of Championsand his first career WPT title.
For anyone wondering if live poker players are ready to get back into action, the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open had the answer. Despite the state of the pandemic, the plexiglass barrier game and the requirement to wear masks made the field the third largest in the WPT's eighteen-year history, with 1,753 entrants. It wasn't just a crowd of local players making their way to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino as players from all over the world had traveled to the WPT Main Tour's first live event since it closed WPT Rolling Thunder in March 2020.
There were many notable names who made a deep run in the event but missed the final table. World Champion of the Poker Tour Sam Panzica (189th, $ 6,150) and Kevin Eyster (167th, $ 6,300) did day 3 just like that Athanasios Polychronopoulous (125th, $ 7,025), Will "The Thrill" Failla (103rd, $ 7,880) and noted vlogger Johnnie Moreno (93rd, $ 8,230). Among those who joined them in the money were Jerry Wong (90th, $ 8,230), Alex Keating (77th, 9,885 US dollars) and worldwide current online professional no. 2 from Croatia Ivan ‘Zufo16’ Zufic (31st, 23,110 USD).
The last three tables featured some of the biggest names on the World Poker Tour, including the WPT winner Aaron Mermelstein (25th, $ 23,110), Scott Baumstein (24th, $ 27,660), WPT Deepstack Champion Justin Liberto ($ 22nd, $ 27,660) and four-time WPT Champion Darren Elias who finished tenth and earned $ 79,455, bringing his career WPT to just under $ 3.9 million.
Day four began with the final seven players completing two 90-minute levels before reaching the official final table of six. Andy HwangThe last member of the WPT Champion Club left on the field started day three with chips. After a few hours, however, he had drawn a short stack of less than 20 big blinds. After an increase of Francis Margaglione In the early position with (7d) (7c), Hwang sent his stack with (ac) (kh) with three bets. He folded himself back to Margaglione and called. The board ran out of (3s) (2s) (2h) (6d) (qd) and saw a new WPT champion be crowned when Hwang was eliminated in seventh place for $ 115,630.
About twenty minutes later, after an early position raise, Tsz Shing sent his 22 big blind stack holding (kh) (qd) off the button. Ronnie Bardah folded the call from the small blind with his (qh) (qs) and early position raiser. The (th) (7c) (6c) (4d) (5d) ran cleanly for the pocket queens, eliminating Brooklyn's Shing in sixth place for career-high live cash of $ 168,990.
With five hands Jesse Lonis increase with (th) (ts) from the late position. After passing Bardah in the big blind, Bardah three-bet with the (ks) (kc). With the action back on Lonis and 30 big blinds behind, Lonis four-bet with Bardah Snap-Call was delivered. The flop (qd) (7d) (7s) made Lonis look for one of two outs to save him. The (3d) hit the turn and the (jd) finished the board, finishing the Lonis tournament in fifth place for $ 223,895.
Margaglione started the day with the chip lead, but his stack slowly declined as the day progressed. Finally he made his move by lifting off the button with (qc) (9s) and then being pushed up from the big pile of Bardah in the Big Blind Holding (ad) (kc). With just over 10 big blinds behind, Margaglione decided to call. The flop came (ac) (6c) (7s) and gave Bardah top pair. Margaglione sought runner-runner help. The (2h) was of no use to Margaglione, who moved dead to the (jh) river. Margaglione finished fourth with $ 293,510.
During a break, the last three players have negotiated a deal for the remaining prize pool. Ilyas Muradi $ 580,000 was jailed when the chip leader and Bardah, who sat in second place, agreed to $ 566,135. Robel Andemichael secured $ 545,500 and all three agreed to leave $ 25,000 and a ticket to the WPT Tournament of Champions on the table for the eventual winner.
The three remaining players have agreed to a deal.
Ilyas Muradi – $ 25,000,000 – $ 580,000
Ronnie Bardah – $ 19,400,000- $ 546,135
Robel Andemichael – $ 16,900,000- $ 545,500
You'll be playing for $ 40,000 including a $ 15K seat on #WPTTOC.
♥ ️ https://t.co/FlpuUaAusF https://t.co/tmPdu23ICZ
– World Poker Tour (@WPT) January 27, 2021
Although a deal was struck, the pace of the game remained conscious. After about two hours Andemichael raised with (ac) (9d) on the button and Bardah pushed his last twelve big blinds into the middle with (as) (2s). The (kd) (4c) (2h) flop gave Bardah the lead, and the (ts) turn held. But the (9s) River shook hands with Andemichael, who eliminated Bardah in third place for his agreed career height of $ 566,135.
The heads-up game started practically in chips with Andemichael and Muradi. Another two hours passed without either player having a significant lead. Finally, Andemichael moved all-in for his last 15 big blinds with (ad) (6d) and was called by Muradi Holding (4d) (4h). The board ran out of (tc) (9c) (8s) (3c) (qs) and gave Muradis Pocket Fours the pot and his first WPT title. Andemichael finished second, taking home the $ 545,500 he won on the deal.
Ilyas Muradi added the $ 25,000 to his $ 580,000 portion of the deal for a total of $ 605,000 plus a $ 15,000 ticket to the Tournament of Champions and a date his name was on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup should be engraved.
Final table payouts
1. Ilyas Muradi – $ 605,000 * + seat of the WPT Tournament of Champions
2. Robel Andemichael – $ 545,000 *
3. Ronnie Bardah – $ 566,135 *
4. Francis Margaglione – $ 293,510
5. Jesse Lonis – $ 223,895
6. Tsz Shing – $ 168,990