Nabil Hirezi Wins WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open

Nabil Hirezi wins WPT Jacksonville

The World Poker Tour (WPT) hasn't missed a beat coming from the California Swing last week and jumping into action on the East coast in Florida this week. The $3,500 WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open began on March 22nd, and PokerNews Canada has daily recaps throughout the whole event.

Final Update

The WPT has a new Champions Club member. Nabil Hirezi outlasted 257 players to capture the WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open crown and $206,041, including a seat in next month’s WPT Championship. Hirezi becomes the second-straight hometown favourite to win a WPT title. JC Tran completed the feat at last week’s WPT Rolling Thunder in Sacramento.

On the final hand of the night, James Calderaro limp-called for 50,000, Hirezi raised to 150,000, Calderaro re-raised to 550,000, Hirezi three-bet shoved all in, and Calderaro made the call with his last 3,395,000.
Hirezi was ahead turning over {10-Clubs}{10-Diamonds} against Calderaro’s {a-Clubs}{k-Diamonds}. A classic race was under way for the WPT title. The {k-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{5-Hearts} flop was a good one for Calderaro as he spiked top pair. Calderaro was looking very good for the double up which would give him the chip lead and cripple Hirezi. The {q-Hearts} on the turn brought no change and Hirezi was left with one out to win the pot. The {10-Hearts} would chop the pot, giving both players a flush, so the {10-Spades} was Hirezi’s only hope. That is exactly what the river would bring. Calderaro was left stunned as the {10-Spades} landed on the river in front of him and he would be the last player eliminated earning $133,764 for 2nd place.

Faraz Jaka was the first casualty of the final table after being the victim of the first cooler of the final day as well.

Peter Le raised to 43,000 under the gun and Jaka re-raised to 98,000. Le three-bet to 165,000 and Jaka four-bet shoved for 539,000. Le snap-called, flipping over {a-Spades}{a-Clubs}. Jaka unfortunately had {k-Clubs}{k-Spades} being dominated even with the flush draw possibilities. Jaka was drawing to the two remaining kings and after the {a-Diamonds}{j-Clubs}{9-Clubs} Jaka had less than a 1% chance of catching running kings. The turn {j-Diamonds} and river {4-Spades} spelled the end for Jaka, leaving in 6th place for $38,241.

Jordan Cristos was the next to fall, looking to double up or better in a three-way pot. Cristos raised to 54,000 from the cutoff, Hirezi made the call from the small blind, and Le from the big blind. The flop fell {q-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}{2-Spades} and after the blinds checked, Cristos bet 54,000. Hirezi check-called and Le check-folded to see the {j-Spades} fall on the turn. Cristos and Hirezi both checked the turn and the river came the {4-Clubs}. Hirezi bet 105,000, Cristos raised to 325,000, Hirezi moved all in over top, and Cristos committed his last 786,000. Hirezi turned over {a-Diamonds}{3-Spades} for a wheel straight and Cristos was forced to muck, exiting in 5th for $47,802.

The 4th-place finisher was Peter Le. Le moved all in preflop for his last 140,000 and had a chance to triple up being called by Brian Green and Hirezi. The flop came {8-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{4-Spades} and Hirezi checked, Green bet 100,000, and Hirezi folded. Green revealed a flopped set with {4-Diamonds}{4-Hearts} and was in trouble with {q-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}. The {j-Diamonds} on the turn left Le drawing dead to the river {9-Hearts}. Le earned $63,682.

The heads-up battle was set when Brian Green got into a hand with Calderaro. Calderaro raised to 75,000 on the button, Green re-raised to 250,000 in the big blind, and Calderaro flatted.

The two saw a {j-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{5-Spades} flop and Green moved all in for 880,000. Calderaro made the call with {j-Hearts}{10-Diamonds} and Green needed some help with his {q-Spades}{q-Hearts}. Green would not get the aid he was looking for from the turn {8-} or river {3-} and Green hit the rail in 3rd for $86,043.

1Nabil Hirezi$206,041
2James Calderaro$133,764
3Brian Green$86,043
4Peter Le$63,682
5Jordan Cristos$47,802
6Faraz Jaka$38,241

Calderaro came just short of winning back-to-back Florida WPT’s and, with his runner-up finish, moved up to 5th in the Season XII WPT Player of the Year points race.

The next stop in Season XII is the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, but the WPT will travel north for the WPT National Canadian Spring Championship at Playground Poker Room in Montreal, Canada. Stay tuned for updates as PokerNews Canada will be on site reporting the excitement.

Day 3 Update

James Calderaro has a chance to win back-to-back WPT events in Florida when he sits down at the WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open final table. Calderaro won WPT Lucky Hearts in February for $271,103.

Nabil Hirezi will take the chip lead into the final table on Tuesday. Hirezi ended play on Day 3 with 2,792,000 chips. WPT Champions Club members Calderaro and Jordan Cristos will also take a seat, along with Season VIII WPT player of the year Faraz Jaka, Peter Le, and Brian Green. Here is the seating assignment for the final table.

Seat 1James Calderaro1,916,000 (95 BB)
Seat 2Nabil Hirezi2,792,000 (139 BB)
Seat 3Peter Le1,083,000 (54 BB)
Seat 4Faraz Jaka542,000 (27 BB)
Seat 5Brian Green444,000 (22 BB)
Seat 6Jordan Cristos975,000 (48 BB)

Day 3 started with 19 hopefuls looking to make the final table. The dream ended for 13 of them. The only Champions Club member to bust on the day was Jared Jaffee. Jaffee was hoping to make back-to-back WPT Jacksonville final tables as he won the WPT Jacksonville Fall Poker Scramble in 2013. Jaffee busted in 12th for $13,935. Home-state favourites John Racener, who Jonathan Duhamel beat heads-up for the WSOP Main Event title, busted 13th for $11,424, and Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier hit the rail in 16th for $9,722.

Other notables busting on Day 3 were Dan Heimiller in 18th for $9,722 and Dylan Wilkerson, who is now sitting in third place on the WPT Season XII POY leaderboard. Bryan Irish-Jones became the unfortunate bubble boy of the final table when he was looking to double up off chip leader Nabil Hirezi.

Hirezi min-raised to 32,000 UTG+1 and Irish-Jones moved all in over top for 260,000 from the big blind. Hirezi made the call with {k-Spades}{j-Clubs}, Irish-Jones was ahead holding {a-Spades}{q-Spades}. The flop came {k-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}. Irish-Jones was in big trouble as Hirezi flopped a full-house. The turn {k-Clubs} was even worse for Irish-Jones meaning he was drawing dead as the {5-Spades} fell on the river. Irish-Jones was eliminated in seventh place for $31,760.

Play will resume at the final table at 2 pm ET. Check back at day’s end to see who will be crowned the WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open Champion.

Day 2 Update

Two WPT Champions Club members up top! Jared Jaffee and Jordan Cristos lead the way on Day 2. Jaffe holds the chip lead with 776,000, while Cristos follows close behind bagging 699,000.

101 players returned for Day 2. After nine levels of play, only 19 remain. James Calderaro is another Champions Club member left in the hunt. Both Calderaro and Jaffee will be looking for back-to-back WPT titles. Jaffee won the WPT Fall Poker Scramble in Jacksonville late last year and Calderaro won the WPT Lucky Hearts last month.

Other notables surviving Day 2 were PokerStars Team Pro Jason Mercier, Faraz Jaka, John Racener, Dan Heimiller, and Dylan Wilkerson.

Here are the top 10 stacks from Day 2:

1Jared Jaffee776,000
2Jordan Cristos699,000
3Peter Le604,000
4Bryan Irish-Jones573,000
5Sean WInter552,000
6Nabil Hirezi520,000
7Kevin Choe513,000
8James Calderaro510,000
9Faraz Jaka494,000
10Ali Alawadhi441,000

Those not so fortunate on the day were Champions Club members Moshin Charania, Will Failla, Shawn Cunix, Anthony Zinno, Marvin Rettenmaier, Mike Linster, Jonathan Little, and Scotty Nguyen. WPT familiar faces Amanda Musumeci, POY points leader Mukul Pahuja, Zo Karim, Shannon Shorr, Ben Zamani, and Byron Kaverman also shared the same fate.

Day 3 will start at noon ET in Jacksonville. Check back at the end of play to see who made the final table.

Day 1b Update

Day 1b kicked off Saturday at noon in Jacksonville. An additional 147 players entered on the day bringing the total to 258.
The official prize pool sits at $825,600 with the champ taking home $190,641 and a $15,000 seat to the WPT Championship.

60 players survived Day 1b, and Manuel Rafanan led the way bagging 272,100. His closest competitor with 182,400 was Bryan Irish-Jones. WPT Champions Club member Jared Jaffee was also among the leaders.

1Manuel Rafanan272,100
2Bryan Irish-Jones182,400
3Ali Alawadhi182,400
4Raymond Morgan160,700
5William Oneal157,400
6Kevin Choe145,200
7Jared Jaffee134,400
8Stan Sinclair120,900
9Amanda Musumeci115,200
10Millard Hale113,900

Champions Club members Mike Linster, Jordan Cristos, Scotty Nguyen, Moshin Charania, and Jaffee will all carry stacks into Day 2. Other notables bagging their stacks were Ben Zamani, WPT Player of the Year leader Mukul Pahuja, Byron Kaverman, and Micah Raskin.

Busting on Day 1Bbwas Canadian Scott Montgomery, Champions Club member Matthew Waxman, Harrison Gimbel, and Justin Zaki.

101 players will take a seat at the start of Day 2. 27 of them will make the money. Rafanan will have the chip lead, while Day 1a leader Lazaro Hernandez sits 60,000 behind with 212,200.

Play will resume at noon in Jacksonville. Check back for the end of day recap where the bubble should be popped.

Day 1a Update

Day 1a of the $3,500 WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open saw 111 players take a seat. Lazaro Hernandez lead the way with 212,200 chips, and Greg Baumhover was a close second with 193,100. PokerStars Team Pro Jason Mercier, Dylan Wilkerson, and Champions Club members Jonathan Little, Marvin Rettenmaier, James Calderaro, and Shawn Cunix were also in the mix.

Season XI’s champion at this location, Mike Linster, walked away with $321,521 after 351 players created a $1,123,204 prize pool last year.

The day started with an invitation-only freeroll satellite for players who competed in all three stops of the California Swing. Of the 105 players that qualified, only 12 showed up. They were divided into two tables of six where they all decided to play one all-in shootout hand. Faraz Jaka won his table with {a-Spades}{k-Hearts} hitting a pair of aces, and Micah Raskin won the other shootout with {j-Spades}{10-Spades} catching a broadway straight.

Jaka was able to use his freeroll to build his starting stack up to 72,300 chips while Raskin busted late in the day. All players have unlimited re-entries available until the start of Level 5. Other notables surviving the day were Shannon Shorr, Anthony Zinno, John Racener, and Will Failla.

Here are the top ten stacks at day’s end:

1Lazaro Hernandez212,200
2Greg Baumhover193,100
3Jason Mercier168,300
4Mike Arrington167,500
5Jonathan Little141,500
6Dylan Wilkerson134,200
7Michael Palmer127,200
8Shannon Shorr118,200
9Marvin Rettenmaier110,300
10James Calderaro102,500

Scott Montgomery looked to be the only Canadian registered on Day 1a. Montgomery was eliminated in a very weird spot. With the board on the turn reading {q-Clubs}{9-Spades}{3-Spades}{k-Clubs}, Montgomery bet 10,500, and the button called. The river brought the {3-Diamonds} and button open flips over {k-Spades}{j-Diamonds} thinking Montgomery had checked. Montgomery had not and now took to the tank to decide his next move. Montgomery chose to move all in and the button called, covering him. Montgomery stood up and left the table as soon as the call was made.

Busting on the day and likely re-entering on Day 1b are Matthew Waxman, WPT Player of the Year points leader Mukul Pahuja, Champions Club members Mike Linster, Moshin Charania, Jordan Cristos, and Jared Jaffee, as well as Ben Zamani, Byron Kaverman, and the WPT’s own Mike Sexton.

Play will resume at noon in Jacksonville for the start of Day 1b. Check back at the end of play for a full day’s recap and a look at the final numbers.

* Images and data courtesy of the WPT Live Blog.

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