The final six players sat down to decide the champion of the $5 million World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Ryan Rivers, the last Canadian standing after Day 3 and 4, started the final table 5th in chips, with a little over 4 million.
The chip leader at the end of Day 4 of the $3,500 tournament at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino was Griffin Paul, sitting on a massive stack of over 14 million chips. The only other player who started the day above chip average was second stack Andre Crooks with just over 10 million.
The full final table layout to start the day is as follows:
Canadian Ryan Rivers managed to battle his way through four days of WPT action, even surviving an all in late on Day 4 to secure his spot on the final table. Sadly for Canadian fans, however, Rivers was the first player eliminated from Wednesday's final table. After watching his stack dwindle over the first 50 hands, Rivers shoved his final 10 big blinds from under the gun in hand #57 of the final table. Action folded to Joe Ebanks in the big blind, who tanked for a minute then called, tabling . Rivers' was dominated and while both players paired their on the flop, Rivers was unable to hit one of the three remaining kings in the deck for the win. For his sixth-place finish, Rivers took home $217,500.
Rivers' bustout started a flurry of action. Next to bust, just 14 hands after Rivers, was American Brian Green. When action folded to him in the small blind, Green looked down at and shoved his stack of just under 10 big blinds. Griffin Paul snap-called from the big blind with and the board was no help to Green, who collected $269,000 for his fifth-place finish. Just a couple orbits later, Shawn Nguyen ended his final-table run, coming out on the wrong end of a preflop raising battle with Joe Ebanks. Nguyen took home $323,500 for finishing in fourth place.
The heads-up battle between Paul and Ebanks was finalized when Ebanks got the better of Andre Crooks, less than 30 hands after the first elimination of the day, despite six-bet shoving with the worst hand. Crooks happily called Ebanks' shove with two black kings, and looked to be in great shape when Ebanks showed two red nines. The on the flop was all Ebanks needed to send Crooks to the rail. Crooks collected $383,000 for finishing in third place.
Heads-up play began with Joe Ebanks in the chip lead, 26,475,000 to 17,750,000 and initially it seemed as if Ebanks was destined to grind Paul down as he chipped away at Paul's stack for the first few hands of heads-up play. It didn't take long for Paul to assert his dominance though, doubling up in a race with over-cards against Ebanks' small pair. The double-up gave Paul over 30 million in chips for the first time, and he never again dropped below that threshold, winning the championship in hand #117. When Paul limped for 400,000, Ebanks popped it up to 1,500,000 and Paul quickly called. Ebanks bet out 1,000,000 on the flop of and Paul came over top for all his chips, putting Ebanks to a decision for his life. Ebanks called quickly, only to see his needing an or to survive against Paul's . The turn and river didn't help, and Ebanks had to settle for second place. He collected $615,000, while the win netted Paul a cool $1,000,000.
Details and photo courtesy of the WPT Live Blog.