Season XVI of the WPT Legends of Poker was the talk of the town in Bell Gardens, California with 35 days of festivities that ran from July 28th – August 31st at The Bicycle Hotel & Casino. Hours ago, the Main Event concluded with Art Papazyan defeating poker legend Phil Hellmuth to ship in his first major live tournament title. In addition, the festival had another special cause to celebrate with the milestone one-billionth dollar reached at the Main Event.
Artur Papazyan wins the Main Event
Artur Papazyan may not have had the live stats to boast around against the big boys, however as one of the final six players out of the 763 total entrants of the Main Event, this was already a huge accomplishment for him.
Entering the final six, Papazyan was clearly an underdog compared to the heavyweights around the felt. J.C. Tran, a double title WPT champion, had been on fire since the start and topped both Day 3 and Day 4. Phil Hellmuth was of course the most well-known poker player in the world with 14 WSOP bracelets but surprisingly he was still on the hunt for that first WPT title. Another strong contender was Marvin Rettenmaier with nearly US$6.5M in live tournament cashes and like Tran, backed by two WPT titles.
Also battling for the glory were Dejuante Alexander and Adam Swan. Alexander recently placed 2nd out of 7,761 entrants at the WSOP US$1500 Millionaire Maker event. As for Swan, just like Papazyan he was attempting to land the largest live score of his career.
The final table got underway with the pros heating it up. Hellmuth immediately took Swan to the cleaners followed by Rettenmaier falling to Tran. Only after another six hours of play with Tran dominating the felt and claiming over half the chips, was Alexander eliminated falling at the hands of Papazyan.
The three-handed round was brutal as the tide turned against Tran, losing his lead, to eventually be emptied in 3rd place by Hellmuth. This set up the final heads up round with both Helmuth and Papazyan almost even in stacks.
While some fans may have been rooting for the poker brat to finally land his first WPT title, it was simply not his for the taking. Papazyan was on attack-mode and won a large majority of the hands to send Hellmuth into the danger zone and then out in runner-up, a position he’s landed a couple of times at the WPT. Papazyan won a massive US$668,692 and became the newest WPT Legends of Poker Main Event champion. He joins the exclusive group of champions that includes pros such as Doyle Brunson, Mel Judah, and Dan Harrington.
Season XVI WPT Legends of Poker Final Table Results
1st: Art Papazyan – $668,692*
2nd: Phil Hellmuth – $364,370
3rd: JC Tran – $217,040
4th: DJ Alexander – $161,490
5th: Marvin Rettenmaier – $120,775
6th: Adam Swan – $91,825
World Poker Tour pays out one-billionth dollar
In addition to the crowning of Papazyan, a special reward went to T.J Shepherd for winning the WPT’s one-billionth prize dollar. Shepherd cashed out in 47th place at the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event, which happened to be the exact spot where the WPT’s one-billionth dollar in cumulative prize monies was reached.
Breaking ground all the way back to 2002, the prestigious brand has now run a course of 16 seasons. Media outfit PokerNews caught up with WPT CEO Adam Pliska who shared his thoughts on this historic moment,
“It represents sixteen years of history of incredible people all over the world coming together.”
“One of the things that we keep saying is, ‘it’s a billion dollars, a million stories.’ The number itself I think is more of a testament of how the brand has endured, the feeling of the World Poker Tour, and why we are so proud to do what we do.”
Shepherd was awarded a seat into the Season XVII WPT Legends of Poker Main Event including accommodation at The Bicycle Hotel & Casino.
Article Triccia David