Patience is a virtue than can sometimes be overlooked in poker. It would be hard to fault even the highest level pros for allowing their focus to slip as fatigue set in, especially over the course of more than 200 hands under the hot lights of the World Poker Tour set.
It didn’t faze Paul Klann, though, and his patience paid off in a big way. After 203 hands of poker Thursday night at the Commerce Casino, the Canadian amateur defeated Paul Volpe heads-up to claim his first major title and just over $1 million at the 2013 WPT LA Poker Classic.
“It was a long week, and a long day,” said Klann. “It’s really surreal, to be honest. I’m going to wake up in the morning and hope that this dream is still real.”
After starting their heads-up match at a deficit of more than two-to-one, Klann fought his way back into the lead before Volpe hit a monster turn card and made trip deuces to beat Klann’s top pair of aces with a queen kicker and double up.
Klann scratched and clawed his way back, doubling up with A J against T 9 and eventually taking the lead once again. The biggest pot of the tournament pitted Klann’s K T against Volpe’s J 9 for all but 600,000 of the chips in play, and king-high was good enough to all but lock up the title. He finished Volpe off with Q 5 against T 9 as it ran out J 8 4 2 A to bring the tournament to a swift end. Though it looked dark at times, Klann never wavered in his confidence in his gameplan.
“The way that I looked at it, a lot of them were playing really aggressively,” said Klann, “Especially the shorter stacks. I figured that if I could stay out of the way I could really pick my spots and build up my stack, and they would knock each other out. I thought I could ladder up, and for the most part that’s what happened. When it came to heads-up, my gameplan was definitely to be very aggressive and that’s what I did, and I got lucky.”
It was a crazy day of poker Thursday as the chips moved around constantly over the nine hours of play at the LAPC final table. Four of the six players were either in the lead or within one big blind of the lead during that time, with only David Fong and Toby Lewis failing to get anything going. Lewis’ exit came very early in the day, as he fell to an unfortunate beat at the hands of Danny Fuhs. Fuhs’ A 9 hit a 9 on the flop to surpass Lewis’ A T and send the 23-year-old Brit, who already has an EPT victory to his credit, out in sixth place.
It would be another 80 hands before the final table saw its second elimination. Fong held on for quite some time, doubling up once and making several short runs back into contention before falling at the hands of Fuhs. It was a classic race as Fuhs’ A K would pull ahead of Fong’s Q Q on the turn of an 8 4 2 K board, and with no queen or spade on the river Fong’s run would come to an end in fifth.
Another 68 hands of four-handed play would commence, as Fuhs appreciated his largest lead of the tournament. The wheels would start to come off as first Jesse Yaginuma and then Volpe doubled through him, with the latter costing Fuhs almost all of his chips. Fuhs’ A 7 was well behind Volpe’s A Q, but it looked like another case of good timing for Fuhs as the flop came out T 9 7 to put him well ahead. The T on the turn gave Volpe a number of additional outs, as an ace or queen would give him a superior two-pair and a club would make his flush. The K would complete the runner-runner flush, and Volpe took the pot and the chiplead while Fuhs was left with just two big blinds.
He’d double through Yaginuma once, but it was just too much for Fuhs to overcome. His Q 9 was no match for Volpe’s K J as it ran out 7 6 4 A 7 to send Fuhs out in fourth, and he would soon be joined on the rail by Yaginuma. Just seven hands later we once again saw Volpe doing the dirty work, picking up A T against Yaginuma’s Q J in an all-in confrontation preflop. Yaginuma picked up some additional hope on the 9 8 5 flop, but the 7 and 3 would not do it as his run came to an end in third place.
After 41 hands of heads-up play, Klann emerged victoriously against Volpe and became a newly minted millionaire. Klann also received a $25,000 seat to the WPT Championship, a larger version of the Remington trophy awarded to winners of all LAPC events, and a plaque with his name on it that will be permanently attached to the WPT Champions Trophy.
The next stop on the WPT is right around the corner as they head to San Jose for the Bay 101 Shooting Star, beginning on March 4.
Here are the final table payouts for the 2013 World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic.
- Paul Klann – $1,004,090
- Paul Volpe – $651,170
- Jesse Yaginuma – $429,810
- Danny Fuhs – $316,650
- David Fong – $236,250
- Toby Lewis – $193,560