Phil ‘The Unabomber’ Laak was crowned PartyPoker.com World Open V champion last night at the Palm Beach Casino scooping the $250,000 top prize to boot. In his customary hoodie and sunglasses Laak took only five hands in the heads up face off against online qualifier Jan Veit to seal victory.
It had not been such a comfortable ride for the american earlier in the final after he suffered a string of heavy losses. At one point he was staring down at a chip stack of 47,000 with the blinds at 15,000/30,000, about as close to elimination as you can possibly get.
The poker Gods must have been looking down favourably on Laak as he held in there doubling up three times. On each occasion he pushed all-in only to be called by a stronger hand but somehow Laak hit his cards and he was back in the game.
First out on the final table was early chip leader Andy Black, followed shortly by Mike Sexton, whose deserved Hall of Fame induction was confirmed to the public while he was playing the final table. Sexton’s pocket eights ran into Veit’s pocket kings. Champion Laak had special words for the Ambassador of Poker on collecting his trophy. “Mike Sexton, inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame today. The consummate player. Full stop.”
Next to go was Jennifer Tilly when her AJ failed to hit against Veit’s 99 – it looked to many like it was going to be the online qualifier’s day. Fourth place belonged to PartyPoker.com Grassroots team member Bodo Sbrzesny, who impressed again in front of the cameras in a gruelling heads-up battle with Andy Black in his heat and with his creative play at the final table.
Sbrzesny, a Palladium Lounge Elite member, exploded on the scene last year after he won a rake race on PartyPoker.com to take a seat at the Poker Den 36 hour cash game. He certainly made in impression on Roland De Wolfe and Barny Boatman there, by bluffing both with 72 and showing them.
What followed was a long period of three handed play but it was Luke ‘FullFlush’ Schwartz who busted next. After problems entering the casino on the first day, he had his responsible escort on hand in the crowd and certainly did himself justice. As you would expect, he contributed to a chatty and entertaining final table.
Schwartz busted when Veit hit runner, runner for a club flush. At the heads-up stage Veit held a 1,190,000/910,000 advantage but you couldn’t rule out comeback king Laak.
Incredibly, the heads up battle was practically over before it had got going as first hand both players found an Ace in the hole and pushed all-in. Phil had Veit dominated with A8 against A4, to add insult to injury for the Austrian an 8 dropped on the flop leaving him with only 300,000 chips enough for only five big blinds. The inevitable all-in from Veit soon followed and Phil called with a Q10, his hand was good enough to beat J7.
We’ve had a great time over the course five days, through seven heats plus the final the players have kept us royally entertained. It just leaves me to say congratulations to Phil, he’s a very worthy winner of the world Open, showing why he’s one of the most accomplished and popular players on the circuit.
We have exclusive photos from the final table for your perusal over at our facebook fan page facebook.com/partypoker.