Cards have just gone into the air for the 2013 World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic, one of their premier stops of the year. Before action began Saturday afternoon at the Commerce Casino, Mike Sexton joined Vince Van Patten, Kimberly Lansing, Tony Dunst and the Royal Flush Girls for the shuffle up and deal announcement.
It was a little bit different this time, though, as Sexton recounted story after story about the late Dr. Jerry Buss, sharing how much of an impact Buss had on the game of poker and the people who played it for a living. In addition to playing World Series of Poker events while his Lakers were in the NBA Finals, he hosted players in his personal box at the Staples Center at almost every home game.
Buss’ had a very real impact on the WPT as well. At the first Celebrity Invitational, Buss made the final table and eventually got heads-up with Layne Flack before bowing out in second place. For years after that tournament, Buss would say that he was the one who made Flack famous, and that episode of the WPT remains as one of the most watched in the tour’s history.
Sexton asked all of the players in the room to join him in a moment of silence for Buss, and after that minute of recognition cards went into the air. The LA Poker Classic had the largest prizepool of Season X and is one of the few remaining $10,000 events on the schedule. 549 players took their shot at the title in 2012, with over $5.2 million at stake by the close of registration.
The final table was one of the better ones in recent memory on the WPT, with David Sands, Dan Kelly, Noah Schwartz and Jason Somerville among the final six. It would eventually be Sean Jazayeri putting his name on the Champion’s Trophy, defeating Sands heads-up to win over $1.3 million.
The list of previous champions in this event is an impressive one to say the least. Gus Hansen won the inaugural event in 2003, and he was followed by Antonio Esfandiari, Michael Mizrachi and Phil Ivey, among others. Before he was gaining infamy on WSOP broadcasts for mucking his hand out of turn and eventually making the final tabl, Andras Koroknai won the 2010 LA Poker Classic.
Day 1 of the 2013 LA Poker Classic will feature four 60 minute levels followed by two 90 minutes levels before they bag chips at the end of the night. With no dinner break, play should end around 8:30 pm local time (11:30 pm ET). There is only one starting day, but players can enter until the start of play on Day 2. There is no re-entry for this tournament. Wednesday will be the playdown day, and the final six will return on Thursday to play for the title.
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