David Williams Defeats Phil Laak in WPT Monster Invitational

David WIlliams won the World Poker Tour Monster Invitational at the Borgata, (Photo by Thomas Keeling)

David WIlliams won the World Poker Tour Monster Invitational at the Borgata, (Photo by Thomas Keeling)

David Williams survived a back-and-forth heads-up match against Phil Laak and won the World Poker Tour Monster Invitational. Williams earned $20,000 in cash and $35,000 in WPT buy-ins to the Five Diamond World Poker Classic, LA Poker Classic and World Championship in April.

“It feels good to win, the last invitational I was at was the Young Guns Invitational and that was like ten years ago,” Williams said. “Going into it I was cocky and brash but now ten years later against these great players and two people I really look up to, I wasn’t just getting lucky on the all ins. When the broadcast airs and you see my hole cards out you’ll see I really put it all on the line and made some gutsy moves.”

The event featured Antonio Esfandiari, Laak, Tony Dunst, Scotty Nguyen, Vanessa Selbst and Williams. The winner-take-all format included a pair of Monster 24K headphones and a Hublot King Power Unico watch.

After 90 minutes of play Esfandiari opened and Nguyen moved his short stack in on the button. Esfandiari called holding K 9 and Nguyen had a small lead with A 8. The board ran T 9 3 K J and Esfandiari’s two pair ended Nguyen’s day.

An orbit later Dunst open-shoved his short stack and Selbst called. Dunst turned up Q 4, Selbst showed A 9 and the dealer spread the K K 5 3 A board and Selbst won the pot. Dunst was out in fifth place as Seblst took over the chip lead.

About 30 minutes later Esfandiari opened on the button, Selbst three-bet from the big blind and Esfandiari moved all in holding K J. Selbst called and tabled pocket tens. Esfandiari had a flip for his tournament life and came up blank when the board ran 9 5 3 5 8. Esfandiari was eliminated, Selbst flirted with a million, while Williams held 317,000 and Laak held 224,000.

The stacks evened out over the course of an hour before Laak and Selbst went to a J T 7 flop. Selbst led out, Laak raised and Selbst called after some thought. The turn came 3, Selbst checked, Laak bet and Selbst check-raised all in. Laak insta-called having flopped a straight holding 9 8. Selbst sighed, tabling J T for two pair. The river bricked with the 2 and Selbt was eliminated as Laak and Williams readied for heads-up play.

They began with Laak holding 906,000 and Williams had 594,000. After a dozen hands of heads-up play, Laak limped and Williams moved all in. Laak called with pocket sixes and Williams turned up A Q for two over cards. He hit the flop straight away when it came Q 7 3. The turn came 5, giving Laak a straight draw but the river came T and Williams doubled up to take the lead.

Laak doubled up shortly later when his K T flopped a straight when it came Q 9 8. Williams held two pair with Q 8 and needed to improve to a full house to end the tournament. The board completed J J and Laak was back on top by a small margin. Williams came roaring back and doubled again after flopping a set and Laak held two pair.

The back and forth heads-up match came to an end when Laak moved in preflop holding Q 9 and Williams called holding A 5. The board ran J T 6 J 5 and Williams won the tournament with two pair.

WPT Monster Invitational Final

  1. David Williams
  2. Phil Laak
  3. Vanessa Selbst
  4. Antonio Esfandiari
  5. Tony Dunst
  6. Scotty Nguyen

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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join PokerNews.com. After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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