There are hundreds of poker players who reach the precipice of a major championship and fall just shy, never to return. For Jonathan Jaffe, it took just over six years to get a second shot at a World Poker Tour title – only this time he wouldn’t let the opportunity slip through his fingers.
Jaffe beat Ratharam Sivagnanam in an extended heads-up match after outlasting the likes of Mukul Pahuja, Kevin MacPhee and Samuel Chartier to seal the WPT Montreal title Wednesday night. He also earned $409,656 – the second-largest cash of Jaffe’s career behind that 2008 WPT Foxwoods World Poker Finals runner-up result.
It was the second part of a redemption story six weeks in the making – one that started in mid-October as Jaffe captured (an albeit smaller) World Poker Finals Main Event title. The second win wouldn’t come quite as easily.
After outlasting 726 other entrants to come into the final table of six as the chipleader, Jaffe still had some serious work to do – but he wouldn’t be the first to tangle in a major pot. Pahuja, the defending WPT Player of the Year, got an early double through Guillaume Nolet as his 6 5 held off A J after a 5 3 2 flop.
Nolet had little left after missing that draw, and Jaffe and Sivagnanam both came for it on the very next hand. After a flop of Q J J, Jaffe bet Sivagnanam out of the pot and tabled A A. Nolet’s 9 4 needed a miracle that would officially be snuffed out on the 3 turn, ending his tournament in sixth.
Sivagnanam would grab a bigger fish and a much bigger pot as Chartier ran his 7 7 into Sivagnanam’s Q Q. The A 8 3 9 9 runout kept it clean for Sivagnanam as he assumed the chiplead and busted Chartier in fifth place.
Jaffe got a chance at his second knockout of the final table when MacPhee shoved with K T and he woke up with A Q on the button. The A Q 8 flop gave Jaffe two-pair but left the window open for MacPhee with four outs for a Broadway straight. That window was immediately slammed shut as the A gave Jaffe an unbeatable full house and the 7 was an afterthought as MacPhee – an EPT champion in his own right – was sent home in fourth.
If there was any doubt that the first half of this table was the Jonathan Jaffe show, the massive pot he played with Pahuja put that to rest. After Jaffe raised to 260,000, Pahuja bumped it back to 740,000 in the big blind. Jaffe four-bet to 1.4 million and Pahuja thought it over for about a minute before five-betting all in for 4.6 million total.
It was an easy call for Jaffe, who tabled K K, and Pahuja needed to hit out with A Q to survive and double in the biggest pot of the tournament to this point. The K 7 2 flop was about as bad a board as Pahuja could have seen as all his possibilities of doubling now required running cards to a straight. The 2 gave Jaffe another full house, securing Pahuja’s third place finish a year after he took second in this very event.
That pot gave Jaffe a commanding lead of nearly 3-to-1, but Sivagnanam would not go quietly. The pair traded pot after pot, with Sivagnanam eventually fighting his way into the lead during a heads-up match that outlasted the entirety of three, four, five and six-handed play at the final table.
Jaffe never found himself all in, however, and eventually regained the lead and all the momentum. On Hand 135 Sivagnanam limped, Jaffe raised to 1.4 million and Sivagnanam shoved all in for 5,225,000. Jaffe called with A K and he was ahead, but Sivagnanam was live with T 8 and a chance to even the match once more.
The 6 4 3 flop helped neither player and the J left Sivagnanam with just six outs going into the river. The Q was the final card dealt in this tournament as Jaffe secured the victory – adding his name to the WPT Champions Trophy and claiming a specially made Playground Poker Championship Belt. Jaffe also takes home a pair of gold Monster 24K headphones, a Hublot King Power Unico watch and a seat in the Season XIII WPT World Championship.
2014 WPT Montreal – Final Results
- Jonathan Jaffe – $409,656
- Ratharam Sivagnanam – $276,472
- Mukul Pahuja – $178,174
- Kevin MacPhee – $131,778
- Samuel Chartier – $98,670
- Guillaume Nolet – $79,725
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