In poker, it’s better to be lucky than good – but it’s best to be both. On Saturday evening at the Bellagio, it took everything that Mohsin Charania could muster and a fair bit of good fortune to come from way behind to win the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1.48 million and his second career WPT title.
Garrett Greer was the unfortunate runner-up, losing six out of the eight all ins heads-up – including a coinflip for all but 1 million of the chips in play. It was still a tremendous result for Greer at his second career WPT Final table – and his very first tournament since being named a BLUFF.com WPT One to Watch.
It was a bit of deja vu for Charania, who came back from a massive deficit a year ago in Paris to win his first WPT title – and his mindset was very much the same this time around
“[It was the] same thing that went through my head last year,” said Charania. “I’m going to have to win one all in, double up, get to 15, 20, 30 big blinds and then grind it out. Garrett was a much tougher opponent, so I needed to pick good spots. What ended up happening is that he played better than me, and got it good multiple times. Sometimes you have to get really lucky to win a poker tournament… well, all times, really.”
A massive comeback in securing victory was as fitting ending for Charania, who fought back from almost nothing numerous times in this tournament on his way to the title.
“Every time before when I was short stacked and came back, I got a little unlucky to get short stacked again,” said Charania. “This time I was short stacked and got super lucky to get all the chips – I guess it came full circle.”
Brett Shaffer, the chipleader and Ryan Julius, the short stack, were outliers while the middle counts were really close at the start of the final table – but chip counts quickly leveled out. Julius doubled through Ryan Fee by winning a coinflip with 6 6 against Fee’s A Q.
Greer took over the chiplead for the first time with a small pot on Hand 18 – a lead he’d trade several times with Shaffer in the next few orbits. Tobias Reinkemeier, who was second to start the day after a huge rush at the end of Day 5, lost a big pot to Fee to fall to sixth and dropped another to Shaffer to fall under 1 million.
After Greer took back the lead on Hand 35, he held it for the vast majority of the night – and he took his first big step towards a dominant position on the very next hand. Reinkemeier raised enough to commit himself in the cutoff, Greer three-bet all in from the big blind and Reinkemeier called all in for 1.1 million with A T. Greer’s J J was best, but Reinkemeier improved from three outs to five on the T 6 2 flop. The 5 turn put Reinkemeier on the brink with one card to come, and the Q would be it as the prolific German pro exited in sixth.
Fee took a big pot off of Shaffer and passed him into second place – setting the stage for a hand between he and Greer that would shape the rest of the final table. It started quietly enough, as Fee minraised to 200,000 in the cutoff and Greer called on the button to see a flop of J T 2.
After Fee bet 400,000, Greer pondered his options before settling on a call = and the 3 fell on the turn. Fee bet 1 million, Greer thought for some time again and eventually raised all in – having Fee covered by about 1.5 million.
It was Fee’s turn to think, and he decided to call as he showed A A – but Greer had hit his dream flop with J J. With one card to come, Greer needed to fade just two cards to control over 60 percent of the chips in play four-handed – and he did it in style, as the J gave him quad jacks and sent Fee home in fifth.
They’d only be four-handed for a total of six hands. Shaffer opened to 225,000 on the button and Julius three-bet all in for 1.6 million in the small blind. Shaffer called and showed A A, putting Julius on the edge of disaster and elimination with 9 9. The T 4 4 flop was of little help, and the Q kept Julius at two outs with one card to come. The 7 was the final card Julius would see at this final table, and before they had hit the 50 hand mark at the final table the field had been cut in half.
Charania, the lone WPT champion coming into this final table, was very quiet to this point and had a lot of ground to cover to get back into it. Before he could get involved, however, Shaffer made two-pair in a 4 million chip pot with Greer and significantly closed the gap.
A few hands later Greer raised to 200,000 on the button and Charania three-bet all in for 1.6 million. Greer thought for over a minute before calling with A 8, and his trepidation proved valid as Charania’s A J had him in rough shape. The K Q 4 flop gave Charania outs to a straight, but also gave Greer outs to a chop. The 3 turn added more chop outs, but the 6 river locked up Charania’s double and put him back in the game – within a double of the chiplead three-handed.
Greer regained some momentum, chipping away with a number of medium-sized pots against both Shaffer and Charania to climb back to 10 million. Shaffer climbed back into a clear second place position, leaving Charania as the short stack – with a stack that was eventually reduced to just under 13 big blinds.
After Greer limped the button Charania shoved, Shaffer called and Greer yielded. Charania faced a race for his life as his 7 7 had a slight edge over Shaffer’s A J – that is, until the 7 5 4 instantly guaranteed this hand wouldn’t be his last. Shaffer couldn’t beat Charania’s set no matter the runout, but runner-runner chop outs were still in play until the K officially sealed the crucial double for Charania.
How you run in coinflips late in a tournament tends to have a big influence on how you finish – and another one going in the wrong direction for Shaffer spelled his end. Greer opened for 300,000 on the button and Shaffer three-bet all in for 2.5 million. It took a minute, but Greer called with K Q – which were indeed live suited overcards to Shaffer’s 9 9.
The crowd was on its feet and loudly calling for cards as the dealer burned and dealt the A J 3 flop – a board that gave Greer a world of outs with a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw. Things reached a fever pitch and then exploded as the A turn gave Greer the flush and a big advantage on the hand – though Greer did still have four outs for a full house with a card to come. The 3 river was a huge blank, and Shaffer was eliminated in third place.
That pot set up a heads-up showdown between Greer and Charania, with Greer holding a lead of nearly 5-to-1 at the start. Greer grounded Charania down to just over six big blinds, taking a lead of more than 10-to-1 in the process.
It appeared Greer had Charania right where he wanted him when the first all in of their heads-up match with T T against Q 3, but the Q 6 2 flop saved Charania’s tournament.
Charania was reduced to a similarly desperate stack again, only to win his second all in as A 5 held against Greer’s Q T. After losing two pots in a row Charania had just over 2 million, but doubled a third time as his K 8 spiked top pair on a K Q 7 4 2 runout to best Greer’s A 4.
On the very next hand the fourth all in of their heads up match looked as if it could give Charania the chiplead for the very first time in this tournament. Charania three-bet all in on an 8 6 5 flop and Greer called with 8 7 – only to see that Charania had flopped the joint with 7 4. The 4 turn changed things dramatically – giving Greer the same straight and a higher flush draw, making a chop likely but leaving Charania the 3 to make a straight flush on the river to win. The 3 was a blank, however, and they chopped.
The third all in in as many hands saw Greer three-bet all in with A T and Charania call with A Q. The 9 8 6 K Q runout gave Charania the double and moved the stacks to within three big blinds. Charania took the chiplead for the first time all tournament in Hand 167 of the final table, but Greer took it back just three hands later.
It all came down to a coinflip for all but 1 million of the chips in play which, like much of the heads-up match, went Charania’s way. Greer doubled back once, and looked poised to do so again – but a rivered straight sealed Charania’s second WPT victory in dramatic fashion.
In addition to the $1,477,890 first place prize, Charania received a seat in the season-ending WPT Championship, a pair of 24k gold Monster headphones, a Hublot watch and a special diamond mark on the WPT Champions Cup as a two-time winner. That wraps up BLUFF’s coverage from the Bellagio, as well as the WPT’s schedule for 2014. The next scheduled event taking the tour back to Atlantic City for the Borgata Winter Poker Open starting on January 25.
WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic – Final Table Payouts
- Mohsin Charania – $1,477,890
- Garrett Greer – $869,683
- Brett Shaffer – $562,736
- Ryan Julius – $383,684
- Ryan Fee – $272,842
- Tobias Reinkemeier – $218,842
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