WPT: Santoro Bests Harder in Epic Heads-Up Battle

Santoro's rail included Alan Sternberg and Ryan D'Angelo

It may have been a six-handed final table, but the real story of the last day of the World Poker Tour’s World Poker Finals at Foxwoods was all about heads-up action.  After losing four players in less than 100 hands, Christian Harder and Daniel Santoro battled it out in an epic heads-up match that saw five different double ups, numerous lead changes, and a victory for Santoro worth nearly $450,000.

When the final table began, it was neither Santoro nor Harder leading the way.  Local pro Steven Brackesy started the final table with the chip lead, but Harder took it away from him early by busting short stacks Eli Berg and Andy Frankenberger in sixth and fifth place respectively.  Harder slow played aces against Berg to knock him out in sixth.  Frankenberger exited next when he shoved all-in over the top of Harder’s three-bet only to run AT straight into Harder’s pocket kings.  This was Frankenberger’s third WPT final table since September of 2010.  He now has a first place finish and two fifth place finishes to his credit.

Surprisingly, Brackesy was the next player to go.  In a hand similar to Joseph Cheong and Jonathan Duhamel’s big clash in last year’s WSOP Main Event, Brackesy six-bet shoved A4 and Santoro called with pocket queens.  The queens held to eliminate the start of day chip leader just 23 hands into the action.  The hand gave Santoro a massive chip lead headed into three-handed action against Harder and Bob Carbone.

Carbone managed to keep up with the two more experienced players for several orbits, but, in the end, he met a similar fate as his tablemates, running pocket tens into Santoro’s aces to send play into heads-up action.  Santoro began heads-up play against Harder with a more than 3-1 chip advantage and quickly ground his opponent down even further.  Harder rallied though, doubling up on three separate occasions and eventually taking the chip lead. With nearly even stacks for a large chunk of the duel, the two exchanged the chip lead several times.  At one point it was Harder who started to pull out front, but Santoro doubled up to keep play going.

In the end, it came down to a race with Harder’s TT squaring off against Santoro’s AK.  It looked like play would keep going, as Harder held on the J85 flop as well as with the 2 on the turn.  The river K brought one of Santoro’s six outs though and he paired up to take the pot and the title.

For the win, the New York poker pro known online as Luie Sojo earns $449,910, which includes a $25,500 seat into next spring’s WPT Championship.  Harder picked up a decent payday as well, earning $248,962 for his career-best WPT finish.

Here are the final table results from the World Poker Classic final table at Foxwoods:

1st: Daniel Santoro – $449,910
2nd: Christian Harder – $248,962
3rd: Bob Carbone – $166,271
4th: Steven Brackesy – $129,816
5th: Andy Frankenberger – $99,585
6th: Eli Berg – $83,580

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