The first ever WPT event in Jacksonville, Florida took place last week and Anthony “Boston” Ruberto emerged victorious in the $3500 event for $325,928. There were 393 total players and a prize pool of over $1.25 million. Anthony had a commanding chip lead entering the final table, but there was still plenty of intrigue entering the final day as the final table included: Lisa Hamilton, the 2009 WSOP Ladies event champion who was hoping to become the first female winner of a WPT open event; Artie Rodriguez who qualified for the tournament by winning a ClubWPT qualifying event; and Darryll Fish, a well-known grinder with over $500,000 in live winnings.
Darryll entered the final table as the short stack with just over 25 BBs. Although he was able to make one double up, Darryll never really got any traction at the final table and after finding himself down to 15 BBs, he lost on the 52nd hand of the final table when his pair of 3s were unable to suck out on Lisa Hamilton’s pair of 7s. About ten hands later, the ClubWPT qualifier Artie Rodriguez was crippled when his AcJc ran into Sam Soverel’s AsQd and he was eliminated 2 hands later in 5th place.
Once the table was down to four players, Anthony Ruberto remained in the lead with about 90 BBs while the other 3 players were tightly bunched with around 50 BBs each. These stacks allowed for some real poker to be played and after a couple of orbits 4 handed, the chip stacks became even more tightly bunched as Sam Soverel and Lisa Hamilton jumped over Anthony Ruberto, but all of them still had right around 60 BBs. 4 handed play continued for quite some time and at one point all 4 players were within 6 BBs of each other as they all had right around 3 million in chips at the 30k/60k level.
On the 101st hand of the Final Table, Anthony Ruberto regained the chip lead when he was involved in a 3 way pot preflop and ended up shoving on the river for about a pot-sized bet of 2 million on a board of 9d7c5s8dTc. At this point, Anthony and Lisa started chipping up by stealing Vitor Coelho and Sam Soverel’s blinds. 15 hands later and the blinds were at 40k/80k and Sam and Vitor found themselves with just around 20 BBs. On hand 119, Vitor shoved his stack with 44 and was not a happy camper when Anthony woke up with AA. With just 3 players left, Anthony was in a nice spot as Sam only had 15 BBs and Lisa obviously wanted to get heads-up with a healthy 50 BB stack which meant that Anthony could apply lots of pressure. After picking off a bluff from Lisa Hamilton, Anthony knocked her out when they got it all-in on an As9s2d flop with Anthony holding AK and Lisa A3.
Heads-up play was between Anthony and Sam, and Anthony had a huge lead with almost 5 times as many chips as Sam. Anthony steamrolled Sam heads-up and took the first 6 hands in a row only to double Sam up on hand 7 when Sam’s QQ held up against Anthony’s A8. At this point Sam got back to where he was just half the stack of Anthony and one double up would put him in the driver’s seat. Anthony refused to take his foot off the gas however and a few hands later he again took a 3 to 1 chip lead when he called Sam’s 3 bet preflop, called another bet on a Jh9c3s flop and then stole the pot when he bet about 1 million into a 1.5 million pot when another 9 hit the turn and got Sam to fold. Anthony then took 6 of the next 7 hands leading up to the final hand where Sam 3-bet pre all-in with Kh7h and Anthony called with KcJh and his hand held. And with that, Anthony “Boston” Ruberto won the WPT Jacksonville title.