After 9 hours and 300 hands of final table action, Matt Juttelstad defeated Gigi Gagne heads-up to become the champion of the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Gagne, who started the evening as the chip leader, made a valiant effort trying to become the first female poker player to win a WPT open title. Despite her initial lead, she faced a significant setback early on as she lost a big pot to Keith Ferrera as they went all-in on the flop with Gagne holding two-pair vs Ferrera’s top pair. The turn brought bad news for Gagne as Ferrera spiked a bigger two pair and doubled up.
Ferrera would nonetheless be the first to exit the final table as he went all-in preflop with QJs against Juttelstad’s 99. The board gave Ferrera a pair of jacks, but alas a river 9 giving Juttelstad a set meant Ferrera would bust out in 6th place. 100 hands later, Todd Jacobsen was the next to be eliminated with TT, losing out to Sharon Levin’s A4s. Levin was shortly afterwards eliminated by Gagne.
The remaining three then tightened up with Uri Kadosh, Gagne and Juttelstad relatively even in chips. Kadosh would be the next to be knocked out as his resteal attempt from the big blind was called by Juttelstad on the button, who had raised with AJo. Kadosh was dominated as he flipped up J8o and the board did not help him as he exited in 3rd place, cashing out $105,463.
As heads up action began, Juttelstad had a sizeable advantage with about 7 million chips to Gagne’s 2 million. Gagne finished as the runner-up as she pushed in the rest of her chips on the turn having made a wheel with T4o on a 2-3-5-A board, but the Ace turned out to be the worst possible turn card for her as Juttelstad turned over 64o for the flopped nut straight. As Mike Sexton put it in his live commentary, the Ace was the “dream card” for Juttelstad. Only a 6 on the river would have resulted in a split pot, but Juttelstad’s hand held up to give him the title.
Juttelstad won $268,444 for his first live tournament title plus a $25,500 seat into the WPT Championship event at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Although Gagne could not make history by winning this tournament, she has tied Kathy Liebert and J.J. Liu for the best finish for a woman in an open WPT Main Event.
Final Table Results:
1. Matt Juttelstad – $268,444
2. Gigi Gagne – $158,194
3. Uri Kadosh – $105,463
4. Sharon Levin – $73,344
5. Todd Jacobson – $54,649
6. Keith Ferrera – $42,185
Other notable players who cashed include Harrison Gimbel (9th: $17,258), Christian Harder (13th: $11,505), Raj Vorha (15th: $11,505), Noah Schwartz (18th, $10,067), and Darryl Fish (23rd: $8,629). There were 27 players who finished in the money who took their share of a $958,750 prize pool.