It was the ride of a lifetime this week for Moritz Kranich as the World Poker Tour Bellagio Cup VI came to a close in Las Vegas. Kranich outlasted a final table of exceptional players, including world-renowned Phil Ivey, to take down the tournament and the WPT title.
The young German will surely remember this win for a lifetime, but demonstrating outstanding performance in a poker tournament as he did this week is no certainly no anomaly for Kranich. In January of 2009 he won the European Poker Tour stop in Deauville, France for his biggest cash win to date. That win, six other live tournament cashes and now his impressive performance in the Bellagio Cup VI put his career tournament winnings firmly over the $2,000,000 mark.
The first day of the cup was the most trying for the poker pro, as his chip stack stubbornly refused to grow and he closed the day’s play nearly exactly where he had started it. He remained resolute, however, and was rewarded with a run of good cards on the second day, including his AK beating another AK as he hit his flush, and later another AK helping him out, this time pulling ahead of an opponent’s KK when an ace hit the board. From there Kranich said he’d accumulated enough chips to be able to “cruise to the final table.”
That’s exactly what he did, but once he hit the final table it quickly became clear that cruising was no longer an option. Among those seated with him were Phil Ivey, considered by many to be the best in the business, and Justin Smith, who came third in the Bellagio Cup last year. In making this final table, Ivey brought his World Poker Tour final table count up to nine, and set the world record. That was not enough to protect him from Kranich, however, who sent Ivey to the rail in third place and moved into heads-up play with Justin Smith.
As the final battle for the $875,150 first place prize kicked off, Kranich had roughly a two to one chip lead over Smith, and things were looking good. He ran into trouble, however, when Smith’s A3 pulled ahead of his A5, giving Smith the double-up he needed. Luck returned to Kranich shortly thereafter, as the chips went into the middle preflop and his KT hit a king on the flop to pull ahead of Smith’s JJ. The turn and river blanked, eliminating Smith in second place and awarding the title to a very excited Moritz Kranich.
It’s great to see that a tournament like this can still pull a solid crowd of talented players, even with the WSOP in full swing. Congratulations to Moritz Kranich, from whom we’ll surely be hearing more in the months and years to come.
The final table results are as follows:
1st. Moritz Kranich – $875,150
2nd. Justin Smith – $594,755
3rd. Phil Ivey – $363,650
4th. John Caridad – $237,902
5th. Rob Akery – $169,930
6th. Eric Afriat – $118,950