When the WPT LA Poker Classic was down to the final two, the host’s PR department must have been pumping their fists in excitement. The chip leader, David “Doc” Sands, was a WPT Ones to Watch player, and his opponent, Sean Jazayeri, was a 3-time WPT Boot Camp attendee. No matter the outcome, $1,370,240 was going to someone whose success the World Poker Tour had either groomed or forecasted. It didn’t hurt that there were 7-million-chips-worth of chances in the effective stack to show off their abilities.
The chips of 547 fallen foes lay in their stacks, including those of Phil Ivey, Antonio Esfandiari and Michael Mizrachi. Five of their most recent victims included two WSOP bracelet winners, a WPT champion and a 3-time WPT final table finisher. That’s all to say that they had survived a tough field.
Doc Sands had most thinking he was the favorite with the small chip advantage and the greater recognition as a pro. But when it comes to a Heads Up match, and one player gets dealt pocket Queens and the other player gets dealt Big Slick, you can just about disregard things like TV time. Both players inevitably got their stacks in the middle with their premium hands, and the biggest pot of the night was coming down to the most famous preflop race in the game. The tournament was going to go to whomever fate favored, or for the superstitious ones out there, whomever the dealer favored.
Fittingly, Jazayeri was the slight underdog of the hand with his AK-offsuit. An ace hit the flop, Doc’s Ladies went unimproved, and Jazayeri found himself with a commanding chip lead.
The next hand found Doc’s chips all-in as a slight underdog with KQ versus Jazayeri’s A5-suited. And again the flop favored the dog, the K-T-5 board giving Doc the superior pair. A Queen on the turn seemed to change everything—now Doc couldn’t hit his Queen because it’d give Jazayeri a straight, and Jazayeri couldn’t hit his Ace because it’d give Doc the straight—but really it changed nothing; Jazayeri still had just 5 outs. And he hit the least likely of those outs with a 5 on the river to give him trips and to ship him the 7-figure score.
Jazayeri was happy to be a millionaire; Doc was likely pleased with his consolation prize and, as a young star, the promise of future wins; and the WPT had to be thrilled about writing a check that was basically an endorsement for their own Boot Camp. And the post-match interview had Jazayeri saying exactly what the WPT would want to hear: “No doubt, I wouldn’t be here without the boot camp.”
If you want to see all of this for yourself, the tournament will air over three episodes of the World Poker Tour Season X on Fox Sports Net.
The WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star in San Jose is currently underway. You can’t do anything in the Bay Area without a flair of innovation, so the WPT includes bounties and bonuses for being the chip leader in this leg of the tour. And shortly after that they’ll start their series of charitable poker events called WPT Playing for a Better World, starting on March 11th.
Final Table Results
1. Sean Jazayeri – $1,370,240
2. David Sands – $806,370
3. Dan Kelly – $521,770
4. Noah Schwartz – $355,750
5. Jason Burt – $252,980
6. Jason Somerville – $202,910
Player of the Year Standings
1. Will Failla – 1,650
2. Vitor Coelho – 1,500
3. Sean Jazayeri – 1,400
3. Bobby Oboodi – 1,400
3. James Dempsey – 1,400
6. Soi Nguyen – 1,250