Last Sunday I wrote about the start of the Aruba Poker Classic, and today I will write about its finish. As I documented last week, the Aruba Poker Classic was hosted at the Radisson Casino and Hotel and it featured a $5000 buy-in. A lot of the higher profile poker professionals had to pass the event up due to the WSOPE and EPT London, but 550 players still showed up for the guaranteed $1,000,000 first prize. The highlight of the event was quite possibly the weather. The final table was set up outside in anticipation of some Aruba sunshine, but Mother Nature had other plans and a rain storm forced the table and its players inside. The final table was set up again inside the casino, and the action re-started.
Here were the stacks at the start of the final table:
1. Johan Storakers – 2,027,000 chips
2. Matt Brady – 1,776,000 chips
3. Brandon Terry – 1,211,000 chips
4. Jeff Papola – 1,163,000 chips
5. Allie Prescott – 770,000 chips
6. Jason Pohl – 685,000 chips
7. Brian Malczewski – 366,000 chips
Pohl, one of the table’s smaller stacks, was the first to bust. He got it all-in on a 6d4d3c flop with Td9d, thinking that he had both flush cards and overs as outs. Unfortunately for him Papola called him with 3h3s for bottom set, which meant that only 8 of the remaining 9 diamonds in the deck would help him. The diamonds didn’t come and Pohl went home, taking $58,500 with him as his prize.
Pocket 3s eliminated the 6th place player, as well. Malczewski, the other short stack at the table, was pleased to see AK of clubs and went all-in preflop, and he was called by Prescott who held the the 3s. The board came 9 high and only one club, so Malczewski was sent packing in 6th place. He received $83,120 for his efforts.
Terry was the next player in trouble, losing most of his stack with the nut flush on an 83332 board. He was finally eliminated in 5th place after he pushed over what he was hoping was a button steal with Ad9d. Brady, the player who had originally raised on the button, snapped called and flipped over AA. Not so much a steal but rather a raise for value! The diamonds that Terry needed did not come and he busted for $116,400.
In the next elimination hand, Prescott ended up reraising his hand out of turn after Brady’s open. Storakers, who was in between Brady and Prescott, chose to call despite knowing Prescott’s intention to reraise, and Prescott was forced to make his 3 bet despite the call. It turned out that it didn’t matter too much due to the cards these players held. Brady got out of the way, Storakers pushed, Prescott called, and the players showed JJ and AKs respectively. Prescott couldn’t win the pivotal race and he went out in 4th place with $150,000 as his consolation prize.
The event was now at the stage that every tournament player dreams of reaching: 3-handed where the big money is. Papola hand a chance to make it heads-up after getting it in with Storakers on a Th7d3h flop holding Jh9h versus QcTd. Although Storakers held the made hand with top pair, Papola was actually slightly ahead with a flush draw, inside straight draw, and even an overcard. Storakers dodged all these bullets, however, and he was not eliminated. Papola became short stacked and eventually, he was the one to bust in 3rd. In his last hand he was pleased to look down at KsKd preflop and was still fine when the flop came down Ts6s4s, but unfortunately Brady held 9s7s for the unlikely flopped flush. Papola was unable to hit another spade and he was eliminated in 3rd for $250,000.
Thanks to a couple nice pots, Brady was the chip leader going into heads-up play by almost 4 times. In the final hand, the two players got it in on a JTT flop. Brady, after limp/calling preflop, bet the flop holding T7, and Storakers pushed over with AJ. Brady snapped called, and Storakers was drawing to jacks or running clubs in order to stay alive. Alas none of these cards came and Storakers busted in 2nd place for a handsome $486,000 in prize money.
Congratulations to Brady for winning the Aruba Poker Classic and a very impressive $1,000,000 first prize! While Brady was a very well known tournament professional even before this event, he did not have a major win on his resume yet. With this latest victory in Aruba, his lifetime cashes now amount to almost $2 million, and now there can be no doubt at all that he is an extremely talented poker player.