Full Tilt Poker is well known for having the biggest stable of poker pros in the business. To keep those keen minds and thick bankrolls happy tournament programmers need to be sure that they keep the exciting big-money tournaments flowing. Their latest attempt to appease the high-rollers occurred this weekend – The $25,000 Heads-Up World Championships.
An elite 63 entrants built the prize pool to $1,575,000 and were divided into the NCAA style bracket system that has become the standard for heads-up events. Only the top 8 places would pay, meaning that competitors would need to reach the quarter finals in order to turn a profit. The tournament was completed at a leisurely pace over two days, finishing early on Sunday evening.
The matches themselves were simple enough: the first player to lose all their chips would be eliminated, with the victor moving on to the next round. Sure enough, the top class Red Pros turned out in force. Notable players included Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Andy Bloch, John Juanda, Gavin Smith, Erick Lindgren, Ziigmund, and Tony G. Despite their obvious skills, many of them fell in the early rounds to lesser known internet fiends. Some more successful pros who still fell just short of the money were David Pham in 16th and David Singer in 12th.
The only pro to finish in the money made it all the way to the final matchup. David Benefield, known to some as Raptor, is a young player who already has impressive online results. Starting out as a Sit and Go specialist he made the transition to cash games with immediate results. He also has 4 WSOP cashes to his name, including a $77k main event berth from 2008.
His opponent was THEASHMAN103, well known in poker forums as one of the game’s most volatile players. Ashton Griffin, as he is known offline, famously worked his way up from under $100 to nearly $1,000,000 in just one year. Just as infamous is his subsequent collapse. The 20 year old was tempted into the big games against the world’s elite, where he proceeded to lose the vast majority of his winnings. Clearly he has found enough space in his bankroll to fork out the $25,000 buy-in for this event.
Ashton is a self proclaimed heads-up No Limit Hold ‘em specialist, and yesterday’s result seems to confirm his self confidence. His victory over Benefield netted him an impressive $551,250, with the second place finisher receiving $315,000. WinnerFish and yogiblair received $165,375 each and Past, Kadabra, IvanLendL, and Vaga_Lion $94,500 each.