Ship it to Balakrishna Patur! The scientist took down one of the most prestigious poker tournaments in California when he went the distance to take down the 2020 World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic title. It was another crazy event that started last year and finally concluded in May 2021 due to the pandemic. But the WPT is finally finishing off Season 18 after several of their final tables -- scheduled to be played out in Las Vegas in the Spring of 2020 -- were postponed until Spring 2021 due to COVID-19.
The PokerGO Studio at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas is the new home of the World Poker Tour. On Sunday evening, the 2020 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open concluded with Veerab Zakarian emerging as the newest WPT champion. On Monday night, the WPT crowned another champion when Balakrishna Patur was the final player standing in the 2020 WPT LA Poker Classic final table.
The LA Poker Classic runs at the start of the new calendar year at the Commerce Casino, located on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The LA Poker Classic Main Event has been a major stop on the World Poker Tour schedule, so it's one of those events that pros never wanted to miss on the circuit. Plus, LA is lovely in the winter months and it's a cool place to visit when the rest of the country is besieged with the last tendrils of winter.
The 2020 WPT LA Poker Classic was old school with a $10K buy-in. The LAPC attracted 490 runners and a prize pool worth $4.7 million. Only the top 62 places paid out with most of the cheddar set aside to the champion. This year's winner banked a cool million and everyone at the final table earned at least $185K.
Balakrishna Patur bagged the final table chip lead back in March 2020 with a big stack worth 6.3M. There were two sizable stacks right behind Patur with Matas Cimbolas (4.3M) and James Carroll (4.1M). Behind the chase pack were two smaller stacks with Ka Kwan Lau (2.2M) and Scott Hempel (1.6M). Pro Upeshka De Silva was the shorty by default with 930K.
The final table of the 2020 WPT LAPC lasted 188 hands with a long slog happening four-handed. Heads-up lasted less than 30 hands.
Shortstacked Upeshka De Silva made a move on Hand #30 when his Ace-rag were beat down by Patur's . Pesh even turned an Ace-high flush draw and a Wheel draw, but missed both draws on the river. Patur's Bg Slick held up and he sent Upeshka De Silva packing. Upeshka De Silva became the first player eliminated and he earned a payout worth $185K.
On Hand #93, Ka Kawn Lau finally hit the bricks in fifth place when his were outflopped by Matas Cimbolas and Queen-seven. Yikes! Lau earned a payout worth $243K for fifth place. With four to go, Cimbolas chipped up to 7M and not far behind Patur's big stack of 7.6M.
The final four played four-handed for 60 hands before someone busted. Scott Hempel made a final stand with , but he was ambushed by Cimbolas' . The pocket Queens held up and Cimbolas also rivered a a queen to win with a full house. Hempel headed to the rail in fourth place, which paid out $324K.
Jame Carroll's run ended six hands later when his King-nine were no match against Patur's pocket cowboys. The Kings held up and Patur faded a gutshot draw by Carrol to drag the pot. Carroll banked $431,585 for third place.
After Carroll's exit in third, the LAPC title came down to Cimbolas and Patur. Patur held the chip lead 11.4M to 8.2M. The two jousted for 29 hands before Patur landed the final blow.
Cimbolas banked $600,060 for second place. Not too shabby, eh?
Patur earned a first-place payout worth $1,015,000 plus the coveted winner's trophy. He also earned a seat into the season-ending Tournament of Champions (valued at $15,000).
Notable players and familiar faces who went deep and cashed at the 2020 WPT LAPC Main Event last March included... Dylan Linde, JC Tran, Dan Strelitz, Johnny World Henniga, Chance Kornuth,n Charles Kassin, Kevin Eyster, Matt Gianetti, Yen Dang, Tuan Phan, Gal Yifrach, Blair Hinkle, Steve Forman, Justin Liberto, Jesse Sylvia, Denys Shafikov, Barry Greenstein, Sean Yu, Demo Kiriopoulos, Brent Hart, Toby Lewis, Danny Wong, Donald Maloney, Ali Imsirovic, Lee Markholt, Steve Sung, Adam Swan, Bryan Piccoli, Garrett Greer, Maury Solano, and Arman Tyfekchyan.