Ship it to Dylan Linde! The American online exile won his first-ever WPT title. It required five bullets in this re-entry event that attracted 1001 runners, but it was a worthy reload because Linde's $52K investment produced a windfall worth $1.6 million.
The $10,400 buy-in Five Diamond Classic Main Event also doubled as a stop on the World Poker Tour. It would feel utterly weird if there was NOT a WPT event at the Bellagio around Christmas time. It's just one of those things in poker that has now become a beloved tradition.
WSOP Main Event champ Joe McKeehen missed out on the final table by a few spots when he busted in ninth place. Patrick Mahoney bubbled the final table in seventh place, which set up the televised finale. Mahoney banked $265K for seventh place.
The final six included Dylan Linde, Andrew 'Lucky Chewey' Lichtenberger, Milos Skrbic, Lisa Hamilton, Ping Liu, and Barry Hutter.
Hutter hit the road first at the final table, followed by Lisa Hamilton. She banked $452K for her epic run with a fifth-place finish. Ping Lui bounced in fourth place.
Lucky Chewey missed his chance to win this event, but he settled on a third-place finish worth $803K. Not too shabby, eh? With Chewey's elimination, that set up the heads-up battle between Milos Skrbic and Linde.
When the dust settled, Milos Skrbic hit the bricks in second place. His runner-up finish was worth a little over a cool million. And Linde shipped the majority of the cheesecake with a $1.6 million score.
Linde now has over $3.6 million in career earnings. He won a WSOP Circuit Ring at the 2016 WSOP Hammond in Indiana for $348K.
Rory Young, the Aussie pro who bet Rich Altai $100,000 he could not live in total darkness for a month, went deep in the WPT Bellagio with a finish in 18th place. Young banked $70,599 and he's slowly chipping away at his prop bet loss after he offered Altai a buy-out after 20 days.
The greatest-living WPT player, Darren Elias, went deep in this event but he missed the final table by a couple of tables when he busted in 41st place.
Noteworthy names and familiar faces who cashed in the final EPT event on the 2018 calendar year include: Erik Seidel, Antonio Esfandiari, Cal Anderson, Rory Young, Darren Elias, Dan Shak, Mike De Vecchio, Jonathan Tamayo, Sam Phillips, Ajay Chabra, Dominique Mosley, Tom Marchese, Kristen Bicknell, Cary Katz, Keven Stammen, Andre Akkari, Ravi Raghavan, Farid Jattin, Ben Lamb, Joe Cada, Alan Schein, Aaron Massey, Moshin Charania, James Romero, Mike Leah, Simon Lam, Andjelko Andrejevic, Paul Richardson, Matt Glantz, Johnny Bax, Shannon Shorr, Christoph Vogelsang, Bill Berry, Sorel Mizzi, Tim Reilly, Taylor Paur, Joe Hachem, Manny Martinez, Nick Petrangelo, Tony Spinella, Grayson Ramage, Ryan Laplante, Martin de Knijff, Tim West, Ben Keeline, Josh Arieh, Sergio Aido, Justin Young, and Anthony Zinno.
2018 WPT Bellagio Five Diamond Classic
Over the years, the Bellagio has always been the place to be in December. The Bellagio's Five Diamond Classic capped off the end of the year with a lucrative series in Las Vegas. The Main Event doubled as a stop on the WPT beginning in 2002. The Main Event was renamed to the Doyle Brunson North American Classic for several years before it defaulted back to its original branding of the Five Diamond Classic.
Gus Hansen won the first Bellagio event at the inaugural season of the World Poker Tour back in 2002. The Great Dane faded a field of 146 players to win $556K. Hansen's final table included John Juanda, Johnny World, Scotty Nguyen, Chris Bigler, and Freddy Deeb.
Other big winners during the glorious poker boom include Paul Phillips, Kid Poker, Chino Rheem, Joe Hachem, and Antonio Esfandiari.
The biggest winner happened back in 2007 when Eugene Katchalov went all the way for a $2.4 million score. 2005 WSOP Main Event Champion Joe Hachem won the second-biggest prize of $2.2 million. And Rehne Pedersen is the only other player to bank $2M.
In the wake of Black Friday, other notables shipped the WPT Bellagio Five Diamond including Dan Smith, Mohsin Charania, Kevin Eyster, and last-year's winner Ryan Tosoc.
WPT Bellagio Five Diamond Classic Champions
2017 Ryan Tosoc $1,958,065
2016 James Romero $1,938,118
2015 Kevin Eyster $1,587,382
2014 Mohsin Charania $1,477,890
2013 Dan Smith $1,161,135
2012 Ravi Raghavan $1,268,571
2011 James Dempsey $821,612
2010 Antonio Esfandiari $870,124
2009 Daniel Alaei $1,428,430
2008 Chino Rheem $1,538,730
2007 Eugene Katchalov $2,482,605
2006 Joe Hachem $2,207,575
2005 Rehne Pedersen $2,078,185
2004 Daniel Negreanu $1,770,218
2003 Paul Phillips $1,101,908
2002 Gus Hansen $556,460