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Winning the $10,300-entry Super High Roller event, the latest North American Poker Tour (NAPT) champion is Jesse Lonis. Taking the biggest slice of a prizepool worth over half a million dollars, Lonis got the better of fellow poker professionals Sam Soverel and Sergio Aido as a final table of eight poker superstars played down to a winner.
Eight players made the final table, and eight also made the money. That meant a brutal exit for the player who would exit in ninth, and as it turned out, that was French player Alex Milgrom. While he began the final table with just 22 big blinds, others were far more comfortable, such as Spanish chip leader Sergio Aido, who began the nine-handed table with a monster stack of 213 big blinds.
Behind Aido, Richard Green (175BB) and Jesse Lonis (135BB) were in closest pursuit of the leader Aido, leaving Milgrom to shove light. His offsuit six-five looked good on the flop of 6-3-3, but Jim Collopy’s ace-queen hit a queen on the turn and held through a four on the river, sending Milgrom home with nothing and putting the other eight players into the money and onto the official final table.
As eight began their journey to the winner’s circle, Shannon Shorr became the first victim of the action make a profit on his $10,300 buy-in. All-in with ace-king, Shorr had a premium hand, but Sam Soverel had an even better one. Holding pocket kings, Soverel got over the line in the hand after an eight-high board sent Shorr to the rail for $22,890 in eighth place.
With seven remaining on Day 2, the penultimate day of action needed one more player to bust before everyone would get a night’s sleep ahead of the final day. That player turned out to be John Morgan, whose run to seventh was worth $28,615. All-in with queen-eight, Morgan didn’t even have two live cards against Richard Green’s ace-queen. A jack-high board sent Morgan to the rail and as the dust cleared, David Stamm went into the overnight counts in front with 852,000 chips.
Six began the last day and Jim Collopy was the first player to leave the action. Settling into his seat with a cup of hot coffee, Collopy didn’t even get to blow the steam off his first sip, losing with ace-king to Lonis, whose suited eight-seven made a flush on the river. Collopy, who at one point with two tables remaining, looked like the player with all the momentum, cashed in sixth place for $37,200.
American high roller regular Sam Soverel was another who led earlier in the day only to fall foul of lady luck at the final table. In fifth place, Soverel cashed for $48,645 when his suited ace-seven lost to the king-queen held by Richard Green. All the chips were in the middle pre-flop, and a flop of Q-4-3 with only one spade left Soverel needing a miracle. A nine on the turn and an eight on the river sent Soverel home and reduced the field to four players.
The classic live ‘Triple Crown’ is known as a WSOP bracelet, a World Poker Tour Main Event title and a European Poker Tour win. While this doesn’t necessarily count as such, the team behind the EPT are those presenting the NAPT in Las Vegas, making this major title all the more valuable.
After Richard Green lost with queen-ten against ace-jack, his cash of $62,955 set up a three-way showdown between Jesse Lonis on 1 million chips and Green’s conqueror David Stamm on 1.1 million chips. “And then there were three,” as Lonis said, with Sergio Aido short stacked on 600,000.
Aido left in third place for $82,985 when his king-ten lost to Stamm’s ace-king, a jack-high board giving Stamm and almost 3:1 chip lead as heads-up began. Starting with just 800,000 chips, Lonis played fearless poker and when he rivered a full house, the tide looked to have turned. Lonis took the lead then risked a coinflip for victory, holding king-ten when he called Stamm’s shove when shorter with pocket fives.
It looked good for Stamm to double-up after the 8-8-6 flop, and even better on the turn of a three. But a ten on the river proclaimed Lonis the winner as he overtook the runner-up Stamm on fifth street. Jesse Lonis had done it, taking the trophy and top prize of $174,550
“It feels like the Triple Crown,” said Lonis after the event to PokerNews reporters. “I got the one in the Bahamas, the WSOP and now this one.”
Jesse Lonis has been a force in major poker tournaments for some years. After his latest victory on the returning North American Poker Tour, no-one will want to face him for a trophy any time soon.
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