After several months of frustrating finishes just shy of the final table, Poker Battle sponsored player Tommy Vedes finally added a victory to his resume with a win in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Festa al Lago Main Event. The $15,000 buy-in event held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas saw a decline in attendance over last year, drawing just 275 runners, but Vedes faced some tough competition at the final table, including two-time WPT winner Freddy Deeb.
The numbers may have been down from last year’s event when Bertrand “ElKY” Grospellier claimed his first WPT win, but the field was a stacked one to say the least. Just a few of the big names who made a deep run in this year’s tournament include Full Tilt Pros Andy Bloch, Vivek Rajkumar and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Dutch Boyd, Kido Pham, WPT Legends of Poker winner Prahlad Friedman, Mark Seif and Chau Giang, who had the dubious honor of being the event’s bubble boy, going out in 28th place.
For a while on Day 4 of the event, it seemed as though online poker player Jason Lavallee was going to run away with the tournament since he held around 20% of the chips in play with 11 players to go. Day 5 was a frustrating one for Lavallee though, as several tough beats sent him back to the middle of the pack while Deeb ascended to the top of the chip counts to take the chip lead going into the final table.
Joining Deeb, Vedes and Lavallee at the final table were WPT circuit regular Shawn Cunix, Craig Crivello and Jason Burt. Despite going into the day second in chips, Cunix was the first to be eliminated in 6th place with Jason Burt busting out in 5th. The surprise 4th place finisher was Deeb, who lost a massive pot against Tommy Vedes when Vedes’ pocket queens spiked a queen on the river to best Deeb’s pocket kings. Deeb was eliminated shortly thereafter and Vedes amassed a substantial chip lead over Lavallee and Crivello.
The heads-up battle commenced after Lavallee eliminated Craig Crivello in 3rd place. The final two players traded the chip lead several times and, at one point, Vedes seemed poised to be the runner-up finisher. He rallied back to life though, doubling through Lavallee twice to take a big chip lead. On the final hand of play Lavallee shoved all-in with 6-8 and Vedes called with K-Q. The board ran out A-9-5-Q-Q to eliminate Lavallee and give Vedes the title and the $1,218,225 1st place prize.
The victory caps off a series of deep runs without victories for Vedes, who finished in 19th place at the Main Event of this year’s World Series of Poker. He also had close calls at the WPT Cyprus event, a WSOP Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo event and the European Poker Tour London Main Event. Prior to the win at Bellagio he had over $500,000 in winnings in 2009 alone. With his WPT win, his lifetime tournament poker winnings are now up to over $1.9 million.
Here are the complete results from the final table of the WPT Festa al Lago event:
1st: Tommy Vedes – $1,218,225
2nd: Jason Lavallee – $795,150
3rd: Craig Crivello – $477,090
4th: Freddy Deeb – $278,300
5th: Jason Burt – $208,725
6th: Shawn Cunix – $168,970

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