Taylor Black Wins the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic

Taylor Black became a World Poker Tour champion by winning the $10,400 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1,241,430.

Californian Taylor Black is the newest World Poker Tour (WPT) champion. Black was the last man standing in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio, Las Vegas. His reward? A cool $1,241,430.

The tournament attracted 716 entrants, each paying $10,400 for the chance to become a WPT champion. Those entrants created a $6,945,200 prize pool which the top 90 finishers shared.

Black was responsible for bursting the money bubble on Day 3. Black’s Ah-Qh prevailed against the 2s-2d of Uri Reichenstein after the board ran Ad-9h-6h-Qc-Th. Reichenstein fell in 91st place, and the surviving players saw a return on their investment.

Only 29 players made it through to the end of Day 3. Superstars including Alex Foxen, Justin Bonomo, Chris Moorman, Anthony Zinno, and Erik Seidel cashed by failed to progress.

Black Holds Colossal Lead at the Final Table

Day 4 saw the 29 returning players whittled to the official six-handed final table. Bryn Kenney popped the final table bubble, busting in seventh for $201,480. Black opened to 150,000 under the gun, Kenney called in the big blind, and the dealer spread the 9d-5s-3s flop. Kenney checked, Black bet 175,000, only for Kenney to check-raise all-in for 1,000,000. Black called and showed As-Ac, which was against Kh-5h. The 8s turn and Tc river sent Kenney to the showers.

That had propelled Black even further in the lead. His 17,000,000 chips were the equivalent of 227 big blinds. Gianluca Speranza was second in chips with 4,625,000, or 62 big blinds.

It took 41 hands before the final table lost a player. Black min-raised to 200,000, David Kim called all-in for 200,000, and Speranza came along for the ride. Speranza check-called a 250,000 bet on the 6d-5s-3s flop, before check-folding on the Ks turn. Black showed 5h-5c, which crushed the Ad-Kd of Kim. The inconsequential 2c river sent Kim home in sixth place.

Hand 94 saw Mohsin Charania bust out, and miss out on his third WPT title. Charania shoved for 575,000 with blinds 75,000/125,000/125,000a, and Black called with 8d-6d. Charania flipped over Th-3h, and lost courtesy of the Kc-9d-5d-3d-3s community cards.

Three Eliminations Away From a Seven-Figure Score

Black found himself in an even more dominant position when play was four-handed. He held 19,150,000 chips, more than twice the number of chips of his three opponents combined. However, things did not go his way, and he found himself lose the chip lead and have similar a stack to his foes.

There were no further eliminations until the 181st hand of the final table when Lorenzo Lavis crashed and burned. Lavis limped in from the small blind, Black raised to 650,000, and Lavis called. The flop fell As-Qc-3c, Lavis checked, Black fired a 600,000 continuation bet, only for Lavis to check-raise all-in for 3,775,000. Black called with Ah-Td, and led against the Kc-4c. Both the 7d turn and 2d river missed Lavis, and he bowed out.

Speranza fell by the wayside two hands later, doing so against Vik Shegal. The action folded to Shegal in the small blind and he moved all-in. Speranza called off his 2,150,000 stack (8.6 big blinds) with Ad-3d, and found himself against 8d-8h. The Italian grinder could not melt the snowmen with the board running Th-9c-5h-Kh-7h.

Short Heads-Up Battle

Black held a 19,150,000 to 9,475,000 chip lead over Shegal, and it did not take long for him to win. The final hand, the 195th of the final table, saw Shegal three-bet all-in with As-8d after Black opened the betting. Black called with the dominating Ah-Ks, and the board ran out Kc-Tc-6h-Qd-9s.

Place Player Prize
1 Taylor Black $1,241,430
2 Vik Shegal $827,620
3 Gianluca Speranza $609,960
4 Lorenzo Lavis $454,590
5 Mohsin Charania $342,645
6 David Kim $261,235

This latest victory pushed Black’s live tournament winnings to $3,852,552. He won C€1,400,000 ($1,093,425) in 2018 in Canada.

The Californian is a regular in the American online poker scene. He has more than $575,000 in earnings, with the bulk of his winnings stemming from Americas Cardroom.

Brad Johnson

You name the game, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Brad has either played it or placed a wager on it! Brad calls himself a natural gambler, and someone who gains as much enjoyment from writing about the crazy game of poker as he does playing it.


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