Giacomo Fundaro emerged as the champion of the 2012 World Poker Tour Mazagan on Saturday, outlasting a field of 146 competitors to take down his first WPT title and the top prize of $143,207, plus a $25,000 seat in the WPT Championship at Bellagio in May.
Fundaro overcame long odds to win his first major tournament. He entered the final table third in chips, but leader Davidi Kitai owned nearly half the chips in play. Here's how the table stacked up when the action began Saturday:
Veteran poker pro Bruno Fitoussi was the first player to hit the rail. The Frenchman lost a crucial flip to Jeremy Nock to leave him crippled, and then lost another preflop confrontation with to Kitai's to put an end to his day.
The next to go was Clement Beauvois, who was the chip leader after Day 1 and Day 2. Beauvois was in desperation mode for a long time at the final table, staying afloat by moving all in several time without any resistance, but Fundaro finally found a hand worth calling one of Beauvois' shoves. Fundaro raised on the button, Beauvois moved all-in from the big blind for 320,000 and Fundaro called.
The flop brought the in the door, giving Beauvois a glimpse of hope for a double up, but the next card was the to give Fundaro a set. Beauvois was unable to come from behind, and he exited in fifth place.
Other than his elimination of Fitousso, Kitai never got anything going at the final table. The accomplished Belgian pro was seeking his second WPT title in as many years and put himself in excellent position entering the final table, but his plans fell short at the hands of the eventual champ. According to the WPT Live Updates team, Frederic Brunet raised to 90,000 from under-the-gun, Kitai three-bet from the button for a little over 200,000, and Fundaro put in a four-bet for over half a million from the big blind. Brunet folded immediately, Kitai moved all-in and Fundaro called. Kitai quickly discovered his poor fortune as his pocket jacks were a huge underdog to Fundaro's pocket kings.
The board ran out , and Kitai's downward spiral at the final table came to a disappointing end.
It was now Fundaro who occupied the chip lead, and he padded his chip stack by eliminating Nock in third place. Nock had the button and moved his short stack all in. Fundaro folded his small blind but Brunet called in the big.
Nock pleaded for the dealer to pair his hole cards, but a board gave Brunet a rivered flush and sent Nock off to the cashier.
Fundaro had a comfortable lead over Brunet when heads-up play began, but the two exchanged the lead several times over the course of three hours. Brunet had a chance to claim the title when he had all-in preflop against Fundaro's , but Fundaro flopped two pair to stay alive. The only other all-in showdown between the two players was the last; Brunet moved all-in with and Fundaro called with . The flop gave Fundaro an ace and he had Brunet drawing dead on the turn, securing the biggest score of his life along with his first WPT title.
WPT Mazagan Final Table Payouts
The next stop on Season XI of the WPT will be in Prague starting next week. As always, you can find a recap of the day’s action right here at PokerNews.
Data and lead photo courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.