Riding a wave of excellent play throughout the weekend, former World Champion Jonathan Duhamel carried the Canadian flag proudly in his deep run at the World Poker Tour’s stop in Marrakech, Morocco, this weekend.
On Saturday, Jonathan was one of the handful of survivors from the 274 player field vying for the first place prize of €163,493 (approximately $225,180 Canadian). He went on arguably his best run of the tournament in eliminating three players, including Surinder Sunar, as he made the unofficial final table late in the evening. By the time the players came to the felt on Sunday, Jonathan was behind only Mohamed Houssam on the leaderboard.
Jonathan got off to a good start, hitting top two pair on a dangerous K-7-6-8-9 board to top Hassan Fares’ rivered pair of nines. He was also able to push both Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and Toufik Ourini off their hands when he moved all in with an A-Q. Following the good start, however, Jonathan would start a downward trend he wouldn’t be able to recover from.
First, Jonathan doubled up a short stacked Sebastien Ta when he was caught looking up Sebastien’s pocket Kings with only a J-9 (Ta was unable to do anything with Jonathan’s chips; he would go out in ninth on the next hand). He would then do the same for Fares when Fares’ K-7 was able to stay ahead of Jonathan’s Q-2. After those two defeats, Jonathan was on a much shorter stack (760K) than what he started the day with.
After Grospellier was eliminated from the tournament in eighth place, the final seven men were on the official WPT final table bubble. Jonathan was in the final slot at this time, only ahead of Rodney Assous, when the end of his tournament came.
Maksims Martinov made a raise from the button and Jonathan found the moment to make his stand. Moving all in from the big blind for slightly less than a million chips, he was surprised to see Martinov make a quick call and table pocket tens, outpacing Jonathan’s Q-10. Although the turn brought a backdoor flush possibility for him, the river didn’t bring the flush completion or a Queen for Jonathan and he was eliminated in seventh place (€25,558).
Following Jonathan’s elimination, the official WPT final table took slightly more than three hours to determine a champion. The notable name on the felt was France’s Arnaud Mattern, who has made several deep runs in major tournaments throughout 2011. Mattern, however, was unable to gather any traction at the final table and would fall to Martinov in the span of two hands.
On the first hand, Mattern held the lead with his pocket fours on a 9-5-5-7 (three diamond) board, but Martinov would not go away. When a fourth diamond came on the river, Mattern led out for 220K and was quickly called. “You’re good,” a displeased Mattern said as Martinov only turned up a 10 (of diamonds)-8 to take the hand.
On the second hand, the end would come for the Frenchman. After pushing all in on two consecutive hands, Mattern would do it again over the raise of Martinov. Martinov would make the call this time, however, and table pocket sevens against Mattern’s A-8 off suit. A monochrome K-J-10 spade flop was a great one for Mattern, as he held the Ace of spades, but red blanks on the turn and river would spell the end of the tournament for Mattern as he departed in fourth place, worth €52,740.
It would be Morocco versus Latvia as the final three players – Ourini and Houssam representing Morocco, Martinov Latvia – clashed to determine the champion. Martinov would be eliminated first, falling via a bad beat against Ourini when his two pair was counterfeited by the Moroccan. When heads up play began, Houssam and Ourini were virtually even in chips.
Over an hour of play, the duo would swap the lead before Houssam took command. On the final hand, Houssam limped in and Ourini checked to see a K-8-3 flop. After dual checks, the Queen came to join the board and it ignited the action. After Ourini bet out 370K, Houssam made a raise to 800K and Ourini moved all in.
Flashing a confident look, Houssam made the call and tabled pocket eights for a set. Sure enough, the tournament was over; Ourini could only table a K-J for a drawing dead top pair and, once the unimportant river was dealt, Mohamed Houssam was the WPT Marrakech champion.
For the win, Houssam takes down the €163,493 first place prize and will also be a part of the Season Ten WPT Championship this spring at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. It was an excellent performance on the part of Houssam and congratulations also have to be handed out to Canada’s Jonathan Duhamel for an excellent – albeit just short – run at a WPT title.