Raul Mestre (pictured left) has been crowned the first International Federation of Poker World Champion after conquering “The Table” at the County Hall in London. The Spaniard, who started the day as chip leader, defeated hometown favourite Victoria Coren to pocket the first prize of $250,000. Australia’s Marsha Waggoner steered her short stack all the way to fifth, good for $20,000.
With thanks to the IFP blog for this wrap-up, The Table started in dramatic fashion. Kinichi Nakata, from Japan, departing in ninth place minutes into the day. That was ahead of Tim Reese, one of two members of Team Germany, who went in eighth. Nakata’s countryman Takuo Serita followed in seventh place.
Sandra Naujoks had played flawlessly up to this point, and when she got her chips in with pocket kings against Mestre’s 9-8, it looked like the double-up she seemed entitled to would arm her well for a run on the title. But Mestre found that crucial drop of luck at the perfect time, flopping an eight and rivering another. Naujoks, who managed a smile, was suddenly out.
Marsha Waggoner, one of the grand dames of poker, had nursed her short stack for most of the afternoon, hand rearing it to health with a double up before it began again to fade. Naujoks’s shock departure moved her up a place, into fifth, capping a commendable performance.
When Slavko Tomic departed in fourth (another player cursed by a short stack), it left arguably the three best players of the day – Coren, Mestre and Igor Trafane, who serves as President of the Confederação Brasileira de Texas Hold’em.
Were it not for two big hands the world title may have been heading to Brazil. In the first, Trafane was rivered by Mestre. The second, some time later, was even crueller. Coren moved in with A-Q and Trafane called with A-Q. But crucially Coren’s cards were both spades. She called for a chop, but got the exact opposite; the flop bringing three spades to devastate her as much as Trafane.
Coren and Mestre had tangled brilliantly at the start of the day and again at the end. Back then Coren had been in charge and it seemed she’d got the upper hand at the end also, taking the lead and looking to seal it when she called Mestre’s shove with pocket fives with her own A-J. It was to be Coren’s high point; the race won by Mestre and a short while later, when Mestre’s A-5 dominated Coren’s A-3, it was all over.
Watch PMA for details of future IFP events and exciting details relating to Australia’s place as part of the International Federation of Poker.
IFP World Championship final table results
1 Raul Mestre (Spain) $250,000
2 Victoria Coren (United Kingdom) $100,000
3 Igor Trafane (Brazil) $50,000
4 Slavko Tomic (Serbia) $25,000
5 Marsha Waggoner (Australia) $20,000
6 Sandra Naujoks (Germany $17,500
7 Takuo Serita (Japan) $15,000
8 Tim Reese (Germany) $12,500
9 Kinichi Nakata (Japan) $10,000