Dimitar Blazhev was crowned the champion of the WPTDeepStacks Philippines Main Event early this morning, winning PHP 4,812,000 ($95,181). The tournament, part of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Asia Pacific, had a PHP 75,000 ($1,500) and generated a PHP 22,523,400 ($445,513) prize pool with 344 entries.
This is just the fifth recorded live tournament cash of Blazhev’s poker career, according to TheHendonMob.com. Prior to the win, he had just $11,540 total live earnings, though considering I have less than a third of that, I’d say that’s pretty impressive.
The primary reason Blazhev doesn’t hasn’t seen more live tournament success is because he doesn’t play in tournaments very often. He’s a cash game player. Little volume, few cashes. He told WPT.com that he plays in “maybe five tournaments a year.”
In fact, Blazhev did not even intend to participate in the WPTDeepStacks Philippines Main Event. A friend saw that event on the poker calendar and suggested they take a vacation to play in the tournament. Thus, Blazhev flew from Bulgaria to the Philippines to give it a go. Thing is, his championship run messed up the rest of their travel plans. The win was likely solid consolation.
Blazhev was actually not in great shape going into the nine-handed final table. He had just 850,000 chips, putting him in sixth place, about 1.3 million behind the chip leader, Christos Vlahos.
He quickly increased his stack to nearly 1 million and then his big move came when he picked up pocket Aces. Vikaash Shah moved all-in pre-flop for about 600,000, which had to have made Blazhev light up inside. Blazhev shoved over the top, getting the other players to fold. Shah had J-J and when an Ace flopped, that was just about it for him. He was eliminated in eight place and Blazhev was up to 1.680 million chips.
He was a bit up and down for a while, but after a break, with six players remaining, found pocket Kings and was able to double-up through David Erquiaga to climb to 2.470 million. He continued to move from that point, entering heads-up against Kunwoo Kim barely behind, 5.370 million to 4.950 million.
As often happens heads-up, the lead went back and forth. Blazhev took the lead early and actually expanded it significantly, but Kim stormed back to regain the chip advantage. It was actually dead even at one point before Blazhev took the lead for good.
On the final hand, Kim raised pre-flop to 400,000. Blazhev shoved. After some thought, Kim decided to take his stand, putting his remaining 3.140 million into the pot. He had K-J against Blazhev’s A-9. None of the board cards helped either player’s hand and thus it was Blazhev who took the pot and the title.
WPTDeepStacks Philippines Main Event – Final Table Standings
- Dimitar Blazhev – PHP 4,812,000 / $95,181
- Kunwoo Kim – PHP 3,372,000 / $66,698
- Mark Dela Cruz – PHP 2,168,000 / $42,883
- David Erquiaga – PHP 1,397,000 / $27,633
- Rogel Del Rosario – PHP 1,077,000 / $21,303
- Christos Vlahos – PHP 891,000 / $17,624
- Ryo Naito – PHP 748,000 / $14,795
- Vikaash Shah – PHP 613,400 / $12,133
- Jongjun Park – PHP 481,000 / $9,514