Balakrishna Patur Defeats Matas Cimbolas to Win WPT LA Poker Classic

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Balakrishna Patur raised his hand in victory Monday night after winning the World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic Main Event. (WPT photo)

For the second time in two days, the World Poker Tour crowned a new champion and for the second time in two attempts, Matas Cimbolas was relegated to the role of bridesmaid in one of the WPT’s most prestigious events.

Balakrishna Patur eliminated Cimbolas, who finished runner-up to David Baker at the 2019 LAPC Main Event, to cap off a nine-hour final table to win the 2020 version of the L.A. Poker Classic and walk away with his name on the WPT Champions Cup and $1,015,000 in his pockets.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the final table was delayed from its original April 2020 date. On Sunday, Veerab Zakarian took down the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, another event that suffered an extended postponement.

Upeshka De Silva came to the final table with the shortest remaining stack and wasn’t able to improve his standing through the first 29 hands of final table play. On the 30th hand, De Silva made his final stand. Down to just 10 big blinds, De Silva moved all in from the button with Ac2s and Patur called from the small blind with AhKh. The board ran out Tc8h4c5cTh to eliminate De Silva in sixth place.

It took 63 hands over the next three hours before the next player was sent packing. Action folded to Cimbolas in the small blind and he moved all with Qd7h before Ka Kwan Lau called all in with AsJs from the big blind. The Kd7c2c flop moved Cimbolas ahead and left Lau needing a reprieve from either the turn or river. The 6h turn was no help and when the 8d river completed the board without improving Lau’s hand, he was out in fifth.

Nearly three hours of four-handed play ended with a battle of big pairs and propelled Cimbolas to the chip lead. From the button, Scott Hempel raised to 350,000 with TcTs before Cimbolas re-raised to 1,200,000 with QhQs. Hempel then moved all in for 4,850,000 and Cimbolas called. The 9h7c7h flop kept Cimbolas in control and the 4h turn left Hempel with just one out. The Qs improved Cimbolas to a full house and ended Hempel’s run in fourth place.

There was no prolonged wait for the next elimination. Patur raised to 400,000 from the button with KdKh. James Carroll, who already has two WPT titles to his credit, moved all in from the small blind for 1,650,000 with Kc9s and Patur called instantly. The QcJh5s flop gave Carroll an inside straight draw but neither the 4d turn nor 7s were enough to save him from a third place finish.

Patur started heads up play with a 4-3 chip lead over Cimbolas and over the next 28 Patur increased his lead at nearly every turn. On the final hand, down to just 15 big blinds, Cimbolas moved all in with Kd6c and Patur called with Ah9d. Cimbolas picked up extra hope on the Jd7d2d flop. Cimbolas could only watch as the 8s turn and 5h river completed the board to eliminate him in second place and give Patur the title and a seven-figure score.

WPT LAPC Final Table Payouts

  1. Balakrishna Patur – $1,015,000
  2. Matas Cimbolas – $600,060
  3. James Carroll – $431,585
  4. Scott Hempel – $323,485
  5. Ka Kwan Lau – $243,330
  6. Upeshka De Silva – $185,330