Jonathan Khalifa (pictured) has become the PMU.fr WPTDeepStacks Cannes Main Event champion!
The Frenchman emerged victorious atop a final table that sported a lot of familiar names; Khalifa defeated Omar Lahkmari in heads-up play, Team PMU.fr Pro Erwann Pecheux finished in fifth place, and French icon Antonin Teissere finished in sixth place.
All nine final table players were from France.
For his win in the second European WPTDeepStacks event in the tour’s first-ever full season in Europe, Khalifa scored a first-place prize of €60,157, plus a €2,000 seat into the season-ending WPTDeepStacks European Championship.
WPTDeepStacks Cannes Final Table Results
1. Jonathan Khalifa – €60,157
2. Omar Lakhdari – €43,720
3. Anthony Cruz – €28,141
4. Alexandre Le Vaillant – €17,286
5. Erwann Pecheux – €13,297
6. Antonin Teisseire – €11,030
7. Dimitri Paillarguelo – €9,196
8. Fabien Bonavial – €7,595
9. Gilbert Diaz – €6,130
Khalifia joined Thijs Menco, winner of WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam, as the first winners of the season.
Sixteen players returned at 1 p.m. local time to Casino Barrière Le Croisette to crown a new WPTDeepStacks champion. For Dominique Terzian, Richard Msika, Jeremy Saderne, Jean-Paul Pasqualini, Brian Benhamou and Patrick Ambrosio, there was no final table in the cards. The same fate awaited Sebastien Buonomo, who lost ace-queen against pocket nines to become the final table “bubble boy.”
Pecheux began the day with the chip lead, and he also held the lead when the final table began with nine players remaining. Trailing Pecheux’s stack of 1.61 million was Khalifia with 1.527 million and Lakhdari with 1.258 million.
Action started with a bang when Gilbert Diaz misstepped against Lakhdari. In a three-bet pot, Diaz check-raised ace-seven on an eight-seven-six flop. Lakhdari had flopped a set of sixes, moved all in, and got the call from Diaz. It was a pivotal pot to Lakhdari, who moved into the chip lead with the pot.
Fabien Bonavial was eliminated in eighth place after Lakhdari flopped another set. Bonavial had a flush draw, but he didn’t get there.
Dimitri Paillarguelo followed shortly after in seventh place. After a raise and a call, Paillarguello shoved king-queen. Khalifa called with ace-queen to knock him out.
Antonin Teisseire added to his more than $2 million in live tournament earnings when he finished sixth. Short stacked, he shoved ace-eight. Khalifa called with queen-ten and turned a straight to send Teisseire home.
After Teissere’s bust, next to go was Erwann Pecheux. The Team PMU.fr Pro was on his ninth final table in a WPT event, but a victory has proved elusive. It didn’t happen in this event, either, as Pecheux had to settle for fifth place.
Pecheux tumbled quickly down from the top spot and eventually lost a big pot with top pair, top kicker against Anthony Cruz’s bottom set. Pecheux lost his last chips two hands later.
One of the most crucial hands of the final table happened after Pecheux busted out. In a battle of the blinds, Lakhdari held king-queen and Khalifa had king-seven. The two saw a king-king-jack flop, and, after substantial action on flop and turn, a seven landed on the river to give Khalifa a full house. Khalifa won the pot and claimed a massive chip lead that he never lost again.
Short stacks Alexandre Le Valliant and Anthony Cruz fell in the next hour, taking fourth and third places, respectively. Their eliminations set the stage for the heads-up battle between Lakhdari and Khalifa.
After half an hour of small pots, it all ended in one big hand. Khalifa open-shoved ace-three and Lakhdari called for all of his chips with pocket fives.
“One time!” begged Khalifa.
The poker gods obliged, and an ace landed on the flop. Khalifa held from there, and it was all over. Lakhdari received €43,720 for his second-place finish.