Joe Villhauer (pictured) topped a field of 118 players at a final table that was just under six hours long to win the WPTDeepStacks Iowa Main Event on Monday at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. "I don't think it's really sunk in, I'm really just thrilled about it. The money is good, and I finally had a run of good cards in a tournament. I've played in a lot of tournaments where I've got deep, and I just wasn't able to get over the hump," said Villhauer right after scoring the largest cash of his poker career. Villhauer took home $29,875 in prize money, along with the $3,000 WPTDeepStacks Championship package for the WPTDeepStacks Championship in December at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Northern California.
Villhauer was a perennial big stack in the tournament. He was one of the top ten stacks at the start of Day 2, and he was the chip leader at the start of the final table. "It freed up my game, I could make a few moves, and nobody ever got on to that I was making a few moves, because I always play pretty good hands. It worked out well, I'd never been the chip leader in a tournament before, but I watch a lot of poker on TV so I've picked up a little bit I guess," said Villhauer when he was asked about coming into the day as the leader. Villhauer also wanted to give a shout out to Tim Carol, and his family that hosted him here in Iowa this week (Villhauer was born and raised in Iowa City before he moved to Tennessee).
Cards got into the air at Noon between the final nine players, and WPTDeepStacks Global Ambassador Tristan Wade doubled up on the first hand of play. A few minutes later Brandon Pratt busted in ninth place, and then Colin Lovelock doubled up thru Wade twice before Jesse Jones was eliminated in eighth place. Gary Brakke then doubled thru Wade as well, and it was also Brakke who sent Wade to the rail in seventh place a short time later. Wade finished in fifth place at the WPTDeepStacks Iowa Event during Season 2, but he wasn't able to improve on that finish this year after a bad run of luck after his initial double up. Wade did secure his record 18th cash on the tour, which is easily more than any other player.
Action hit a bottleneck six handed, as Scotter Clark and John Agnos both doubled up, and it was almost two hours after Wade's exit that Agnos hit the rail in sixth place. Lovelock was the other player at this final table that appeared at the Season 2 WPTDeepStacks Iowa final table, but he wasn't able to improve on his previous runner-up finish either. Lovelock did go on a nice run however to finish in fifth place after starting the day as the short stack.
The faster pace of play continued when Brakke took his leave in fourth place 20 minutes later. Andrew Leopard then won a massive flip against Scotter Clark, and that left Clark with just 100,000. Clark was able to tripe up before he fell in third place the next time he moved all in.
Leopard took 2.4 million into the heads-up final against Villhauer's 500,000, but Villhauer scored two double ups to pull into the lead. Leopard then doubled up once before the final hand of the tournament.
On the final hand, Leopard limped in from the small blind, and Villhauer checked his option from the big blind. They saw a flop of
, and Leopard checked. Villhauer bet 90,000, and Leopard check-raised all in for 660,000. Villhauer took a few moments to think it over before tossing in one chip signifying a call. The two players then flipped over their cards.
Villhauer showed top pair and a gutshot straight draw, and Leopard needed to improve holding middle pair and an open-ended straight draw. The
on the turn, and the on the river were no help to Leopard, and he is the runner-up, taking home his largest career tournament score of $20,921. Villhauer was the champion of the WPTDeepStacks Iowa Main Event, and he won $29,875, a $3,000 WPTDeepStacks Championship package, and the WPTDeepStacks trophy.
Congratulations to our new WPTDeepStacks Champion - Joe Villhauer!
Final Table Results
1: Joe Villhauer - $29,875 + $3,000 WPTDS Championship Package
2: Andrew Leopard - $20,921
3: Scotter Clark - $13,453
4: Gary Brakke - $9,964.50
5: Colin Lovelock - $7,467.50
6: John Agnos - $5,974
7: Tristan Wade - $4,971
8: Jesse Jones - $3,979
9: Brandon Pratt - $2,987
That concludes our coverage from the WPTDeepStacks Iowa Main Event. Thanks to the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort for hosting another great stop on the tour. The next stop will take us to Ocean's Eleven Casino in Oceanside, California for the WPTDeepStacks San Diego Main Event that will run from October 26-30. The Main Event features an $1,100 buy-in and a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool. The WPTDeepStacks live reporting team will have live updates, chip counts, photos, and videos for you from Southern California in just three days.