First-timer Rosenbarger hits one out of the park at WPT Montreal

WPtlogoThe WPT Montréal has reached a surprising conclusion, with first-time entrant Derrick Rosenbarger claiming the title and half a million dollars in cash.

Not only was this Rosenbarger’s first time entering a WPT main event, but he didn’t even buy in directly. He had qualified via a $300 satellite, making his $500,824 cash one of the most impressive returns on an investment that you’ll ever see in live poker.

A modest final table

Winning a major poker tournament is no small feat no matter who you’re playing, Rosenbarger’s final table was not as tough as it could have been. No former WPT champions were present, with Mukul Pahuja the only big name to make the final six. Amir Babakhani was the Champions’ Club member who came the closest, busting out in 7th place on the TV bubble, while Jonathan Little finished just a little earlier, in 17th.

The chip leader coming in was local player Sylvain Siebert, who also made the final table last year. He had looked good earlier in the tournament, but seemed frustrated, tilted and tired as the evening wore on, eventually crippling himself with a questionable bluff and busting shortly thereafter.

Lily Kiletto was also making her second final table appearance, having narrowly missed out on the chance to be the first female WPT champion with a 2nd place finish in the Lucky Hearts tournament this spring.

Besting Pahuja

If there was one person Rosenbarger would not have wanted to play heads up, it was Mukul Pahuja, but that was to be his fate. Rosenbarger nearly caught a break when, three-handed, Pahuja ended up flipping in a massive pot with the rather more straightforward Serge Cantin. Pahuja’s Ace-King came through, however, as he eliminated Cantin and entered heads-up play with a 2-1 chip lead.

The heads-up match was both very long and very swingy, but Rosenbarger did well for himself, 3-betting frequently preflop to keep the pressure on Pahuja and avoid too many deep-stacked postflop situations. Sixty-plus hands later, his strategy came to fruition, with Rosenbarger’s Queens holding up against Pahuja’s Ace-Four suited to give the young rookie the payday of his life.

You can find more coverage and results from the WPT Montreal at

Alex Weldon is a game designer by day and poker tournament wizard by night. You can read more from Alex at and follow him on Twitter at @benefactumgames

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