Josh Prager Takes L.A Poker Classic

The American poker player Josh Prager cemented a win in the L.A Poker Classic early Monday morning, taking home a prize of over $200,000. This year’s LAPC event drew entries from 1,770 players. With the $1,000 per-player buy in, the prize pool for the tournament grew to over $1.7 million.

The final table saw Prager lag behind early. However, he was soon able to build back a substantial chip reserve, eventually giving him control of more than one-third of the chips on the table. During this time, he was able to eliminate two of the seven other players. First out was Haik Rostomyan, followed shortly by Cord Garcia. This series of exchanges narrowed the table to six players as the night wore on.

The initial round of the final table ended when a preliminary payout agreement was reached, but the top three players continued on to determine the outcome of the tournament. A remaining $60,000 that was left on the table was divided up into three additional prizes of $30,000, $20,000 and $10,000. All of the six top players that were left after Rostomyan and Garcia had been eliminated walked away with more than $95,000, counting the sum from the payout deal.

After the table was narrowed down to three players, the game resumed in earnest. The three finalists were Prager, Sean Swingruber and Faisal Shihabi, each of whom ultimately took home a prize in excess of $100,000. Play continued until Prager cemented his victory in the early hours of Monday morning, claiming both the largest share of the prize pool and the tournament trophy. The official results of the final table were as follows:

  • #1: Josh Prager–$227,775
  • #2: Sean Swingruber–$132,220
  • #3: Faisal Shihabi–$117,995
  • #4: Kevin Song—$95,460
  • #5: Aleksandr Gofman–$100,000
  • #6: Mihails Morozovs–$98,430
  • #7: Cord Garcia–$41,220
  • #8: Haik Rostomyan–$32,500

The L.A Poker Classic win marked a dramatic return to form for Prager, who in 2007 took home a prize worth more than $500,000 after coming in fifth in that year’s EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final. Prager has continued to play in the intervening years, but has rarely come into top spots and was not playing the US Poker Open last week. Playing the same event in Monte Carlo in 2015, Prager came in at just 36th. He also finished in 149th place in the 2018 World Series of Poker. The L.A Poker Classic, however, marks his first major tournament championship and second highest prize. The American player has only cracked the 6-figure prize mark one other time since 2007 with a $185,000 prize in the 2013 World Series of Poker, in which he finished 41st. With Monday’s win, his total career winnings now exceed $1.8 million.

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