Marvin Rettenmaier made a fantastic start to his time as a Team PartyPoker Pro by winning the $25,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship at The Bellagio in Las Vegas.
The German picked up $1,196,858 for his victory – as well as a stunning WPT Champions trophy, a silver Tiffany card protector and a WPT World Championship seat for next season so he has the opportunity to defend his title – after defeating Philippe Ktorza in their marathon heads-up clash that left the Frenchman with $805,310 as runner-up.
PartyPoker will certainly be thrilled by his success as the 25-year-old only joined their pro team last week, making this victory especially important to the German, who was also recording his first ever seven-figure triumph. Not too shabby.
Champion Overcomes Challenge of Frenchman
It does appear that Friday’s break – to allow the $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller to be completed and won by American Tom Marchese – agreed with the six players who made the final table, but especially chip leader Rettenmaier as it took more than eight hours and nearly 200 hands for the youngster to emerge victorious.
Stuttgart’s Rettenmaier – who eliminated Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi in third place for $424,618 to extinguish the American’s goal of a third WPT crown – started his heads-up war of attrition with Ktorza on 8,550,000 chips to his opponent’s 6,675,000, but was forced to show great determination to ultimately overcome the 48-year-old Frenchman.
It took just four hands of head-to-head play for Parisian Ktorza to overtake Rettenmaier, though, before he then opened up an even bigger gap 10 hands later from a pot that garnered the Frenchman more than four million chips.
German Battles Back
However, Rettenmaier was in no mood to lie down and drew almost level – on 7,450,000 to Ktorza’s 7,775,000 – after the 151st hand of the day when doubling-up. This is where it got really exciting.
The 160th hand saw Rettenmaier double-up again after they duo got all the chips in on an 8♥ 7♠ 3♣ flop. Rettenmaier showed 8♦ 3♦ for two pair and Ktorza revealed Q♥ 7♦ for middle pair. The German’s hand stayed in front after the 9♠ turn and 2♠ river, leaving many railbirds – as well as Rettenmaier – to believe that he had actually secured the title.
However, an official chips count showed that Ktorza had 825,000 remaining, although, at just 3.3 big blinds, it looked as though the end was nigh. How wrong we all were…
Philippe Ktorza On a Roll
Incredibly, Ktorza doubled-up three times in succession – timing his recovery perfectly as the pair entered level 32, when the blinds became 150,000/300,000 with a 50,000 ante.
The first double-up saw Ktorza’s J♠ 5♥ overcome the 5♠ 2♠ of Rettenmaier when the board came K♥ 9♣ 8♣ 9♠ J♦ as the Frenchman held two pair, jacks and nines. That took him to 1,650,000 – or 6.6 big blinds – although Rettenmaier still held 13,575,000 (54.3 BBs) to remain way out in front.
Then Ktorza’s A♦ 9♣ improved to top pair against the J♥ 5♣ of Rettenmaier on an A♣ 8♥ 7♣ 5♦ 2♦ to take him to 3,300,000 as Rettenmaier was cut back to 11,925,000.
Ktorza’s third successive double-up saw his K♣ J♣ defeat the A♠ 4♠ of Rettenmaier when the board ran out J♠ 6♦ 2♠ 6♥ 5♣ to give the Frenchman two pair, jacks and sixes. This success took Ktorza to 6,600,000 (26.4 BBs), while Rettenmaier held 8,625,000 chips – or 34.5 big blinds.
Parisian Retakes Chip Lead
Incredibly, the first hand of level 33 – with the blinds set at 200,000/400,000 with a 50,000 ante – saw Ktorza retake the chip lead when his 8♠ 8♥ overcome the A♣ J♣ of Rettenmaier.
Rettenmaier minimum-raised to 800,000, only for Ktorza to shove all-in for 5,725,000. Rettenmaier quickly called to see a board of 10♥ 7♦ 5♦ K♠ 7♣, but was left shocked as Ktorza took down the pot to open up a dominating chip lead of 11,550,000 to 3,675,000.
That left Rettenmaier with just over nine big blinds – and now it appeared Ktorza was on the brink of glory. Again, we were all wrong as the German refused to buckle under the pressure.
Rettenmaier Finally Secures Title
In fact, 10 hands later, Rettenmaier had doubled-up to take a small chip lead – 8,150,000 to 7,075,000 – when his 10♣ 10♥ stayed in front of Ktorza’s A♣ 4♥ on a board of K♣ 7♣ 2♠ 3♥ 2♦.
The final hand arrived just minutes later – and it was something of a nightmare for Ktorza.
On the button, Rettenmaier raised to 800,000 and Ktorza shoved all-in for 6,775,000. The London-based German quickly made the call to reveal K♠ K♣, much to the disappointment of Ktorza, who must have thought he was poised to double-up with his J♦ J♥ hole cards.
As was expected, Ktorza received no help on a board of A♠ 9♦ 3♣ 10♣ A♥ to ensure that Rettenmaier, with aces and kings, continued his wonderful start to this year, which has seen him earn $1,522,950 from live tournaments.
Trevor Pope Hits Rail In Sixth Place
The seventh and last day of the event began with Hollywood’s Mizrachi and one-time WPT winner Nick Schulman, of Manhattan, aiming to add another WPT trophy to their respective collections.
This ensured there would be drama throughout the day, with the 29th hand seeing Florida’s Trevor Pope hit the rail in sixth place for $155,571 after being eliminated by Ktorza.
The blinds were at 40,000/80,000 with a 10,000 ante during level 26 when Pope – on the button – shoved all-in for 1,460,000. Small blind Ktorza decided to re-raise all-in for 1,700,000 to ensure that big blind Mizrachi folded.
Ktorza tabled the J♥ J♠ to face-off with the A♣ 3♦ of Pope. Pope needed to improve to stay alive, but the Q♦ 5♣ 2♣ J♣ 8♥ was no good to him as the Frenchman gained trip jacks for the knockout.
Steve O’Dwyer Exits in Fifth
Twenty-eight hands further on and there was a momentous pot that saw Mizrachi double-up through Rettenmaier and eliminate Vegas pro Steve O’Dwyer in fifth place for $192,176.
With the blinds now at 50,000/100,000 and a 10,000 ante, Mizrachi – in the cut-off seat – raised to 200,000, only for button Rettenmaier to re-raise to 485,000. However, O’Dwyer then moved all-in for about one million, with Mizrachi shoving for 2,140,000 and Rettenmaier, after some thought, making the call.
Rettenmaier showed A♦ K♦, Mizrachi tabled 10♥ 10♠ and O’Dwyer revealed A♠ K♥. The board ran out J♦ 9♣ 3♥ 4♠ 2♦ to ensure that Mizrachi’s tens stayed ahead to eliminate O’Dwyer and double-up through Rettenmaier to move into the chip lead on 5.2 million – just ahead of the German (4.85 million).
Stuttgart Star Moves Way Ahead
The aggressive Rettenmaier, however, kept chipping away at his three opponents to hold a huge chip advantage before the next elimination arrived 52 hands later, when he sent Schulman to the rail in fourth place for $256,235.
Now into level 28 – with the blinds at 60,000/120,000 and 20,000 ante – small blind Rettenmaier raised to 280,000 and big blind Schulman moved all-in for about 2.7 million.
Rettenmaier called to show 8♣ 8♠, while Schulman tabled A♣ 5♠. The board came K♣ J♦ 2♦ 5♥ 3♦ to eliminate Schulman and take Rettenmaier into a commanding lead on 11,575,000 chips to the 2,025,000 (13.5 big blinds) of Ktorza and 1,625,000 (10.8 big blinds) of Mizrachi – just as level 29 began with the blinds now at 75,000/150,000 and a 25,000 ante.
No Easy Path to Victory
As mentioned earlier, it appeared as though Rettenmaier would finish off his two opponents in double-quick time. And, as stated, we were very wide of the mark on that belief.
Ktorza doubled-up through Rettenmaier four hands later, but the German remained aggressive in his play – most likely because he knew his big stack was perfect to play that way as the cash increases covering the last three places were enormous.
The 113th hand of the day saw small blind Rettenmaier go all-in, to be called by Ktorza, who showed the K♠ 10♠ to dominate the eventual champion’s 10♦ 9♥. The board came 6♣ 6♥ 4♥ Q♠ 4♠ to double-up Ktorza to 3,475,000 (23 BBs).
The Frenchman doubled-up through Rettenmaier two hands later to draw level with the chip leader – this time when the German moved all-in with 5♣ 5♠ over Ktorza’s initial raise. But Ktorza made the call to show 8♣ 8♠, which held on a board of K♠ 9♠ 7♣ K♣ 3♣.
Michael Mizrachi Misses Out On Third WPT Crown
Mizrachi was the short stack and shoved all-in for approximately 1.6 million chips on the very next hand with 3♥ 3♠, to be called by Rettenmaier, who showed A♦ 10♥. The A♠ Q♠ 10♠ 10♦ A♥ board could not have been much better for Rettenmaier as he picked up a full house to eliminate Mizrachi in third and end his dream of a third WPT title.
Then came the incredible heads-up battle between Rettenmaier and Ktorza that only came to a conclusion after 78 more hands.
So, that’s it for Season 10 of the WPT. Now it’s time for the 43rd World Series of Poker (WSOP), so expect the action to be fast and furious over the next couple of months. PokerNewsReport will, of course, keep you updated on all the big events.
WPT World Championship Top 10 Payouts
1. Marvin Rettenmaier (Germany) – $1,196,858
2. Philippe Ktorza (France) – $805,310
3. Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi (USA) – $424,618
4. Nick Schulman (USA) – $256,235
5. Steve O’Dwyer (USA) – $192,176
6. Trevor Pope (USA) – $155,571
7. Moon Kim (USA) – $118,966
8. Wil Wilkinson (USA) – $82,361
9. Hafiz Khan (USA) – $58,568
10. Joe Serock (USA) – $47,587