Paul KlannThe owner of a disaster restoration company from British Columbia has taken down the top prize of $1,004,090 in the recent World Poker Tour (WPT) L.A. Poker Classic (LAPC).  The first-place finish for Paul Klann, 41, moved him from a Bluff Magazine player ranking of 7,858 in 2012 right up to 3rd in 2013, though mysteriously they still list him as only 10, 219th in their “Power Rank” assessment. Maybe a million dollars doesn’t carry the clout it used to.

Canadian Beat a Tough Field

Klann had to outlast 517 players for the monster win, including 2012 winner Sean Jazayeri, three-time WPT champ Carlos Mortenson, and renowned WSOP Main Event winner Joe Hachem. He also survived popular poker pros and sportsbook favorites Paul Volpe and Toby Lewis; Volpe entered the final heads-up match with a 2:1 chip lead, but lost out to Klann in two key hands that sent him home with a second-place finish of $651, 170. Jesse Yaginuma took third for $429,810; Daniel Fuhs came in fourth for a $316,650 payday; and David Fong won $236,250 for fifth, while Toby Lewis racked up a sixth-place finish to take home $193,560.

Prestige Event

The annual L.A. event has seen some of poker’s best and brightest take it down in years past; including superstar players such as Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Antonio Esfandiari, and Michael Mizrachi. The $10,000 buy-in event is priced the same as the World Series of Poker’s (WSOP) Main Event, although a smaller player field adds up to a smaller prize pool; the Main Event first-place take home is typically well over $8 million.

Mike Sexton is the event’s long-time MC, and opened this year’s proceedings with a eulogy for dedicated poker player and Los Angeles Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss, who had passed from cancer only two weeks before at the age of 80. Buss was a lifetime avid high-stakes cash game player, but also had several impressive tournament wins, including taking third in the 1991 WSOP seven-card stud event and second place in the 2003 WPT Freeroll Invitational event.

Highlights of the Tourney

A few key and exciting hands stood out during this year’s WPT LAPC tournament; among them, a major cooler for the infamous “Poker Brat,” Phil Hellmuth, who was sent to the rail after seeing his set of sevens have a head-on collision with a set of Jacks. Also amusing was the Liz and Dick Burton of poker, Phil Laak and Jennifer Tilly, who sat opposite each other on Day Two and hard-played each other like any good poker players will; Tilly flopped two pair against her beau’s diamond flush, and folded face up when her man pushed all in.

The final hand was fairly uneventful, as Klann’s Q5 held when nothing could beat his queen high vs. Volpe’s last all-in with T9; uneventful, that is, except for the guy who walked home with $1,004,090 bucks.