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Laak wins Party Poker World Open V

16 Oct 2009

LONDON, England -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Phil 'The Unabomber' Laak is the World Open V champion, scooping the $250,000 first prize after defeating the strongest final table in the event's history! The Matchroom Sport organised 48 runner tournament ran from Sunday 11 October – Thursday 15 October. For the very first time, the action took place in the prestigious Palm Beach Casino in the heart of Mayfair, London.

Laak emerged triumphant from a final table that also featured Poker Hall of Fame inductee and ambassador Mike Sexton, former Premier League champion Andy Black, the controversial Luke 'Full Flush' Schwartz, grassroots team member Bodo Sbrzesny , Austrian online qualifier Jan Veit and Phil Laak's partner, Hollywood actress and WSOP bracelet holder Jennifer Tilly.

The new deep triple stack structure meant there was over four hours play before the first elimination but eventually it came down to a heads-up battle between Laak and 26-year-old online qualifier Jan Veit, a computer science student from Salzburg, Austria. The damage was done when Laak pushed with A8 off-suit and hit an 8 on the flop, leaving Veit's A4 stranded. The winning hand came when Laak raised with Q9 and Jan moved all-in with J7. Phil called and nothing hit on the board and Laak was congratulated at the table by his partner Jennifer Tilly and the crowd of people that had built to watch the exciting final table.

"This was a wild roller coaster ride and I am proud to have shared it with this amazing cast of characters. They were a tough bunch. Wow – what an honor," said Laak.

It certainly wasn't a straightforward victory for Laak. In his heat, his stack had shrunk to just 47,000 from a triple stack starting amount of 300,000 and he looked destined for an early exit. He made a remarkable comeback, however, to secure his place at the final table and, ultimately, take it down. "Coming back from one and a half big blinds is about as crazy as it gets. So sick, just so sick," said Laak.

Jennifer was first to congratulate him and she busted at the final table in fifth. "I'm so happy for Phil," said the Academy Award nominated actress, "people underestimate him because he is so entertaining. He really deserves this. I really enjoyed this tournament, it had a fantastic structure. You can see that by the amount of top players who made the final table."

First out on the final table was early chip leader Andy Black, followed shortly by Mike Sexton, whose deserved Hall of Fame induction was confirmed to the public while he was playing the final table. Sexton's pocket eights ran into Veit's pocket kings. Champion Laak had special words for the Ambassador of Poker on collecting his trophy. "Mike Sexton, inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame today. The consummate player. Full stop."

Next to go was Jennifer Tilly when her AJ failed to hit against Veit's 99 - it looked to many like it was going to be the online qualifier's day. Fourth place belonged to Grassroots team member Bodo Sbrzesny, who impressed again in front of the cameras in a gruelling heads-up battle with Andy Black in his heat and with his creative play at the final table. Sbrzesny, a Palladium Lounge Elite member, exploded on the scene last year after he won a rake race on to take a seat at the Poker Den 36 hour cash game. He certainly made in impression on Roland De Wolfe and Barny Boatman there, by bluffing both with 72 and showing them.

What followed was a long period of three handed play but it was Luke 'FullFlush' Schwartz who busted next. After problems entering the casino on the first day, he had his responsible escort on hand in the crowd and certainly did himself justice. As you would expect, he contributed to a chatty and entertaining final table. Schwartz busted when Veit hit runner, runner for a club flush. At the heads-up stage Veit held a 1,190,000/910,000 advantage but you couldn't rule out comeback king Laak and he proved a very popular winner with the crowd.

Veit was happy with his runner-up finish though and went home with $100,000. "With this line-up I would have been happy to get third," said Veit, "I'm delighted."

A spokesman said: "Congratulations to Phil for his deserved victory. We're delighted with how the tournament has gone this week and we had a fantastic final table. We got great feedback on the new triple stack structure and casino atmosphere and are convinced this tournament has introduced a new high standard for single table satellite events of this nature."

Amongst those who failed to make the final table included Tom 'Durrrr' Dwan, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, JP Kelly, Teddy Sheringham, Andrew Feldman, Roland De Wolfe Sammy George, Bruno Fitoussi, Antoine Saout, James Akenhead, Praz Bansi, Scott Fischman, Neil Channing, Roberto Romanello, defending World Open champion Marty Smyth and Liam Flood. The 48 player field also included's newly sponsored grassroots players Remy Biechel from France, Felipe 'Mojave' Ramos from Brazil and the UK's Ian Frazer. The emphasis for the grassroots team is on VIPs, player loyalty and historic links to Another player who took their seat was Danish journalist Johannes Nord Jorgensen, who secured his package by winning the recent in the Sky event in Copenhagen.

This year there was the chance to qualify online for the prestigious tournament, coverage of which is shown on television in countries all over the world. Ten packages worth $13,000 were won which included the buy-in, seven night's accommodation and $1,000 spending money. The main changes to the event this year were that the starting stacks have been tripled, with the tables being eight seat in the heats and seven players in the final. The buy-in was $10,000, with a total prize pool of $480,000 – the winner scooping $250,000. The players were delighted with the new triple stack structure. More information can be found at: and

Coverage will start on Five in the UK on October 28th and will be presented by Kara Scott. Commentary for the final will be provided by Jesse May, Neil Channing and Ian Frazer.

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