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Deeb trouble at WPT Invitational
Freddy Deeb may have taken first in the WPT's Celebrity Invitational, but he made sure the kids were the real winners this weekend.
Before sitting down at Monday's final table, Deeb announced he would be donating 50% of his winnings to charity.
Less than four hours later, the 2007 H.O.R.S.E. world champion had racked up another $50,000 for Mekhi Phifer's The Vine Group and a second WPT title for himself.
Deeb defeated actor Nick Gonzales (Anacondas) in heads-up play to win the $100k top prize, which also comes with a snazzy WPT bracelet and an entry into April's $25k World Championship at Bellagio.
"It's been a pleasure," said Deeb, who told WPT announcer Mike Sexton he hadn't even intended to play in the event.
"I lost $80,000 in the cash games," he said, "and at the last minute I said I'd go, have fun, see some celebrities and have a few drinks. I played for an hour and a half [on Day 1] and was out smoking cigars all night."
At the final table, however, Deeb bore down.
"I made up my mind to play good for the kids and forget about what had happened over the last two days," he said.
"For the kids" was a familiar refrain at the Invitational, where on Day 1 participants managed to raise $78,720 on for The Vine Group, an organization that helps underprivileged children in Africa pursue education.
Deeb's first-place finish bumped that number to nearly $130k.
The win didn't come particularly easily for Deeb, who picked off a spectacularly poor bluff by Asian Poker Tour founder Tom Hall to take the lead while three-handed.
The hand saw Hall ship nearly half of his stack with 4-2 offsuit on an A-Q-9-T-7 board, only to see Deeb look him up with a rivered set of sevens.
A few hands later and Deeb would flop another set of sevens to send Hall from the tournament, setting up a heads-up grudge match between Deeb and Gonzalez.
It wouldn't take long for Deeb to clinch the title.
The first hand of heads-up play (and only the 73rd at the final table) saw Gonzalez open-shove with A-6 and Deeb make the call with pocket eights.
The board ran J♣ 7♠ 3♣ 6♥ K♠ and the eights held, giving Deeb game, set and match.
For an impressive second-place finish, Gonzalez takes $50,000.
"It was definitely a joy to play this tournament," Gonzalez said after the match. "The competition was stiff throughout the three days and it was great to play with Freddy."
Former WPT North American Poker Classic champ Scott Clements also cashed, finishing fourth.
Get full results here.