Player Profile: Dennis Blieden, Winner of the 2018 LAPC Main Event!

The LA Poker Classic has been won by some of the biggest names in poker: Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Antonio Esfandiari, Michael Mizrachi, and Chris Moorman, just to name a few.

The event has also had its fair share of underdog champions who won on one of poker’s biggest stages despite a lack of exposure to the high stakes side of poker: Eric Herschler, Alan Goehring, Paul Klann, and Gregory Brooks come to mind there.


The latest champion, Dennis Blieden, would certainly fall in the latter category, but he had the ability and aggression of the legends mentioned in the first group. Blieden defeated a field of 493 players to take home an even $1,000,000, and get his name in the Champions Club trophy.

“I’m on top of the world. I’m much happier to win the championship  than the million dollars. This is unbelievable. I’ve dreamt of this since I was a little kid. I always had games at my house growing up. People were coming over 2-3 times a week after school. Everyone dreamed of this so for everyone at home in Cincinnati supporting me it’s surreal.”

Blieden defeated a tough final table that included the already on fire Toby Lewis. Fresh off of winning the Aussie Millions just a few weeks ago, Lewis looked destined to win another massive title, but Blieden had other ideas.

For Blieden, he believes his unpredictability was his biggest asset.

“I’m just fearless really I came in and confused some of the pros I was against. When you’re as fearless as I am you can get the pros to tighten their ranges a bit because they know my 4 bet range is so big.”

Blieden gave an example of that in the hand where he busted three time WPT Champion Anthony Zinno. Blieden was able to get Zinno to three bet shove on the flop drawing almost dead against the trips of Blieden. Blieden was also happy to discuss his animated interactions with none other than the Poker Brat himself, Phil Hellmuth.

“Phil Hellmuth on Day 4 had just got to my table. First hand I raise under the gun with 4-5 offsuit. He calls big blind I bet the flop he folded I showed. “What the hell is this goofy shit?” he said right away. After a couple more hands I 3-bet him with the 10-jack. I got some draws value bet a river jack and Phil went ballistic. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I ended up taking more of his chips: “what’s this goofy shit?” My friends loved that reading the updates.”


Blieden gave credit to a group of pros who helped him stay calm and level headed throughout the event, specifically mentioning Chance Kornuth and Yevgeniy Timoshenko. He also credited poker pro Mark Herm for telling him to play like a maniac.

Despite the life changing million dollar score, Blieden was the first person to say that he doesn’t plan on changing much right now as far as poker is concerned.

“Maybe I’ll play more at the WSOP. I’m not going to start traveling becoming a pro anything like that. I’m happy with the life I have, and happy to have poker as a hobby and I think I’m going to continue with that.”

One tournament he will definitely be in is the WPT Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas in a few months. When asked how he would plan on approaching that event now that he is no longer the unknown, Blieden said that once again, he doesn’t plan on changing anything now.

“I guess I got a couple months to figure that out but my guess is it’ll be the exact same thing,” he said with a big laugh.

Congratulations again to Dennis Blieden on what can only be described as a truly historic run. We look forward to seeing you defend your title in 2019!


Congratulations to Dennis Blieden, Winner of the 2018 LAPC Main Event!


After a raise from Toby Lewis, Dennis Blieden reraised to 300,000. Lewis fired backed with another raise to 750,000, and Blieden called. The flop came down [6d][3s][6s], and Blieden check called a bet of 400,000. The [Qh] came on the turn, and Blieden checked again. Lewis moved all in, and Blieden immediately asked for a count. "I don't think I "can get away from this," Blieden said. Not long after, he made the call.

Blieden: [As][Qd] 
Lewis: [10c][10s]

The turn shot Blieden out into a dominating lead, and now Lewis would beed a ten to survive. The river brought the [6h] though, and Blieden took down the hand, and the title! 


It cannot be overstated how impressive a run Lewis had to finish runner up, just a few weeks after winning the Aussie Millions Main Event for $1 million, but he will have to settle for second tonight. 

Your winner of the 2018 LAPC Championship, Dennis Blieden will take home a cool $1 million, and a seat to the Tournament of Champions later this year.

Congratulations to all six final table players today, and thank you to everyone who followed along with our coverage in this event, and all series. See you in May for the Cal State Poker Championship!

Derek Wolters Eliminated in 3rd Place ($430,210)


Derek Wolters shoved his final few big blinds in from the small blind with [Qc][7c], and Dennis Blieden looked him up from the big blind with [Ks][2d]. 

The flop of [Kh][8s][4s] meant that Wolters would need runner runner to win now. The [2s] on the turn thought gave two pair to Blieden, sealing the hand for him.

This gets us to heads up play between Blieden and Toby Lewis. Blieden has over 11.5 million while Lewis has just three million. 

Lewis Doubles Through Wolters, Leaving Wolters Short

Toby Lewis moved all in for his final 1,425,000, and right behind him, Derek Wolters moved all in over the top.

Lewis: [Ac][Kh]
Wolters: [Kd][Ks]

Lewis was drawing slim in his hopes to survive, but amazingly, it was Wolters who would be drawing dead after the flop came [As][Ad][4c]. There was only one king left in the deck, and even if it came, it would give Lewis a better full house. 

Lewis doubles up to 3,000,000, while Wolters is knocked down to 450,000, less than seven big blinds. 

Blieden Holds Commanding Lead With Three Left

Dennis Blieden took the lead a couple of hours ago, and he has only increased his lead since then. As the final three go on break, Blieden has over 2/3 of the chips in play. Here is how the final three stack up, as they will be coming back to 30,000-60,000 from the break. 

Dennis Blieden - 10,625,000
Toby Lewis - 2,215,000
Derek Wolters - 1,940,000

Marc Macdonnell Eliminated in 4th Place ($319,310)


Marc Macdonnell shoved all in from the button for his final one million and change, and after looking down at his cards, Toby Lewis quickly called.

Macdonnell: [Ac][7h]
Lewis: [9h][9d] 

Lewis was in great shape for the knockout, and the window card brought a third nine on the [Qc][9s][7d] flop. Macdonnell would need running cards now, but the [5d] turn was not one of them. 

Lewis scores the knockout to get back up to nearly three million, and in second place right now. 

Wolters Gets Lucky to Double Through Lewis

Toby Lewis raised it up first to act, and Derek Wolters moved all in 840,000. Lewis called, and saw that he was in great shape to get us to three handed play. 

Lewis: [Ac][Qs]
Wolters: [As][Jd]

The flop of [Jh][7c][4c] shot Wolters into the lead with top pair, and the [3d] on the turn kept him in the lead. The [7d] completed the board, and Wolters double up to nearly 1.8 million, while Lewis just fell to under 2.7 million.

Blieden Surges Out in Front, Wolters Under a Million

Dennis Blieden has just pulled off a nice bluff by check shoving on the river against Marc Macdonnell, and as a result, he has taken a massive lead in this four handed battle. On the other side, Derek Wolters is trending down back to where he was before his last double up. Here is how the final four players stand right now, with the blinds having just gone up to 25,000-50,000. 

Dennis Blieden - 8,830,000
Toby Lewis - 3,635,000
Marc Macdonnell - 1,365,000
Derek Wolters - 950,000

Player Profile: Alex Foxen, Winner of the LAPC $25,000 High Roller Event

It’s a good time to be Alex Foxen. The 27-year old former college football player turned poker pro has been on the run of a lifetime in the last year and a half that included  13 WSOP cashes last summer, a runner up in the WPT Five Diamond Classic, and now, a victory in the $25,000 High Roller Event here at the LAPC.


“This feels really good. I’ve had a few bubbles recently in 25ks so it feels good to have a breakthrough like that. I don’t like losing at all, so second place in a tournament like Five Diamond it still felt like a huge win but a little bit sour to get second so having this opportunity I really wanted to close it out.”

Foxen came into the final table with a decent chip lead, but had all kinds of talent opposing him, including two time WPT Champion Sam Panzica and former #1 tournament player in the world Nick Petrangelo amongst others. Foxen knew that having the chip lead meant he would have to be aggressive and bully his opponents.

“When you have the chip lead the goal has to be to keep the pressure on especially the shorter stacks coming in and play alot of pots but not big pots necessarily. It just so happens that I had the right hands at the right spots when people played back at me or I was able to get some hands through. Everything just fell into place.”

Not only did Foxen get the win in this High Roller, but he almost pulled the double, finishing in third place in the $10,000 Turbo High Roller just two days before this victory.

“Yeah that was a fun tournament the field was great the structure was quick but fun. It was nice to get third, and felt good to be up a buy-in coming into this $25k.”

After the victory, Foxen seemed extremely appreciative of the opportunities he has had in the last 18 months, and said that the hard work that he has put in for years has been paying off in this incredible run.


“Just alot of work in the past on my game and I think it has a cumulative effect over time and I’ve found a good rhythm and balance of confidence and just trying to make the right decision in as many spots as I can.”

He continued, “It’s hard to imagine the last heater I’ve been on it’s been pretty crazy. I’m not sure that I can say I expected it but it is what I always wanted to try for. It feels really good.”

Foxen said that his next stop will be in Macau in March, and if he plays anything like he did in this series, we think Foxen will fit in just fine. Congratulations Alex!

Wolters Doubles Through Blieden

Derek Wolters got his short stack in preflop holding [9h][9s], and he was in great shape against the [Ac][8c] of Dennis Blieden. Wolter's lead would grow after the flop of [Qh][Jh][2h], as the ace of hearts would now be no good for Blieden. The [3h] on the turn ended the hand, giving Wolters the flush, and the double up to over 1,300,000, while Blieden is down to 3,800,000. 

Peter Hengsakul Eliminated in 5th Place ($244,430)


After losing about half his stack to Derek Wolters on the previous hand, Peter Hengsakul three bet shoved all in from the big blind after a raise from Dennis Blieden. Blieden thought through one of his time extensions before deciding to call.

Hengsakul: [9h][8h]
Blieden: [Ah][7h] 

Blieden was in good shape to score the knockout before the flop, and his lead grew by leaps and bounds after the flop came [As][6h][4d]. Hengsakul would need runner runner now, but the  [6d] on the turn ended the hand. 

Just like that, we are down to the final four players. 

Dennis Blieden - 5,500,000
Peter Hengsakul - Eliminated

Toby Lewis Makes Massive Call to Get to Seven Million

Toby Lewis raised it up from under the gun, and Dennis Blieden three bet it from the big blind. Lewis called, and the flop came down [8c][3h][2h]. Blieden led for 260,000, Lewis called, and the [10c] hit the turn. Blieden fired again for 350,000, and again, Lewis called. The [Kd] hit the river, and Blieden fired the third barrel of 785,000. Lewis thought for just a few moments before calling, and Blieden could only muster up [Qc][9s] for queen high. 

Lewis showed [5h][5s] for just a pair of fives, but it was good enough to scoop a massive pot, and make him a massive chip leader right now. 
Toby Lewis - 7,000,000
Dennis Blieden - 3,900,000

Manuel Martinez Eliminated in 6th Place ($186,325)


Manuel Martinez came into the final table as the short stack, and he was the first player to get his chips in the middle.

Martinez raised to 60,000 from under the gun, and Dennis Blieden defended his big blind. The flop came down [8s][8h][2h], and Blieden checked to Martinez, who fired 50,000. Blieden check raised to 175,000, and Martinez called to see the [6c] hit the turn. Blieden bet 230,000, and Martinez moved all in for 675,000.

Blieden beat him into the pot with [8c][6d], and Martinez was needed a two outer with [Qc][Qd]. Another six came instead, and Blieden took the pot to jump out to the chip lead again. 

Cards in the Air: 2018 LAPC Main Event Final Table

It's time to find out who the next LA Poker Classic Champion will be! After five days of play, British pro Toby Lewis leads the way with 5.4 million. Dennis Blieden is the only player close to Lewis with 4.125 million. The only local at the final table is Peter Hengsakul, who is one of the shorter stacks, but still has nearly 40 bigs to work with. Check out the full seating chart and counts below, and stay tuned for all of the updates! 

Seat 1. Peter Hengsakul - 1,065,000 (36 bb)
Seat 2. Marc Macdonnell - 1,695,000 (57 bb)
Seat 3. Dennis Blieden - 4,125,000 (138 bb)
Seat 4. Manuel Martinez - 985,000 (33 bb)
Seat 5. Toby Lewis - 5,390,000 (180 bb)
Seat 6. Derek Wolters - 1,520,000 (51 bb)

Congratulations to Alex Foxen, Winner of the $25,000 High Roller Event!


From the start of the final table, this event felt like Alex Foxen's to lose, and he certainly ceased his moment, dominating the final table on his way to a $424,625 victory. Here's how the final hand went down. 

Foxen raised it up to 65,000, and Petrangelo called to see a flop of [10d][6c][8h] come down. Both players checked, and the turn brought the [4h]. Petrangelo fired 65,000, Foxen called, and the [2c] came on the river. Petrangelo checked this time, and Foxen moved all in after using one of his time chips. Petrangelo went through one of his time bank chips as well before dropping in a chip for the call.

Foxen: [6d][2d]
Petrangelo: [Ks][4c]


Foxen's two pair was good against the one pair of Petrangelo, who will take home $283,250. However, the night belongs to Alex Foxen, who will take home the Remington Trophy, a Hublot watch, and the title of LAPC High Roller Champion. Congratulations Alex!

Maria Ho Eliminated in 3rd Place ($188,875)


Maria Ho raised it up from the button, and Alex Foxen reraised it to 210,000. Nick Petrangelo folded his big blind, and after a few moments of though, Ho moved all in. Foxen quickly called, and he was a big favorite to get to heads up play. 

Ho: [Ah][5h]
Foxen: [9h][9c]

The flop of [10s][7h][4c] brought some backdoor possibilities for Ho, but the [Qd] turn meant that an ace and an ace only would do for Ho now. The [10d] came instead, giving Foxen the lead, and getting us to heads up play.

Foxen has a dominating lead right now, with 4.4 million to the 590,000 of Petrangelo. 

There will be a brief delay while the set is made for heads up play.