Artur Martirosyan came into the final table of Event #5: $10,100 No-Limit Hold'em on the outside looking in of the top 40 on the overall PGT leaderboard, but now finds himself squarely in the field after capturing the title and $197,500 first place prize for his second tournament victory of the series.
Martirosyan started the final table second in chips, but the Russian pro could only sit back and watch as Sam Soverel did all the heavy lifting early.
Soverel scored the first elimination of the day on the stream's first hand when his ace-jack sent Dylan Linde's ace-ten out the door in seventh place for $39,500. Chino Rheem was the next to fall when his queen-nine was outkicked by the queen-jack of Event #4 winner Dylan DeStefano as Rheem collected $47,400 for the sixth place finish.
DeStefano's run for back-to-back tournament titles ended shortly after that when his flopped nut flush draw could not run down Soverel's flopped top pair. DeStefano collected $63,200 for the fifth-place finish but, more importantly, secured 63 points to move in front of Samuel Laskowitz for one of the two dream seats into the $1,000,000 PGT Championship with one event to go.
Once the dust settled on the first three eliminations, Martirosyan began to take over. Doing so by taking creative line after creative line as he sent multiple players into the blender as the night moved on, starting with Alex Foxen.
With both players sitting near three million in chips and the blinds at 30,000/60,000, Foxen opened the button to 135,000 and picked up Martirosyan from the big blind. The flopped checked through to reveal the on the turn, promoting Martirosyan to overbet to the tune of 600,000. Foxen made the call as the completed the board on the river.
Martirosyan used a time extension and announced a bet of 2,000,000 with just 135,000 behind. Foxen had Martirosyan covered and went deep into the tank using multiple time extensions, and his shot clock ballooned to almost five minutes. Foxen called and table for a pair of nines, but Martirosyan tabled for a pair of jacks to collect the huge pot and move into the chip lead. Foxen was out the door one hand later when his queen-nine failed to run down Stephen Chidwick's ace-three as he collected $79,000 for the fourth-place finish.
Soverel would then have his moment in the sun as he scored a pair of double-ups, first through Chidwick and then through Martirosyan, to overtake the chip lead, but what looked like Soverel's tournament to lose quickly changed.
In a blind vs blind battle, Soverel started with an open to 325,000 from the small blind, and Martirosyan called in the big blind. The flop fell , and Soverel continued for 175,000 as Martirosyan called to see the turn. Soverel checked, and Martirosyan bet 875,000. Soverel called as the completed the board.
Once again, Soverel checked before Martirosyan used a time extension and moved all in for just over $1.8 million. It was Soverel's turn to experience the blender as he threw his remaining time chips forward, eventually using a pair before tossing in the call while reveling for two pair in the process. Martirosyan, however, had the good once again as he tabled for a full house to collect the pot and 66% of the total chips in play.
Martirosyan made it a quick night from there as he eliminated Chidwick in third place when his ten-nine turned a full house against Chidwick's ace-six to send the UK's all-time money leader to the payout desk to collect his $102,700 prize. Then, on the first hand of heads-up, Soverel was all in with ace-ten of spades against Martirosyan's jack-duece of diamonds.
A jack on the turn gave Martirosyan the best of it, but Soverel had outs to the nut flush and an ace. The river bricked, and Soverel's up-and-down final table ended in second place for $134,300.
Event #5 continued an impressive early-year turnout as 79 hopefuls stepped inside the PokerGo Studio, creating a prize pool of $790,000, with the top 12 reaching the money. Chris Brewer was the unfortunate bubble as his pocket duces ran into Foxen's pocket queens, and Brewer just missed out on his second cash of 2024.
With the win, Martirosayn moves off the PGT Last Chance leaderboard and into the top 40 of the overall PGT leaderboard, now sitting in 31st place with 1,218 points with one event to go before the $1,000,000 PGT Championship. Martirosyan started the day in 46th place on the overall leaderboard and second on the series leaderboard but now sits firmly in the field.
Rheem started the day in 41st place, but with his sixth-place finish, he now sits in 38th place and will have to sweat the bubble as he is only three points ahead of Ben Lamb (39th) and Jim Collopy (40th). Arthur Morris scored his first cash of 2024, but thanks to the runs by Rheem and Martirosyan, he dropped from 42nd to 43rd in the overall standings and trails the field by 28 points heading into Event #6.
Dropping out of the top 40 are Adam Hendrix and Maxx Coleman. Hendrix sits eight points behind Lamb and Collopy and will need at least a min-cash in Event #6 to jump back into the field, as will Coleman, who sits 11 points behind the pair and just three points behind Hendrix.
Event #4 Winner DeStefano fell just short of back-to-back titles, but the impressive two-day run now has him sitting atop the leaderboard for one of the final two dream seats with 276 points, 32 points clear of second place.
Martirosyan's accent into the top 40 was music to Samuel Laskowitz's ears as the Event #3 winner remains in second place on the Last Chance Series leaderboard and currently sits 99 points ahead of Michael Jozoff for the final dream seat.
With the cushion created by DeStefano and Laskowitz and depending on turnout in Event #6, those trailing the pair will most likely need to win the event and get some help if they want to have any chance of making the $1,000,000 freeroll.
|Jonathan Cohen (CA)
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