Daniyal Iqbal started the day with the most chips in PGT PLO Series Event #1: $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha and he would finish the day with all of them, as he was the last man standing of the 200-entry field collecting $160,000 for his victory in the event.
Iqbal, who is not a poker pro but an engineer by trade, would outlast a stacked field that included the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Ben Lamb, Phil Galfond, Bryce Yockey, and Chino Rheem to name a few. The event was Iqbal's first in the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas, NV and makred his largest recorded cash ever according to The Hendon Mob.
"I play PLO cash at home," Iqbal said following his victory. "Some home games. I'm an engineer, just here for a week to have some fun."
The opening event of the PGT PLO Series was a record breaker, drawing out 200 total entries, setting the record for number of unique entries with 140, as well as total entries in an owned-and-operated PGT event. The event also set a record for largest prize pool for an owned-and-operated PGT event with a buy-in of $10,000 and under with it's $1,000,000 prize pool.
The 200-entry field was wittled down quickly on Day 1 and players reached the money in level 12 with the elimination of Chan Kim on the money bubble. The event moved a bit quicker than Iqbal was used to playing in his games back home, but he adapted well to the structure.
"It was great," Iqbal said about the event. "I liked the turbo experience. It was much faster paced compared to any other tournament I've played.
By the end of Day 1, just nine players remained and Iqbal was on the top of the pack. But he still had to face off against some power houses in the field included David Williams, Jeff Madsen, and Ethan 'Rampage' Yau to name a few. Williams and Yau made quick exits to start Day 2 though with Williams being eliminated in 9th place ($30,000) and Yau following him out the door in 8th place ($40,000). This brought the field down to the final table of seven after just one level in Day 2.
Players would continue seven handed for nearly an hour before the elimination of Sean Troha in 7th place. Troha got it all in with aces, but they failed to hold as Jeff Madsen made two pair to send Troha to the rail. Madsen would be the next to fall in 6th place when he ran his double-suited kings into Eelis Parssinen's aces. And quickly after Madsen's exit, Peng Zheng dropped as well. Zheng flopped a set of jacks on a queen high board, but Stanislav Halatenko ran him down with straight and flush draws, completing a flush to send Zheng home in 5th place.
Four-handed play would last quite some time with players exchanging the chip lead back and forth. During this time, Iqbal dropped to the bottom of the pack for a short while before quickly doubling back into the chip lead through Parssinen after he flopped two pair in a massive pot. Parssinen would bust shortly after that in 4th place when Iqbal rivered a set against his two pair. Halatenko was the next to go, also falling to Iqbal after a preflop confrontation left him all in and behind. He failed to improve while Iqbal made a pair of kings and that would leave Roussos Koliakoudakis and Iqbal heads up.
Iqbal began with a commanding lead, but Koliakoudakis quickly doubled to bring the stacks to even. A few key pots went Iqbal's way though, and he would close out the tournament after turning a straight against Koliakoudakis' set in the final hand. Koliakoudakis failed to improve and he would be eliminated in 2nd place, while Iqbal was able to claim the title and earn the $160,000 first place prize for his win. Despite his success in the first event of the series, Iqbal doesn't have plans to chase the PGT Cup or the $25,000 championship bonus, as he has to return to work, but he does plan to play a bit more before the series is over.
"I'll play the week," he said. "But I've still got work so I've gotta go back. Can't play every day."
To follow the entire PGT PLO series, stay tuned to the PGT.com live reporting section.
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