Darren Elias came into the day 6th of 7th in chips, but after finding an early double up through Bin Weng, Elias kept the momentum going en route to the title and the $223,100 first-place prize.
"This particular final table, with the chip distribution and knowing Bin Weng having the chip lead like that, he is going to drive the action," Elias said. "I was fortunate to win a couple of flips against him to put myself in a good position, but he's going to be driving the action."
One such flip occurred early in the day when Elias wrestled the chip lead away from Weng when his ace-jack of hearts rivered a flush against Weng's turned set of eights. Weng was knocked down to just. 275,000 after the hand but took the bet in stride, eventually finishing in third place for $116,400 and his second cash of the 2023 Poker Masters.
After that, it seemed like all the momentum was on Elias' side as he eventually went into heads-up play with just over a two million chip lead, and Eric Baldwin proved more than game as he wrestled the chip lead away from Elias, all be it for one hand.
Elias then cemented his chip lead when his river raise with a pair of queens got paid off by Baldwin's pair of sixes. The final hand of the day saw Baldwin move all in for 2.4 million with jack-eight of spades only to run into the ace-queen of Elias.
A queen on the turn gave Elias top pair, but it also netted Baldwin straight and flush draws. When the river landed a blank, Baldwin headed to the payout desk to collect his $155,200. Elias breathed a sigh of relief as he captured his second title of the year inside the PokerGo Studio after a victory during the USPO.
"It feels good competing against the best players; (it is) my favorite place to play," Elias quipped. "Any time you get to win (in) a place like this, it's awesome.
Pizzaria owner and recreational poker player Antonio De La Cruz scored the biggest cash of his career as he finished in fourth place, taking home $97,000 after maneuvering a middling chip stack for much of the day. De La Cruz saw his tournament came to an end when his ace-nine was outflopped by the queen-jack of Weng.
Finishing just behind De La Cruz and showing the range of the players involved at the final table, Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel scored his tenth career Poker Masters cash as the grizzled veteran maneuvered the 97-entrant field to a fifth-place finish for $77,600 after seeing Elias turn a set of kings against his flopped pair of aces.
Sixth-place finisher Vladas Tamasauskas sits on top of the Poker Masters standing after following up his win in Event #1 with a final table in Event #2. Tamasauskas just barely made the registration for event two, as he was the last player to take a seat in the field. Still, the Lithuanian poker podcaster showed his chops yet again on the field, eventually falling when his pocket jacks ran into the pocket queens of Elias. With the $58,200 cash, Tamasauskas now moves to 297 points through two tournaments in the race for the purple jacket.
Alex Foxen came into the day with just five big blinds and found himself all in and at risk on the second hand of the final table. Foxen opened to 100,000 with king-duece suited from the cutoff and found callers from De La Cruz on the button and Weng in the big blind.
The flop fell queen high, De La Cruz flicked in a bet, Weng folded, and when De La Cruz tabled ace-queen, Foxen saw the bad news. The turn and river left Foxen unimproved as he collected $48,500 for his seventh-place finish.
Event #2 of the 2023 Poker Master drew 97 entrants, which created a prize pool of $970,000 and paid out the top 14 finishers. A complete list of finishers can be found below.
|Antonio De La Cruz
The 2023 Poker Masters continues with Event #3, $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em, and the PGT Live Reporting team will be on sight at the PokerGo Studio until a winner of the purple jacket is crowned on September 28th.
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