Justin Bonomo came into the final table of Event #9: $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em with the chip lead and, despite a valiant effort by Daniel Rezaei in heads-up play, went coast-to-coast to capture the title and the $333,000 first-place prize. 

Bonomo started the day with nearly 45% of the chips in play and took a 4-to-1 chip lead into heads-up play, but Rezaei quickly gained the upper hand when his pocket sixes held against the pocket fours of Bonomo on the first hand of play. Two hands later, Rezaei wrestled the chip lead away from Bonomo when his pocket sevens once again held, this time against the ace-two of Bonomo. 

Bonomo, now facing his own 4-to-1 chip disadvantage, didn't blink and managed to claw his way back, eventually retaking the chip lead when he picked off Rezaei on the river. Facing an all-in shove for this tournament life, Bonomo used two time banks before declaring, "I really think you are bluffing me. I call," and tabled ace high.

Rezaei would indeed show a bluff with jack high. Bonomo let out a deep sigh, collected the pot, and took a nearly 2-to-1 chip lead, which he would not relinquish. Rezaei would eventually fall in second place for $222,000 when his rivered two pair of queens and deuces was bested by Bonomo's superior two pair of aces and queens. 

The final table was a quick one, lasting just under two and a half hours as Bonomo used his chip lead to his advantage and had the added benefit of the deck as he had a hand in eliminating all five of his opponents. 

2023 Poker Masters Event #9 Payouts

Place Player Country Payout PGT Points 
1 Justin Bonomo United States $333,000 200
2 Daniel Rezeai United States $222,000 133
3 Stephen Chidwick United Kingdom $148,000 89
4 Andrew Lichtenberger  United States $101,750 61
5 Orpen Kisacikoglu Turkey $74,000 44
6 Chino Rheem United States $46,250 28

Chino Rheem was the first to fall when his fives full of deuces were bested by the eights full of Bonomo. Rheem collected $46,250 for the sixth-place finish. 

The deck would continue to find Bonomo as he picked up pocket kings against the king-jack of Orpen Kisacikoglu. A jack on the flop gave Kisacikoglu hope, but the turn and river offered no help and the Event #6 winner headed to the payout desk to collect a $74,000 fifth-place prize.  

Andrew Lichtenberger would be the next to run into the buzzsaw of Bonomo when his pocket jacks ran square into Bonomo's pocket queens in a blind-versus-blind battle. The board ran clean, and the Event #5 winner could only shake his head as he walked away with $101,750 for his fourth-place finish. 

Continuing on the theme of the deck finding him at the right time, in another blind-versus-blind battle, Bonomo picked up pocket kings against the pocket queens of Stephen Chidwick, leading to the biggest pot of the tournament. With just under 4,500,000 in the middle, Bonomo's kings faded the last two ladies in the deck, and Chidwick was out the door in third place for $148,000.  

With the win, Bonomo captureed with first Poker Masters title and moved into seventh on the series leaderboard with 314 points. Vladas Tamasauskas still leads in the standings with 506 points, 120 points ahead of Chidwick and Rheem, who sit in a tie for second with 386 points. Lichtenberger sits in fourth with 327 points, and Ren Lin rounds out the top five with 325 points.

2023 Poker Masters Leaderboard Top 10

Place Player Wins Cashes Winnings Points
1st Vladas Tamasauskas 2 3 $506,400 506
T-2nd Chino Rheem 1 4 $434,650 386
T-2nd Stephen Chidwick 1 3 $605,000 386
4th Andrew Lichtenberger 1 4 $367,450 327
5th Ren Lin 0 4 $342,800 325
6th Darren Elias 1 3 $359,500 319
7th Justin Bonomo 1 2 $447,000 314
8th Chris Brewer 0 4 $365,500 268
9th Daniel Rezaei 0 3 $355,500 266
10th Orpen Kisacikoglu 1 2 $292,500 263

The 2023 Poker Masters concludes with Event #10: $50,000 NL Hold'em, and the PGT live reporting team will be on-site at the PokerGO Studio until a winner of the Purple Jacket is determined on September 26.

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Stephen Chidwick, Chino Rheem, Andrew Lichtenberger, Justin Bonomo, Orpen Kisacikoglu, Daniel Rezaei, 2023 Poker Masters