Kristen Foxen came into the Event #5: $10,100 No-Limit Hold'em final table in the middle of the pack, but after a little family affair, quickly vaulted up the counts en route to the title and $165,000 first prize.
Kristen and her fellow middle-of-the-pack stacks bided their time as Masashi Oya came into the day with just seven big blinds, and he got nothing going, quickly heading out the door in sixth place for $30,000 without much of a fuss as Daniel Negreanu continued to build his chip lead.
The five-handed play was a slugfest as the players traded chips back and forth. Still, it was Kristen who emerged from the battle as she worked her way up to second in chips, solidifying her stranglehold on that position when she eliminated her husband, Alex, in fifth place for $40,000 when her pocket queens flopped a set against Alex's pocket aces in a blind-on-blind battle.
Kristen would briefly take the chip lead moments later, but the lead was short-lived when Negreanu picked up pocket tens in the big blind against Aram Zobian's king-queen. Zobian needed a king or a queen to stay alive, but when the board ran out ace-high, he headed to the rail in fourth place for $50,000.
Kristen would secure the chip lead for good the next hand when she flopped a set of nines against short stack Samuel Laskowitz's flopped flush draw. All the money got in on the flop, and when the turn and river bricked, Laskowitz collected his $70,000 third-place prize.
Kristen began heads-up play with a million chip lead, but the ever-game Negreanu quickly found himself nearly dead, even in chips, before three monumental hands went Kristen's way. On the first hand, Kristen faced a bet of 600,000 into a pot of roughly a million, holding nine-six with the six clubs on a four-club board.
Kristen went into the tank and called just before needing to use a time extension. When Negreanu tabled two red sevens, she had a three-to-one chip lead. Negreanu would battle back to a two-to-one chip disadvantage but quickly found himself on the wrong end of two river calls.
With the board reading , Negreanu bet 240,000 into a pot of 480,000, and Kristen put in a check raise to 950,000. Negreanu went into the tank and used a pair of time extensions before he called with , Foxen however tabled for trip jacks, and Negreanu was once again staring at a more than three-to-one chip disadvantage.
In the penultimate hand of the tournament, Negreanu again found himself making a decision on the river and, with his spidey senses tingling, still couldn't get away. With the board reading and roughly 700,000 in the middle, Kristen over-bet the pot to the tune of one million. Negreanu once again went into the tank, verbally stated he thought he was beaten, and still tossed in the call with king-nine for a single pair.
Foxen tabled king-three for two pair and Negreanu was left with just over six big blinds. The tournament was over a few hands later when Negreanu got his last 450,000 in from the big blind again holding king-nine and looked to be in good shape for the double when Foxen reviled her jack-six.
A jack on the flop immediately dampened Negreanu's hopes. Despite turning a straight draw, Negreanu was left with just a pair of nines by the river as the start-of-day chip leader bowed out in second place for $105,000.
The win marks Kristen's second career PGT title, as she also took down the 2019 Poker Masters Event #6: $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em for $408,000 and her 12th career tournament victory overall, according to the HendonMob.
The final event of the PGT Kickoff series was the first $10,000 buy-in of the young PGT season and saw 50 entrants make their way into the PokerGO Studio, creating a prize pool of $500,000 with the top eight finishers finding a cash.
Jim Collopy was the unfortunate money bubble when his rivered flush was no match for the turned full house of Zobian. Day One came to a close thirty minutes later when Dylan Linde and Eric Baldwin were eliminated on the same hand but at different tables as they both secured a min-cash of $20,000
The win for Kristen also marks her second cash of the 2024 PGT season after finishing third in Event #3 and moves her to second on the leaderboard, but still sits 161 points shy of David Coleman, who paces the field thanks to his two victories and four final tables during the PGT Kickoff Series.
Also picking up their second cashes of the series were Zobian and Laskowitz. Zobian now sits in the top four with 256 points, while Laskowitz sits in ninth with 162 points. Event #5 runner-up Negreanu picked up 210 points and now sits alone in sixth place, two points behind Event #3 winner Justin Young.
The 2024 PGT season will now take a week break before the action picks up on January 25th with the start of the 2024 PokerGO Cup. The eight-event series begins with a $5,100 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event and concludes on February 2nd with the $25,200 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event.
A trio of satellites into the PokerGO Cup will be held in the Aria Poker Room starting on the 22nd of January with a $1,100 No-Limit Hold'em event. Another $1,100 satellite will be held on the 23rd before a $560 satellite kicks off on the 24th.
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