Foxen Five Diamond Win Finishes WPT in 2019
The end of the year is not the end of the World Poker Tour season, which actually runs through May or June. But the end of the 2019 calendar year is a good time to recap the latest WPT tournaments and mark the halfway point of Season XVIII.
When we last checked in WPT Season XVIII, several events took place in October that resulted in newly-crowned WPT champions.
The list of winners in the current season are now:
–WPT Gardens Poker Festival: Roger Teska ($368,475)
–WPT Legends of Poker: Aaron Van Blarcum ($474,390)
–WPT Borgata Poker Open: Donald Maloney ($616,186)
–WPT Maryland at Live! Casino: Nitis Udornpim ($319,415)
–WPT UK at Dusk Till Dawn: Simon Brandstrom ($330,000)
–WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble: Josh Adkins ($331,480)
–WPT Montreal at Playground Poker: Geoffrey Hum ($380,648)
Two events have since crowned new winners, one at the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida and the other at the Bellagio in Nevada.
WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open
The player-favorite Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida, provided the setting for the WPT to host a popular event called the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open. The $3,500 buy-in Main Event kicked off on November 29 with a $2 million prize pool guarantee.
The first of two starting days brought in 447 entries, with 176 players making it through to the second day. Jason Wandling was the leader of the pack with 405,500 chips. The second starting day added 541 entries with only 211 of them surviving. Audrius Stakelis became the new chip leader with 408K.
A look at the final numbers for the tournament showed:
Total entries: 988
Total prize pool: $3,161,600
Total paid players: 124
Minimum payout: $5,985
This significantly eclipsed the guarantee and showed solid improvement from the previous season’s Main Event, which brought in 898 entries for a $2,873,600 prize pool.
Day 2 booted most of those players from the field, leaving only 65 remaining, all of whom were in the money. David Farber was the chip leader, but he didn’t make it through Day 3. Only 17 players did finish Day 3 with chips, and Fabian Gumz led the pack. And a man named Milen Stefanov climbed from a relatively short stack to fourth place on the leaderboard that day.
On Day 4, former WPT champions like Aaron Mermelstein and Jonathan Jaffe exited, and Jeff Blenkarn ultimately bubbled the official final table. Stefanov was the chip leader with six remaining.
Stefanov started the final table strong, eliminating Francis Anderson on the fourth hand and climbing further into the lead. He lost that lead, however, when Roman Korenev doubled through him. Cesar Fuentes then did the same through Korenev, but when he tried it a few rounds later, Stefanov took the opportunity to bust Fuentes in fifth place. Stefanov then ousted Korenev in fourth and Novosel in third.
Stefanov went into heads-up play with 33,275,000 chips against the 6,225,000 of Gumz. The latter did manage a double-up, though, and he fought through quite a few hands to get to another double. The two battled for dozens of rounds. After 50 hands of the two-handed battle, Stefanov took A-2 into battle against the Q-8 of Gumz, and an ace on the flop was enough to win.
Milen Stefanov of Bulgaria, a full-time live and online poker pro, won his first WPT title.
1st place: Milen Stefanov ($545,070)
2nd place: Fabian Gumz ($353,380)
3rd place: David Novosel ($260,845)
4th place: Roman Korenev ($194,605)
5th place: Cesar Fuentes ($146,760)
6th place: Francis Anderson ($111,895)
"The WPT is something that I’ve loved for a couple years now and to be a WPT champion finally, it just feels amazing. That’s an understatement.” – Milen Stefanov claims his first WPT title at #WPTRockNRoll. Winner's story by @PokerTraditions.
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) December 5, 2019
WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic
As happen every December, the World Poker Tour headed to Las Vegas and one of its legendary stops – the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip. This event offered a $10,400 buy-in Main Event with unlimited reentries that started on December 16.
There was only one starting day for the tournament, which drew 705 entries, though only 417 players survived. When they returned on Day 2, they were met with some new players and those reentering. When registration finally closed midway through Day 2, the final numbers were revealed:
Total entries: 1,035
Total prize pool: $10,039,500
Total paid players: 130
Minimum payout: $18,530
This event also surpassed the WPT Five Diamond from the previous year, which had just 1001 entries and a $9,709,700 prize pool.
#WPT5D set a new record on the WPT! 1,035 entries put $10.039 in the prize pool and $1.69 million goes to first with $1.12 to second.
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) December 18, 2019
The field thinned to just 224 players on Day 2 with T.K. Miles in the lead. Day 3 took a little more than half of those players into the money and ended with just 81 remaining. Miles kept his lead, and a high-stakes pro named Alex Foxen was fifth in chips.
The end of Day 4 saw only 22 players bagging their chips, and Foxen was in fourth. Seth Davies was the chip leader, and Miles was one of the shorter stacks.
Chino Rheem was the first to exit on Day 5, followed by big names like Kevin MacPhee, Ali Imsirovic, Keith Lehr, Darren Elias, T.K. Miles, Eric Afriat, and Joe Serock. The seventh place elimination of Timo Kamphues at the hands of Foxen, who was in second place going to the official final table, just behind Daniel Park.
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) December 21, 2019
The final table began on December 21 with Peter Neff doubling through Jonathan Jaffe twice in less than 20 hands. Soon after, Foxen eliminated Jaffe in sixth place. Toby Joyce doubled through Park, and eventually, Park became the table’s shortest stack. Park did double through Joyce and Neff to stay in action, but when he tried it again, Joyce busted Park in fifth place.
Foxen was solidly in the lead after 75 hands and continued climbing. Seth Davies ousted Neff and then doubled through Foxen. Joyce also doubled through Foxen before Davies did it yet again. Foxen ultimately busted Davies in third place, though.
Joyce was the underdog going into heads-up play with 11.9 million chips against the 29.5 million of Foxen. It only took a few hands for Joyce to shove with J-9 on a J-5-3-K board, but Foxen showed A-J. The river blanked and gave Foxen his first WPT victory.
1st place: Alex Foxen ($1,694,995)
2nd place: Toby Joyce ($1,120,040)
3rd place: Seth Davies ($827,285)
4th place: Peter Neff ($617,480)
5th place: Danny Park ($465,780)
6th place: Jonathan Jaffe ($355,125)
"Winning the WPT trophy in this event particularly is definitely the biggest thing to me. It’s the most significant tournament win to me so far." – Alex Foxen becomes a WPT Champion at #WPT5D. Winner's story from @PokerTraditions.
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) December 22, 2019