Salas Claims Spot at 2020 WSOP Main Event Finale

Salas Claims Spot at 2020 WSOP Main Event Finale

The 2020 WSOP Main Event is over, and there is a winner! Sort of.

Half of the surprise finale 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event is happening in the United States. Players in Nevada and New Jersey competed on December 13-14 on WSOP.com for spots at the final table. Those players are now set to play out that final table…on December 28 at the Rio in Las Vegas. That will produce one champion.

Outside of the US, GGPoker hosted the other half of the finale 2020 WSOP Main Event. That tournament started on November 29 with the first of three opening flights, the other two of which took place on December 5-6. On December 7, the surviving players competed for spots at their own final table.

The result was a final table set last week online at GGPoker. The WSOP then invited the nine final table players to King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, to play for the win in a live setting amidst an ongoing pandemic.

Let’s see how it played out.

Eight of Nine Players

The final table setup was announced as follows:

–Brunno Botteon (Brazil) 10,317,743 chips

–Manuel “robocup” Ruivo (Portugal) 6,213,759 chips

–Damian Salas (Argentina) 5,653,528 chips

–Marco “fullbabyfull” Streda (Switzerland) 4,232,560 chips

–Hannes “BlackFortuna” Speiser (Austria) 3,515,744 chips

–Dominykas “MickeyMouse” Mikolaitis (Lithuania) 3,165,440 chips

–Ramon “Ritza” Miquel Munoz (Spain) 3,035,940 chips

–Peiyuan “fish3098” Sun (China) 2,185,676 chips

–Stoyan “UncleToni” Obreshkov (Bulgaria) 2,119,610 chips

Players had the choice to refuse a seat at the final table, though they had to accept ninth-place money to do so. Peiyuan Sun made the decision to refrain from traveling from China to Europe in the middle of a raging pandemic to play a nine-handed poker game. It should be noted that his stack only represented about 11 big blinds, so that likely played a role in his decision making as well.

Meanwhile, the other eight players did make the trip, the furthest treks bringing Botteon from Brazil and Salas from Argentina.

South Americans Take Over

On December 15 at King’s Casino, the final eight players took their seats under the lights and cameras of ESPN, as the action was being filmed for a later ESPN broadcast.

Some of the shorter-stacked players found some initial opportunities to chip up, while Speiser didn’t have such luck. Salas took him out in eighth place and then found Obreshkov in a vulnerable spot. Salas sent him out in seventh. Mikolaitis fell into shorter-stacked territory again, and Ruivo busted him before sending Stredo out in fifth place.

At the time of the dinner break, Salas was the far-and-away chip leader with 23.55 million, and Botteon was in second with just 8 million. The other two were even shorter.

Botteon returned from dinner with determination and busted Miquel Munoz in fourth. Salas stepped in to bust Ruivo in third.

Heads-up play started with the two South Americans:

–Damian Salas = 24,175,000 chips

–Brunno Botteon = 14,100,000 chips

Botteon showed some aggression and heart, even pulling into the lead for a short time, but Salas had the momentum. He took the lead back and caught Boetton on a bluff to end the tournament.

Damian Salas of Argentina took the title and will head to Las Vegas for the finale on December 30. He will face the winner of the US final table that plays on the 28th. There will be $1 million and the 2020 WSOP Main Event gold bracelet on the line for the winner of that final heads-up match.

Meanwhile, the international players took home these payouts for their efforts:

–1st place:  Damian Salas (Argentina) $1,550,969

–2nd place:  Brunno Botteon (Brazil) $1,062,723

–3rd place:  Manual Ruivo (Portugal) $728,177

–4th place:  Ramon Miquel Munoz (Spain) $498,947

–5th place:  Marco Streda (Switzerland) $341,879

–6th place:  Dominykas Mikolaitis (Lithuania) $234,255

–7th place:  Stoyan Obreshkov (Bulgaria) $160,512

–8th place:  Hannes Speiser (Austria) $109,982

–9th place:  Peiyuan Sun (China) $75,360

 

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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