The World Poker Tour (WPT) has just concluded its much-awaited Tournament of Champions (TOC), where returning poker pro Matt Waxman took the title and the opportunity away from Darren Elias to bag a fifth record-setting WPT title.
The WPT TOC took place for the first time at the eSports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor and the action was intense as the second televised final table was broadcasted. Prior to the WPT TOC, the WPT Bellagio Elite Poker Championship $25,000 High Roller event took place and Tom Marchese went on to win the event and take home $432,000.
The action was a bit slow at the start of the WPT TOC final table, with Waxman and Elias fighting for the chip lead. But a few flops, blinds, and heads-up later, Waxman emerged victorious to take home $463,375. Elias in the end finished in third place ($177,060) after Lithuanian pro Matas Cimbolas finished second and took home $265,590.
Elias Denied Fifth WPT Title
Darren Elias came in hot to the TOC as just a few days before the tournament come start, he became the very first person to hold four WPT titles as he ended up winning the $10,000 WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic and was looking to add to his WPT titles at the TOC.
Elias has won four WPT titles in the last four years and continues to be a huge name at WPT events. He won his first WPT title back in September 2014 when he won the WPT Borgata Open, his second at the WPT Caribbean in November 2014, making him the very first person to win two WPT titles in one season. His third title was at the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic where he won $326,776 in 2017 and the fourth was the Bobby Baldwin Classic. If Elias had won the WPT TOC, it would have been his second back-to-back win at the WPT and it would firmly cemented his lead as the player with the most WPT titles.
Before his Bobby Baldwin Classic victory, Elias shared the spotlight with Anthony Zinno, Gus Hansen, Chino Rheem, and Carlos Mortensen. These are some of the most recognized names on the poker circuit and all of them had three WPT open titles to their name. Elias’ recent victory pushed him above the rest and bagging the WPT TOC title would have made put him in an elite zone. In fact, he came to the WPT TOC with a chip lead at 1,400,000 and Cimbolas who was second had a chip count of 1,159,000. Waxman who would go on to win the TOC had a very low chip count at just 554,000.
Matt Waxman Delivers
Matt Waxman started the TOC with a low chip count but his steady play and solid strategy made sure that he quickly built up his chip count. He ended up taking the chip lead from Elias a couple of times during the final table, before doubling his lead and then crushing Cimbolas on the final hand with a call on a queen-seven. This win will now see his total live earnings go up to $4,086,484.
Waxman has not had a great run during the last couple of years and has only cashed a total of $300,000, playing mostly in Las Vegas at the Wynn Classic and the WSOP. His best live cash dates way back in September 2011, where he won the € 7,500 No Limit Hold’em WPT Grand Prix de Paris and took home $721,178.
He said his absence from the live poker circuit is mainly because he has been traveling around New Zealand, Australia, and Southeast Asia and focusing on developing a poker app. When he came into the TOC, he was a little nervous over the fact that he hasn’t been grinding steadily in the lead up to the TOC.
This is why he reveals that he came to the TOC a bit nervous because of his lack of grind practice. However, he stayed in touch with the game by watching a lot of poker live streams to keep building his poker strategy.
In a statement, Waxman said, “I was a little bit worried because lately I felt like I wasn’t keeping up with poker and people were studying a lot and getting a lot better. But It’s the same old stuff. I definitely feel like throughout my travels I learned a lot of things that helped keep me balanced and composed throughout the tournament and I’m very thankful to have acquired that.”