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Players from the United States, China and Lithuania litter the top ten on the leaderboard after five Poker Masters events. Previous favorites and past winners look to have slid back into the pack as outsiders, with two comparatively new names at the top of the charts heading into events #6 through #10. Who’ll reign supreme at the PokerGO Studio at ARIA and claim the Purple Jacket given to the winner along with the $50,000 Championship Bonus?
The Lithuanian player Vldas Tamasauskas is the favorite to win this year’s Poker Masters at this stage. That’s because he is the only player to win two events. The opening event saw the Lithuanian dominate the final stages as players such as Ren Lin and Tamasauskas’ heads-up opponent Aram Zobian both fell short. That earned Tamasauskas $239,400 and put him in a great position to win again.
Event #2 didn’t go the Lithuanian’s way, as the four-time World Poker Tour winner Darren Elias scooped the top prize of $223,100. At a final table that saw Tamasauskas slide out in sixth place, five Americans fought for the title. Eric Baldwin was eventually Elias’ closest challenger, with Erik Seidel eliminated in fifth place for $77,600 along the way as the nine-time WSOP winner came close to another major title in his astonishing career.
Event #3 did belong to Tamasauskas. For a second time in three events, he got the better of a huge field of entrants, with 87 entries meaning his top prize this time was worth a huge $208,800. Ren Lin came second for $147,900, as he came closest to preventing the Lithuanian star claiming a second title, as others such as Chance Kornuth (6th for $52,200) and Alex Foxen (4th for $87,000) both came close.
The fourth event of the Poker Masters saw American poker hero Chino Rheem bag the title and the top prize of $218,400. With Kid Poker himself, Daniel Negreanu, coming sixth for $54,600, an entirely North American final table was rounded out by five Americans in the top five places, with high rollers Justin Saliba and Chris Brewer both exiting ahead of the podium places.
After Brock Wilson busted in third place, Jonathan Little took on Rheem for the win. It took some huge luck to win out, though, as Rheem got it all-in bad only to hit a ten for a miracle straight and survive to skittle Little’s chances of victory. Little, whose forays into the high roller circuit are getting more frequent, sold some of his action on PokerStake but will be delighted with a score of $154,700 in second place nonetheless.
Event #5 was won by birthday boy Andrew Lichtenberger, who turned 36 years old and promptly won a hard-fought finale for a score of $204,000. The final table was a classic, as chip leader coming into play Daniel Lazrus had looked most threatening to add a Poker Masters title to his two WSOP bracelets won in recent years. Lazrus, however, lost against Lichtenberge, known as ‘Chewy’ when all-in with pocket sixes, only for Chewy to overtake him when his pocket threes flopped a set.
Andrew Lichtenberger (@luckychewy) manifests a three to send @DanielLazrus to the rail in 3rd place from Poker Masters Event #5.Lichtenberger will take nearly a 2:1 chip lead into heads-up play against Brian Kim.📺 – Watch LIVE on PokerGO: https://t.co/rzmp96GXiW pic.twitter.com/N19LKcrBjX— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 20, 2023
Andrew Lichtenberger (@luckychewy) manifests a three to send @DanielLazrus to the rail in 3rd place from Poker Masters Event #5.
Lichtenberger will take nearly a 2:1 chip lead into heads-up play against Brian Kim.
📺 – Watch LIVE on PokerGO: https://t.co/rzmp96GXiW pic.twitter.com/N19LKcrBjX
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 20, 2023
The top ten of the Poker Masters leaderboard sees Valadas Tamasauskas with a strong lead, but he is one of five players who have cashed three times in five events so far. Tamasauskas has so far accumulated winnings of $506,400, which equate directly to Poker Masters points in the battle to land the $50,000 Championship Bonus and Purple Jacket.
After three cashes, Ren Lin is the closest to Tamasauska, but is still over $200,000 behind in winnings on $298,800. That means the Chinese player is on 299 Poker Masters points, some way behind the 506 points that Tamasauskas has accrued. Behind them is the first of eight consecutive American players, with Andrew Lichtenberger (266 points), Darren Elias (259 points) and Chino Rheem (218 points) all the only other players over the 200-point mark.
While the Lithuanian leader has a serious target to catch, anyone who is thinking about not playing would be wise to reconsider. The value of Events #7 through #9 is higher with the entry fee being $25,000, and the final event, the Poker Masters Main Event, costs $50,000 to play.
That final event could yet change everything, and leave someone in with a chance of greatness as they battle to win the $50,000 Championship Bonus and perhaps just as importantly, slip their arms into the sleeves of the legendary Poker Masters Purple Jacket.
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