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Anyone and everyone have featured at the purple felt in Las Vegas as the PokerGO Studio at ARIA on the Sin City Strip has seen four players each lift PokerGO Cup event trophies. From PokerGO owner Cary Katz to the 2021 WSOP Online Main Event winner Stoyan Madanzhiev, through GPI number one Alex Foxen to the six-time WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu, the overall PokerGO Cup leaderboard is packed with superstars of the game… but who is at the top?
The opening event of the 2024 PokerGO Cup saw 111 entries and the action kicked off with a thrilling final table. Just 16 players made the money, including Farah Galfond (16th for $8,325) Erik Seidel (15th place for $11,100) and Andrew ‘Chewy’ Lichtenberger (13th for $11,100), while the aforementioned Stoyan Madanzhiev busted in 10th place for $16,650. When Jeremy Becker lost out in eighth place for $22,200, the final seven players convened at the final table.
Jonathan Little – who would later go much further in an event – busted in seventh place for $22,200 when his king-nine lost to Mark Ioli’s ace-queen. That meant six players would return under the lights the next day, with each Day 2 consisting of the final half dozen hopefuls who would play down to a winner on camera as PokerGO streamed the action to subscribers.
Terminally ill poker player Cody Daniels busted in sixth place for $27,750 when his ace-queen was unfortunate to lose against Ioli’s ace-jack, before Dusti Smith also left the party. Smith was all-in with ace-ten but this time the at-risk player was well behind, Shawn Daniels calling with pocket queens and holding to send Smith home with $36,075.
German player Fabian Quoss lost out in fourth for $49,950 as David Peters began his charge to victory, and Peters also scalped Shawn Daniels in third for $63,825 when ace-high was good enough to hold when committed pre-flop against Daniels’ king-queen. Despite those eliminations, Peters was the underdog heads-up, at least in chip terms, with his 5.4 million chips some way short of Ioli’s 8.4m. There’s no price on experience, however, and Peters won a key pot with trips to take the lead before his dominating king-ten won him the top prize of $141,525 when Ioli’s king-five couldn’t usurp the superior hand.
Event #2 had 89 entries and paid a dozen players, top of those being Dylan Weisman, who won the top prize of $240,300. This time, Stephen Chidwick was the so-called ‘Bubble Boy’ who just missed the money as Weisman knocked him out in ‘unlucky’ 13th place. Chidwick’s pocket nines fell to Weisman’s ace-jack as the latter made a Broadway straight on the turn and that put the remaining players into the money places.
Players such as Stanley Weng (12th for $22,250), Brian Luo (11th for $26,700), Dylan Linde (10th for $26,700) and Joris Ruijs (9th for $26,700) all departed, before former GPI world number one Alex Foxen shoved with ace-ten and lost to Anthony Hu’s king-seven, a seven on the flop doing the fatal damage. Foxen’s exit from the felt was followed by that of Norwegian player Morten Klein who was ahead with ace-eight when he shoved on an ace-high flop, called by Mike Watson’s ace-six. A six on the turn was a dagger to the heart of Klein’s hopes, however, and after a jack landed on the river, he fell in seventh place.
The final table saw David Coleman bust first in sixth for $44,500 after he was dominated to elimination by German pro Daniel Smiljkovic. Mike ‘Sir Watts’ Watson soon followed, this time seeing his own dominating hand shot down post-flop to fall in fifth for $62,300. Anthony Hu joined him on the rial soon after, all-in with king-queen against Byron Kaverman’s king-seven. Things looked good for Hu on the Q-9-8 flop as he paired his queen, but Kaverman hit runner-runner on the five turn and six river to stun the previously bulletproof Hu, who headed home with $80,100.
Three-handed play lasted some time, and things had changed so much that Kaverman went from leading the remaining trio to being an at-risk short stack. All-in with ace-queen, he lost to Weisman’s nine-ten and cashed for $111,250. Weisman – already leading – was now utterly dominant, holding a 10-to1 advantage over Smiljkovic and soon made it count, making a Broadway straight after initially doubling up the German, this time closing it out. Smiljkovic won $155,750 as runner-up as Weisman collected the $240,300 top prize.
Jonathan Little entered the final day’s play in the middle of the leaderboard but ended it the winner as he took down his first PokerGO Tour event and Event #3 of the 2024 PokerGO Cup. This time there were 85 entrants and 13 players paid, with Brock Wilson bubbling and Jeremy Becker (13th for $21,250) sneaking into the money places.
Joey Weissman busted in 11th for $25,500 before Alex Foxen sent Brian Luo home in 10th for the same amount. Jeremy Ausmus was next to depart, crashing out in ninth place for $25,500. John Hennigan, all-in with pocket threes, couldn’t overtake Jesse Lonis’ pocket sixes and left in eighth before Daniel ‘Kid Poker’ Negreanu left in seventh for $34,000.
Down to the final day, Brock Wilson lost a flip to Dan Shak to bust in sixth place for $42,500. Negreanu’s fellow Canadian Daniel Weinand was eliminated in fifth place for $59,500 when his flush draw didn’t come in against Foxen’s set of queens and Jesse Lonis was soon on the rail too, his jack-six when short stacked taken down by Jonathan Little’s pocket tens, which elevated the latter to a position of real potential.
The chips were extremely evenly split with three players remaining, and it was Dan Shak who missed out on heads-up play, his queen-eight unable to usurp Little ace-jack as an ace-high board sent Shak to the rail for $106,500. With chips fairly level, a ley pot went to Little when his ace-six started and ended ahead of Foxen’s king-jack with the chips committed pre-flop. After that double-up, Little’s king-ten was committed against Foxen’s king-deuce and against the run of the final table, the strongest hand held up when all-in pre-flop, the board of 8-7-6-8-5 coming to hand the huge top prize of $229,500 to Little.
The fourth event of this year’s PokerGO Cup was won by Cary Katz, the owner of the tournament’s streaming service. Winning $226,800, Katz – the 13th best tournament poker player of all-time according to The Hendon Mob – beat former WSOP Hybrid Main Event winner Stoyan Madanzhiev heads-up for the title.
There were 81 entrants in the $10,100-entry event, with 12 making the money after Eric Baldwin burst the bubble. The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel took home $20,250 by cashing in 12th place, losing to Madanzhiev, before cashes for Joelle Weinand (11th) and Justin Saliba (10th) and Richard Collins (9th), all of whom left with $24,300.
After Kristen Foxen cashed in 8th place for $32,400, Brock Wilson also won $32,400 when he was dominated to defeat in seventh place, out at the hands of the dominant Madanzhiev. Jesse Lonis and Jeremy Ausmus were unable to make the final four after lasting until the final day and at that stage, Madanzhiev had as many chips as all three of his three opponents combined.
As the Bulgarian sat waiting for the heads-up denouement, the others scrapped for some chips with which to take on the chip leader. Chino Rheem missed out when he lost with ace-ten to Cary Katz’ ace-queen and soon, Aram Zobian had departed in third. He shoved with pocket fives but Madanzhiev snap-called with pocket jacks and they held to send play into the final duel.
Katz started behind his opponent, but a crucial pot came when his middle pair was allowed maximum value by Madanzhiev’s bottom pair. Having seized the lead late, Katz won ruthlessly, all-in with king-jack against the Bulgarian’s king-five, with a board of J-T-2-8-Q sealing victory for Katz, as he modestly held aloft the PokerGO Cup trophy and took home $226,800.
After the first half of the 2024 PokerGO Cup series has completed, here are all the scores in the Top 10 standings.
Who’ll win the PokerGO Cup? You’ll find out first right here on Tight Poker!
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