Mark Davis and Chance Kornuth won the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and WPT Choctaw, respectively, to each claim their first victory of the Tour. [Image: World Poker Tour via Flickr]
Made for TV
The World Series of Poker (WPT) has concluded this week, both featuring late final tables for tournaments that began earlier this spring. And both tournaments – the 2022 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Championship (SHRPS) and the 2022 WPT Choctaw – also featured first-time WPT champions: Mark Davis and Chance Kornuth.
Filmed for TV at HyperX Esports Arena in Luxor, Las Vegas
The end tables were played on stage and filmed for television at the HyperX Esports Arena in Luxor in Las Vegas. The final table for SHRPS has been set since mid-April, while the final table for WPT Choctaw was set only about a week and a half ago.
In 2018, a year after the World Series of Poker abandoned the “November 9th” concept, WPT announced that it would delay the final tables for televised events, beginning in 2019. It moved them to the HyperX Esports Arena, to be filmed on consecutive days.
Although the postponed WSOP main event final table never turned out the way tournament organizers had hoped, the idea behind the idea of the World Series of Poker seems to be twofold: a) it saves money, as TV stages don’t have to be Several casinos were set up and down, and b) the owner of WPT at the time, Allied Esports Entertainment, owned HyperX Esports Arena and likely wanted to turn it into a major poker venue.
Mark Davis beats WPT’s best player
Mark Davis canceled the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Wednesday night, taking in just over $1 million, tripling his all-time live tournament earnings. The bulk of his remaining gain came from winning the $334,678 at the WSOP Circuit Circuit Cherokee Main Event in February.
In addition to being Davis’ first World Series of Poker title, it was also an unforgettable win for whoever he faced. Davis defeated Darren Elias, who was trying to increase his record for the most number of tournaments in WPT history. He is the only player to have four titles to his name; Six players three tournaments. This was Elias’ eleventh appearance at the final table at the WPT, but it was his first runner-up.
“He’s an exceptional player – the best player I’ve ever played against.”
“I want to explain to you what Darren’s role is,” Davis told WPT.com afterwards. “He is an exceptional player – the best player I have ever played against. It took me running well to be able to beat him, because all the trophies say about him is what he is.”
Elias looked like he was in the driver’s seat early in the final table, holding more than half the chips with five players left. Coming into head-to-head, he had a nearly 2-to-1 advantage in Davis. He grew it more and topped most head-to-head matches, but Davis persevered, took the lead, and never looked back.
“That’s huge,” Davis said. “That’s as big as you can get out of two other tournaments [in the world]. “
Chance Kornuth had nine lives
On Thursday, it’s time for the final schedule for the WPT Choctaw main event. On the ropes again and again, Chance Kornuth – arguably one of the best players not named in the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup – has finally earned his first World Series of Poker title.
Cornoth earned nearly half a million dollars, which brought his lifetime earnings on live tournaments to over $10 million.
Singles play against Steve Buckner started with a roughly 3-to-1 advantage. But this is poker, and it’s unusual for a bullet to hold up, even if it’s that big. Buckner pulled a tie and then the two swapped the lead six times before Kornuth grew to 3 to 1 again. Buckner then got aggressive, doubling through Kornuth and then outselling him on a huge pot leaving Kornuth with only five big blinds.
Kornuth doubled down and then fell onto a small pile again and this time, it looked over when everything was with Q♦-9♦ Against Buckner’s Q ♣ -T♥. The poker gods were on Kornuth’s side, though he hit a runner’s bat to stay alive. He later regained the lead in chips only to get Buckner twice and get it back again. Kornuth returned the favour, leaving Buckner very short, and then with two hands, it was all over.
On his way to the tournament, Kornuth eliminated Randy Gordon, the beloved poker dealer who won a seat in the tournament. Gordon is battling cancer and will have to quit his job in October to start treatment. Cornot gave Gordon 1% free on his actions after he was fired and a few days ago a “very generous person” capped an additional 4%.