The Five Diamond World Poker Classic celebrated 20 years on the World Poker Tour last week from the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Chad Eveslage, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, came out on top for more than $1 million on Sunday night.
This marked the second WPT title for Eveslage, who now has more than $6.7 million in live tournament winnings. A massive hand developed late in heads-up play to help Eveslage land the win. All in with A♣9♥, his opponent Steve Buckner held pocket Queens.
Things looked grim until an Ace fell on the river, giving Eveslage (pictured in lead image) a massive chip lead. One hand later the tournament was over.
“(There are a) bunch of emotions, very tired, happy,” Eveslage said after the win. “Before I hit the ace on the river, I felt resigned to defeat, then it’s just like ‘oh, I win.’”
Winning big at Bellagio
That turn of events gave Eveslage one of the biggest titles on the WPT. The Five Diamond has been a marquee poker tournament since debuting on the WPT in 2002.
The event shifted to October this year from its more traditional December time slot. The WPT World Championship is now set for December at the Wynn, offering a $15 million guarantee. With his win, Eveslage also earned a seat in that event as well.
The $10,400 buy-in Five Diamond brought in a field of 569 players for a $5.5 million prize pool. Along with winning the championship, Eveslage also scored the player of the festival. That accomplishment earned him a seat into the $1,100 WPT Prime Championship as well.
The first tour win for Evelage came last year t the WPT Venetian. He added his name to the Mike Sexton Champions Cup and collected $910,370 in that event. Tour officials were pleased with the 20th event at the Bellagio.
“Thank you to the Bellagio for putting on another historic Five Diamond Poker Classic and to all the players that have made this event one of the most prestigious in poker over its 20-year history,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said. “And congratulations to Chad for becoming a two-time WPT champion.”
Runner-up finish moves Buckner to top in POY race
For his efforts, Buckner won $690,000 – marking his second runner-up finish on the tour. He also took second earlier this year at the WPT Choctaw for $320,000.
The nice scores also moved Buckner into the top spot in the 2022 WPT Player of the Year race, followed by Ray Qartomy in second. Eveslage sits in third after the win at the Bellagio. Here’s a look at the top six finishers.
WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic
- Chad Eveslage – $1,042,300
- Steve Buckner – $690,000
- Michael Gathy – $505,000
- Brian Kim – $377,000
- Albert Calderon – $283,000
- David Kim – $216,000
What’s next for the WPT?
Plenty of action remains on the tour through December. The WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open plays out at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida.
The festival begins Nov. 16 and concludes Nov. 30. The $3,500 main event features a $2 million guarantee and begins on Nov. 25 with two starting flights. Gediminas Uselis took the title last year for $778,490 in a tournament that saw 1,566 entries for a $5 million prize pool.
The $10,400 World Championship then follows at the Wynn from Dec. 12-18 to close out the tour’s 20th season. The tour recently announced several live and online poker qualifying opportunities for the tournament.