The event was once again held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada attracting both poker’s elite and amateurs from around the world who came to battle it out for their chance to enter the WPT Champion’s Club.
After five long days of play, the televised final table was set to get underway.
The Final Table
Seat 1: Mike Del Vecchio (4,970,000)
Seat 2: Sean Perry (7,650,000)
Seat 3: Ryan Tosoc (5,105,000)
Seat 4: Ajay Chabra (3,065,000)
Seat 5: Richard Kirsch (2,620,000)
Seat 6: Alex Foxen (955,000)
The first to leave the bright lights was Richard Kirsch, who made a WPT final table back in Season VI. His fate was sealed when his pocket tens were looked up by Mike Del Vecchio‘s pocket queens.
The next elimination came when Ajay Chabra failed to turn his flush draw into the real thing against the ace-high of Sean Perry, the start of day chip leader. But the momentum didn’t last when Perry found himself busting in fourth-place.
It was the only WPT Champions Club member at the final table, Del Vecchio who would leave in third place when he his king-jack failed to improve against Tosoc’s ace-queen.
That left Tosoc and Alex Foxen both having the experience to pull off a win. But this day seemed to have Tosoc’s name written all over it.
On the final hand of the day, Tosoc went to the flop with queen-ten and was well behind Foxen’s ace-ten. It was Tosco who found a straight on the turn and was lucky enough to avoid a queen on the river which would have made Foxen a bigger straight.
Foxen’s $1,134,202 second-place prize is more than double his career earnings to date. No doubt he will look back at 2017 as the year he made his mark in the poker world.
As for Tosoc, he just tried to stay focused and not let the enormity of the situation get the better of him.
“Last year I wasn’t very nervous. I had some nervousness last year, but this year, going back-to-back I mean there’s no nervousness whatsoever.”
The Final Table Results
1st Place: Ryan Tosoc for $1,958,065
2nd Place: Alex Foxen $1,134,202
3rd Place: Mike Del Vecchio $752,196
4th Place: Sean Perry $504,090
5th Place: Ajay Chabra for $350,500
6th Place: Richard Kirsch for $271,736
Early Tournament Highlights
Here are some of the highlights leading up to the final table.
On Day 1, the most prominent story might have been the long lines. The day ended with the tournament clock registering 600 entries and alternates still waiting for a seat. About 550 of those 600 players advanced to Day 2 including chip leader Brandon Meyers (152,700), Gregory Back (130,400), Eric Baldwin (114,700), and Ray Pulford (109,000).
You could also find WPT Commentator, Tony Dunst, and last season’s champion James Romero both taking just over starting stacks into the next day.
The second day of play started with an alternate list of about 85 people, ensuring another record-setting event for the WPT when registration closed later in the day. And sure enough, they did hit that record when the final tally came in at 812 players.
A healthy prize pool of $7.876 million was announced with both first and second places earning over a $1 million.
As Meyers bagged the chip lead for the second day in a row, he spoke to the WPT about what it takes to stay focused.
“Having patience and realizing its a long tournament. You can’t win it on the first, second, or even third day. Try to take advantage of the good situations that arise.”
There are 320 players and plenty of big names that earned a ticket to Day 3 and joining Meyers as the tournament continues to whittle the field towards a champion.
All eyes were on the remaining three-time WPT champs, Gus Hansen (118,700), Darren Elias (214,700), and Chino Rheem, who holds just over a starting stack. Other former WPT champions that made it through to Day 3 include Daniel Strelitz (310,900), Anthony Gregg (225,600), Taylor Paur (166,000), Mike Del Vecchio (155,100) and Kevin Eyster (136,700).
Meyers reign as chip leader came to an end when Blake Bohn made a surge towards to the top of the leaderboard late in Day 3 when his ace-king held against Rainer Kempe‘s ace-queen. As a result, Kempe was eliminated, and Bohn had some playing chips.
Bohn has found himself in the money seven times in past WPT events and even made a final table at the Season XIII WPT Borgata Poker Open, but has yet to claim a title.
There was still plenty of competition from WPT Champions Club members standing between Bohn and his first win including Matt Giannetti (549,000), Jared Jaffee (422,500), Tony Gregg (403,500) and WPT Player of the Year, Benjamin Zamani (132,000).
The day ended with 90 players, only 81 of which would make the money.
Day 4 began with a quest to cash. Nine players would need to take their leave before the remaining players would earn a paycheck.
It took 19 hands of hand-for-hand play for the bubble to burst when Steffen Sontheimer and Ben Zamani were all in.
Zamani held ace-king and dominated Sontheimer’s king-queen. But it was Sontheimer who found a pair when his queen hit the flop sending Zamani home empty-handed in 82nd place.
At the end of the day, it was Ajay Chabra, with only two live cashes for a total of $39,000 to his name, who topped the leaderboard. But all eyes were on Ryan Tosoc as the idea of a back-to-back final table began to seem like a real possibility with only 18 players left.
As you would expect, Day 5 was action-packed as the final 18 attempted to work their way to a seat at the final table representing the largest field in WPT history.
It only took a little over six hours of play for the final table to be solidified.
And of course, sitting right there second in chips was last year’s second-place finisher, Ryan Tosoc.
Tosoc has a special place in his heart for Bellagio, saying, “I just run good here. I feel so confident playing here. It doesn’t matter what I have in the hand; I just feel really locked in here.”
And of course, you know by now that Tosoc pulled off an almost unimaginable feat by besting last year’s result with a win.
Tosoc said, “It feels unreal. It kind of feels like I’m in a dream right now.”
Lucky for Tosoc the dream is real, and this win puts his live career earnings at $3,481,973. Now, that’s something to dream about.
Lead photo courtesy of WPT Flickr page.