The World Poker Tour held its penultimate stop of the 2023 tournament poker season last night, the final table of the 2023 WPT Seminole Rock n’ Roll Poker Open Main Event in Hollywood, FL. In over 100 hands, Istvan Briski emerged victorious over Rayan Chamas to win his first major championship. By winning this title, Briski also secures a path to the 2023 WPT World Championship by taking on some of the best players in poker at Wynn Las Vegas in a few weeks.
Helps to start guiding
To be honest, Briski initially had a lead over his other five competitors. Entering Wednesday’s final table, he was the chip leader with a stack of 23.975 million chips. His closest competitor was Sandy Sanchez, who had a whopping 15.05 million. Fred Goldberg (13.325 million) and Chamas (11 million) would also be strong opponents, while WPT champion Darryll Fish (4.625 million) and Matt Bond (4.35 million) had to make early moves to influence the outcome.
Right off the bat, Bond did just that. On a 10-8-3 flop, he bet his stack with only Big Slick, but it was enough to trump Briski’s Big Chick as Bond doubled his chips up to nine million . Chamas also bit off part of Briski’s stack when he worshiped a jack on hand #3. Suddenly Briski was back in the pack and the fight began.
The six men fought for position for more than thirty hands before Briski prevailed again. After Fish moved all-in from the small blind, Briski took a quick look at his cards and immediately called. Briski’s pocket kings far exceeded Fish’s Q-7 and a king on the flop gave Briski a set. Fish, who had paired his seven on the flop, would make a pair on the turn with the queen, but that would have been the big help as he left the table in sixth place.
…But nothing comes without adversity
However, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Briski. After Goldberg defeated Bond in fifth place, Briski made a few missteps and fell to just nine million chips. However, Briski recovered and doubled through Chamas with pocket aces against Chamas’ QJ on a seven-high board. From then on, Briski was unstoppable.
Goldberg was first to start, Briski used pocket jacks against Goldberg’s A-2 to push Goldberg into fourth place. Chamas would take the lead heads-up after eliminating Sanchez in third place, but Briski secured a huge pot that would change the course of the tournament.
After a raise from Chamas, Briski three-betted to 5.7 million and Chamas called to see an A-10-J flop. Both men checked their options for a second jack on the turn, which gave Briski a bet and a call from Chamas. A five on the river made Briski move all in, and Chamas made the call after some deliberation. Chamas showed an A-5 for two pair, but Briski held J-4 for trip jacks to win the hand. Meanwhile over 5:1 ahead, Briski made quick work of Chamas. In the final hand, Chamas was the aggressor with an all-in move and a call from Briski. Chamas was in tough shape with his steal attempt at 10-8, while Briski held the pre-flop advantage with his Q-4. A 2-7-A flop and a king on the turn put Briski in the lead. As soon as a five came on the river, the hand and the championship of the WPT Seminole Rock n’ Roll Poker Open went to Briski.
1. Istvan Briski, $647,300
2. Rayan Chamas, $600,000
3. Sandy Sanchez, $366,500
4. Fred Goldberg, $274,000
5. Matt Bond, $206,900
6. Darryll Fish, $157,800
Following the conclusion of the WPT Seminole Rock n’ Roll Poker Open, the WPT caravan will cross the United States to travel to Wynn Las Vegas for the World Championship. If you’ve been hiding lately, you may have missed that there is a $40 million guarantee in this tournament, which will feature all champions of the 2023 WPT season. Briski will join this group and look to not only make a name for himself in the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup (for the second time), but also win the WPT World Championship.
(Photo courtesy of WPT)