The World Poker Tour returns to sea: Aram Oganyan wins the WPT Voyage Championship

The World Poker Tour returned to its roots over two decades ago this week and returned to the high seas. The WPT Voyage Championship took place aboard Virgin Voyages Brave lady, ended its game on Thursday after 293 participants were whittled down to the final nine. In the end, it was Aram Oganyan who was able to fend off the attackers and take the title from this event.

Farid Jattin leads the open action

The WPT ventured onto the high seas aboard the Brave lady, Experience the “old days” when the racetrack traveled across the oceans. In WPT’s first year, the organization partnered with PartyPoker when that online poker room took its PartyPoker Million aboard a cruise ship to the Caribbean. Howard Lederer won this first tournament in 2003, Erick Lindgren won in 2004 and Michael Gracz took top honors in 2005. Since 2005, however, the WPT has never been on the high seas again – until 2024.

Nine players came together on Thursday to determine the “Captain of the Seas” for the WPT Voyage Championship. They fought for a top prize of $285,800 and a seat for the 2024 WPT World Championship in December. Farid Jattin (3.65 million chips) enjoyed his time on the Brave lady, with a narrow chip lead over Austin Srur (3.41 million). Everyone else, including Dan Sepiol and Oganyan (in third place with 1.46 million chips each), were pretty far behind, but were willing to try anything to climb the leaderboard.

This “shot” ended quickly for one fighter. Marcelo Giordano sat out his short stack (655,000) and Sepiol decided to look him up. As soon as the cards were turned over, the classic race began. Sepiol’s A♠ K♠ struggled against Giordano’s pocket tens and the QQ-9 flop didn’t help Sepiol. However, there was a spade that, along with the 4♠ on the turn, offered nut flush outs for Sepiol. The second part of this runner-runner came on the 9♠ river, giving Sepiol the flush and eliminating Giordano in ninth place.

Sepiol continued to overrun the short stacks on the table in the early stages. On hand 23 he defeated Iman Dan in eighth place after Sepiol (A-7 out of suit) called Dan’s all-in (pocket fours) and caught a four-flush in diamonds to beat Dan’s pair. After Kasey Mills, the last woman left for the tournament, was knocked out by a cooler and Carlo Basurto woke up with pocket kings against Mills’ pocket fives, the official WPT six-handed final table was set in seventh place.

Oganyan comes to life

At the start of the six-man WPT Voyage Championship celebrations, Jattin was still in the captain’s chair, but Oganyan was ready to begin his rise. On hand No. 10 of the WPT final table, he got the double he needed from Romulo Dorea to get into contention, but Jattin took the lead a little stronger, beating Dorea in sixth place and Sepiol in fifth to take the Celebrations dominated more than eight million chips.

Jattin couldn’t reach that peak and it wasn’t for lack of effort. Jattin tried to play “table sheriff” but failed to take out Oganyan, then Basurto, then Srur. This brought Jattin back into the field somewhat and when Oganyan found a double-up through Basurto as his pocket aces remained strong, there was a new challenger for the championship.

The news got even worse for Jattin (AJ) when he doubled Basurto (QJ) after Basurto caught an all-in situation with queen high. That dropped Jattin to 2.2 million and his dreams of a WPT title would disappear after the dinner break. Returning first hand, Jattin went to war against Basurto and suffered a severe blow:

Jattin: Pocket Aces
Basurto: K♠ Q♠

Jattin looked confident of hitting a double but his dreams were dashed when the KK-6 flop shattered Basurto’s hand. Jattin went from being a 70/30 favorite to a 90/10 dog and needed one of the two remaining aces in the deck to save him. Neither rocket took off, however, as the seven on the turn and the trey on the river kept Basurto in the lead and sent Jattin into fourth place.

With only three players, Basurto (5.975 million) was ahead of Srur (4.575 million) and Oganyan (4.1 million). This brought discussions of a deal to the forefront and, according to ICM, the trio split the money and guaranteed players the following amounts:

Basurto: $202,885
Price: $188,670
Oganyan: $182,845

They left just over $31,000 in the court and accessories that come with the WPT victory, including the WPT World Championship seat and the Mike Sexton WPT Champions’ Cup plaque, the eventual winner.

After the money was divided, the players decided to end the tournament quickly to enjoy the last days at sea. On the very first hand after the deal, they went all-in, with Oganyan winning and tripling his stack, while both Srur and Basurto were beside themselves. On the next hand, Oganyan ended the tournament with a second three-way all-in, securing the WPT Voyage Championship, the extra money and the bonuses.

1. Aram Oganyan, $214,245*
2. Carlo Basurto, $202,885*
3. Austin Srur, $188,670*
4. Farid Jattin, $100,000
5. Dan Sepiol, $75,000
6. Romulo Dorea, $55,000

(* – reflects three-way final table deal)

Kasey Mills (seventh, $42,000), Iman Dan (eighth, $34,000) and Marcelo Giordano (ninth, $28,000) were not part of the “official” six-handed WPT final table, but were part of the celebrations at the final one Day.

Next up for the WPT is a trip to Hollywood, Florida WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. The Meet Up Game (MUG) takes place on April 18th, with the $3000 Main Event starting on April 19th. This tournament is traditionally a wild tournament, as with its multiple Day Ones and unlimited re-entries, it is one of the largest prize pools in WPT history has been built. It’s just the beginning of the “spring swing” for the WPT that will sweep across the United States and the world over the next few months.

(Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour)

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