Image courtesy of PokerGO.com
Latvia’s Aleksejs Ponakovs defeated Phil Ivey heads-up to win the $100k High Roller title, scooping the $1,897,363 top prize and his second WSOP gold bracelet, while more than doubling his lifetime live poker earnings in the process.
There were 62 entries to what was planned as a 3-day event, the $5,998,500 prizepool paying out the top 10 finishers, and as expected it was a who’s who of highstakes poker’s “finest” who took to the felt.
Day two dawned and Justin Bonomo made a brief appearance, while Jason Koon, among the overnight chip leaders, made his exit at the hands of Phil Ivey...
Jason Koon: A♠ 10♠
Phil Ivey: Q♠ Q♦
Gregory Jensen: A♥ K♥
Flop: 9♦ 5♥ 2♦
It was 2021 WSOP Main Event champ, Koray Aldemir, who bubbled the money, getting his final 2 bigs in with 7♣ 6♣ and seeing a pair in the window, but Ponakovs rivered a pair of aces to send Aldemir off penniless.
The money was already getting serious when Belarus’ crusher Mikita Badziakouski fell in 7th spot for just over $¼million, while Talal “raidalot” Shakerchi’s departure in 6th was a brutal tale of aces cracked by quads...
Talal Shakerchi: A♣ A♦
Aleksejs Ponakovs: K♠ K♣
Flop: K♥ 4♦ 2♣
Michael Moncek was living the dream, having bagged a bracelet earlier in the series and now final tabling against the game’s elite, and he’d have to be happy with his 5th spot and lifetime best score of $420,944.
Hedge fund manager Gregory Jensen was another who was playing in exalted poker company and his well-deserved 4th spot and $571,896 comprises the vast majority of his Hendon Mob listing.
England’s Ben Heath had to settle for third after his last 10 BBs went in and Ivey turned a pair of queens, leaving the legend heads-up and looking for his 11th WSOP gold bracelet.
It wasn’t to be, however, as the final hand played out, Ivey 3-betting...
Phil Ivey: 8♦ 6♠
Aleksejs Ponakovs: A♦ 9♠
...and the flop coming...
Flop: J♥ 7♠ 3♥
Check, check, took us to the turn...
...pairing Ponakovs’ nine and giving Ivey the up and down straight, the latter raising all-in and eventually seeing a call...
...and that’s all she wrote, Ponakovs victorious and Ivey having to wait for bracelet number 11.
Ponakovs said afterwards: “I’m really pleased to finally get the bracelet. There is for sure some good stuff happening right now in my head. I will realize later ...I am getting better and better in life. I am coming for more events.”