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Phil Ivey

This year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) Event #42: $100,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’Em tournament ended one day early. This was the result of Aleksejs Ponakovs of Latvia winning his second bracelet after a final table heads-up showdown against long-time poker fixture Phil Ivey in Las Vegas.

Ponakovs received the top prize of $1,897,363, the highest cash of his real money poker career, for his victory. Ivey, the poker legend with ten WSOP bracelets, pocketed $1,172,659.

The event had a prize pool of almost $6 million, which was shared among the top 10 finishers. Among the 23 players that made it to the final day was last year’s champion of the WSOP’s Main Event, Koray Aldemir, who finished just outside the money in eleventh place.

Quick Eliminations at Final Table

Action at the final table was one reason the tournament ended a day earlier than expected. Play began with two players immediately eliminated. Nick Petrangelo and Masashi Oya, who entered the day as the chip leader, were both stopped by Ken Heath on the same hand to finish in eighth and ninth place.

After hitting a flush on the river, Heath also eliminated the next player, Mikita Badziakouski. Ponakovs later hit quads to send home Talal Shakerchi, who finished in sixth place.

Heath continued steam-rolling over opponents by next eliminating Event #13: $1,500 Limit Hold’Em winner Michael Moncek, whose A-4 couldn’t stand up against his pocket tens, and then Gregory Jensen, who finished in fourth place. Finally, after taking out most of the table by himself, his Ad 8d went up against Ivey’s Qh Jh, with a queen on the turn giving Ivey the pot and Heath the third-place finish.

Heads-up play started with Ponakovs as the chip leader with 21,275,000 versus Ivey’s 15,925,000. The Poker Hall-of-Famer pulled ahead for a short time before Ponakovs came back to win.

Ivey entered the final hand holding 8d 6c against the Ad 9s of the eventual champion. Ponakovs paired his nines on the board, winning him the title and his second WSOP bracelet.

First Live WSOP Win for Ponakovs

Ponakovs was ecstatic in an interview after the win, saying, “I’m very pleased to finally get the bracelet. There are definitely some good things going on in my head right now. I will understand later (as it sinks in).”

This is his first live WSOP win, as he won his first bracelet online last November. Before starting his winning streak, his best finish was 33rd in the WSOP Main Event in 2013. Since then, Ponakovs has won more than $1.4 million in live earnings, with most of that coming in the Triton Poker Series Madrid last month.

For Ivey, this was his ninth final table in 2022, with two tournament wins and almost $4.5 million earned so far. He has now moved into eighth place in the Player of the Year standings and picked up 400 points on the PokerGo Tour to take over the third position on that tour’s points leaderboard.