The XVI WPT Tournament of Champions hosted at the ARIA in Las Vegas saw 80 former WPT Main Tour Main Event champions battling it out for the title. The 3-day event saw Dennis Blieden leading the final 20 survivors on Day 1. Then, it was Darren Elias, who led the final 5 survivors on Day 2. While Elias who won WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic a few days back was a favourite to win, it was Matthew Waxman who outlasted the elite field and won the WPT Tournament of Champions.
The final day action began with 5 finalists returning to battle it out for the top prize of $463,375. The eventual winner Waxman began the day 3rd in chips, while Cimbolas was 2nd in chips. The chip lead Darren Elias started off well and busted Nick Schulman, the first player to leave the final table. After Schulman, it was David Benyamine who went out in the 4th place for $123,045. Elias maintained his momentum going for a while but lost his chip lead to Waxman. Eventually, he was eliminated in the 3rd place and thus he missed the chance to win a back-to-back title.
Waxman entered the heads-up play with 2:1 advantage over Cimbolas. The first half of the dual saw chips swinging back and forth and both players fighting it out hard for the title. Then came the last hand where the eventual champion check-called the three streets with Qc-7d and Cimbolas moved all in on the river, bluffing with 10h-3s. On the board having Kd–2h–Qs–4s–8h, Waxman claimed the coveted title for $463,375. Cimbolas eventually ended up as runner-up for an impressive $265,590.
“I had a lot of fun playing with these guys and I was thinking about not even playing, just because it’s a big buy-in and I wasn’t too confident with my game, but I just jumped in there, and I’ve been feeling pretty good lately. Even though there are only 80 players, the atmosphere, you can just feel the tension so it’s a real treat to play. To be able to win this thing is amazing,” said Waxman about his win.
Final Table Payouts
Matt Waxman – $463,375
Matas Cimbolas – $265,590
Darren Elias – $177,060
David Benyamine – $123,045
Nick Schulman – $89,290
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