The 2022 World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Poker Open $3,500 buy-in NLH Main Event attracted an impressive 1,982 entries, the second-largest turnout in WPT main tour history. The huge turnout resulted in the $2 million guarantee being crushed, with the final prize pool reaching $6.3 million. After six days of intense play, the lion’s share of that prize pool went to Alexander Yen who championed the event to bank $975,240 and his first WPT main event title. This was the first major live tournament title for the 35-year-old Indiana native. Yen had made it to heads-up in two Mid-States Poker Tour events in 2014 and 2015, but ended up as the runner-up on both occasions.
“It feels absolutely incredible,” said Yen in an interview post his massive main event win. “I’ve never won a live tournament before. I don’t even think I’ve won online, so this is a pretty unreal feeling.”
“My friends make fun of me all the time, saying you must have chopped it with your opponent both times cause I played so bad,” Yen told WPT reporters about finally emerging victorious in a heads-up battle in a major event. “I had that monkey on my back and had to get it off, really prove myself.”
Yen entered the final day as a chip leader with six players remaining. On the 27th hand of the day, short stack Omar Lakhdari got all-in with K-Q racing against the pocket nines of two-time WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Lazrus. The pocket nines held up, eliminating Lakhdari in sixth place.
Josh Kay had become short stack and he finally called an all-in from Anton Wigg with Ac Jc. Wigg flopped trips with Kd Qh to secure the pot and bust Kay in fifth place. Following Kay was Nicholas Verderamo who three-bet shoved over Yen’s open raise with A-8. Yen made the call with pocket queens and held through a jack-high runout. Daniel Lazrus entered the three-handed play as a clear short stack. Despite a couple of double-up through Yen, he was ultimately eliminated when his pocket sixes failed to outrun Yen’s K-J offsuit. Yen flopped a pair of Jacks to take down the pot.
The heads-up for the title began with Yen holding 57.7 million against Anton Wigg’s 22.6 million. The latter was looking for his first WPT title, and got off to a very good start. Wigg earned a crucial double up and then battled his way into the chip lead briefly. However, Yen made a strong comeback and eventually took down the title. On the final hand, Yen limped with 9c 7c and Wigg raised to 2,000,000 with Qd Qc. Yen called and the flop opened 10d 8c 6c. Wigg bet 4,500,000 and Yen called. The 6d on the turn paired the board. Wigg went into the tank before finally going all-in. Yen called. The river 4d locked up the title for Yen and sent Wigg home with $650,180 for his runner-up finish.
Final Table Results (USD)
- Alexander Yen – $975,240
- Anton Wigg – $650,180
- Daniel Lazrus – $482,380
- Nicholas Verderamo – $361,130
- Josh Kay – $272,830
- Omar Lakhdari – $208,025