The 2018 Poker Masters schedule has completed after a week of intense High Roller poker action. In the Main Event, David Peters was able to emerge as the champion after some changes had to be made to the proceedings, while the overall champion was determined early on in a battle of five men for the Purple Jacket.
David Peters Wins Main Event After “Adjustments” Made
The $100,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event was the final tournament of the Poker Masters but, for some reason, it had difficulties in bringing enough players out to take part. After the preliminary events on the schedule pulled in between 40 and 60 players (with buy ins between $10,000 and $50,000), only 15 players came out for the start of the tournament on Thursday. Once six of those players were knocked out, it became evident to Poker Masters officials that they had to do something to “protect the integrity of the tournament (the words of the officials).”
The original plan of action for the Poker Masters Main Event was for unlimited rebuys and late registration to last through the first ten levels of the tournament starting on Thursday. Because they suddenly found themselves with only nine players remaining after only half of those levels, Poker Masters officials made the decision (after consulting with the players) that they would adjust the criteria of the Main Event by stopping the tournament and bringing back the players on Friday.
As Friday’s action began, the players were given one last chance to enter the tournament or rebuy into the event (and ten players did) before the tournament was closed and became a traditional freezeout tournament. The total of 25 entries was the lowest of the events on the Poker Masters schedule, but the $2.5 million prize pool was something worth fighting over. Instead of the final table being paid out, however, only the last four players left standing would earn a check, with the eventual champion taking $1.15 million.
Action from Friday saw the field winnowed down to the last four men standing. David Peters (2.203 million) held a slight lead over Dan Smith (2.03 million) while Koray Aldemir (541,000) and Bryn Kenney (227,000) pulled up the rear. As the cameras rolled in the PokerGO studios in Las Vegas, the quartet would battle for over 70 hands before the first casualty of those in the money would come.
On Hand 72, Kenney would shove his meager stack to the center and, in the small blind, Aldemir called with barely more than Kenney. It turned out to the be the right move; Aldemir’s Q-J out-pipped Kenney’s Q-10 and, after the board ran out with no help for Kenney, he was gone in fourth place. Aldemir couldn’t really celebrate, however, as he was still at a significant disadvantage to the monstrous stacks of Peters and Smith. Although it would take more than 100 hands of play, Aldemir would eventually succumb to the big stacks at the table to take the third-place prize.
When heads up play began, Smith (2.57 million) barely held the lead over Peters (2.43 million. Another adjustment was made to the tournament as Smith and Peters agreed to play 15-minute levels forward and Peters was the one who fortune smiled upon. Within four hands of the beginning of heads up action, Peters had taken nearly a 2:1 lead. It would be the beginning of the end as Peters grinded Smith down over the next 20 hands before the men would get their chips to the center.
On the final hand, Peters put the pressure on with an all-in and Smith almost immediately made the call. Once the cards were tabled, Peters was on the tough end of the stick as his K-7 off suit was behind Smith’s A♦ 7♦. A no-diamond 3-4-10 flop kept Smith in the lead, but the King on the turn shifted the fortunes. Looking for an Ace on the river, Smith instead saw a six as his chips and the championship was sent over to Peters.
1. David Peters, $1,150,000
2. Dan Smith, $700,000
3. Koray Aldemir, $400,000
4. Bryn Kenney, $250,000
Ali Imsirovic Takes Home the Purple Jacket
It was a rather anti-climactic experience when it came to the battle for the overall championship of the 2018 Poker Masters. Only five men – Ali Imsirovic (660 points), Brandon Adams (510), Isaac Haxton (480), Jake Schindler (390) and Benjamin Yu (360) – had a shot at winning the Purple Jacket, but the changes in the Main Event also brought changes to the race for the overall championship. With only four places earning points towards determining the champion, those five men were cut to only the top three of Imsirovic, Adams and Haxton.
Haxton was the first eliminated from the “Chase for the Purple Jacket” as he fell at the hands of Kenney, Haxton’s rivered two pair not good enough against Kenney’s flopped set of tens. A bit of drama emerged when Imsirovic was eliminated in 13th place by Stephen Chidwick, but Adams couldn’t nurse his stack to the third place or better finish that he needed to take the championship from Imsirovic. Adams would eventually depart in seventh place, at which point the overall championship went to Imsirovic.
1. Ali Imsirovic, 660 points
2. David Peters, 550
3. Brandon Adams, 510
4. Isaac Haxton, 480
5. Jake Schindler, 390
6. Koray Aldemir, 385
7. Benjamin Yu, 360
8. Keith Lehr, 300
9. Jonathan Depa, 270
10. Jason Koon, 240
With that, the 2018 Poker Masters is in the books. Replays can be found on PokerGO and the edited broadcasts should show up on NBC Sports Channel at some point before the end of the year.