It’s been a busy weekend around the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas. The 2023 Poker Masters has been playing through this last weekend of September, crowning three champions in the race for their Purple Jacket. That battle will certainly come down to the last event of the series, a $50,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event, that will determine who wins the overall player of the series.
Kisacikoglu, Schulman, and Chidwick Dominate in Winning Tournaments
Thursday night, it was the final $10,000 tournament on the ten-tourney slate for the 2023 Poker Masters, and Orpen Kisacikoglu made it his playground. He came to the final table as the chip leader of the 95-entry tournament and he was more than happy to watch as the carnage unfolded around him. The biggest moment for Kisacikoglu was in taking down 2023 Poker Masters event winner David ‘Chino’ Rheem to solidify his lead. In the end, it was Kisacikoglu entering heads-up play in a dominant position over Jack Hardcastle and sealing the deal from there.
On Friday night, Nick Schulman was the player who made the most out of his first cash of the 2023 Poker Masters. It was the first $25,000 event of the schedule, so naturally there were fewer entries (44) than in the $10K tournaments. Still, there was some excellent play at the tables, with Victoria Livschitz and Chris Brewer picking up their second and fourth cashes, respectively. Schulman started the heads-up battle with Nick Petrangelo slightly behind, but he would seize the edge on the first hand of heads-up play and never look back.
Saturday evening saw the finale of Event #8, which could have been titled “The Stephen Chidwick Show.” Chidwick entered the final table not only with the chip lead, but also holding more than 60% of the chips on the table from the 50-entry field. Chidwick did what you would expect in that position – push out massive raises every hand – and would take out four of the five competitors he faced. Alex Foxen was the only other player to eliminate an opponent on the final table, but he could not withstand the assault of the British pro as Chidwick banked $400,000 for his efforts.
Some Things Stay the Same…Like the Overall Leader
Even though there have been bigger dollar tournaments completed, the man who dominated the early action is still in the overall lead. Vladas Tamasauskas, who won Events #1 and #3 and made the final table of Event #2, is still far away the leader in the race for the Purple Jacket. Rheem has made the biggest moves on the Poker Masters standings, but he is still quite a distance behind the Lithuanian. Chidwick certainly has a strong position after his win, landing in the fifth slot and with a big cash to work in his favor for a tiebreaker.
Here are the standings as we enter the final two events of the 2023 Poker Masters:
1. Vladas Tamasauskas, 506 points
2. David ‘Chino’ Rheem, 358
3. Ren Lin, 325
4. Darren Elias, 319
5. Stephen Chidwick, 297
6. Chris Brewer, 268
7. Andrew Lichtenberger, 266
8. Alex Foxen, 258
9. Nick Schulman, 224
10. Orpen Kisacikoglu, 219
Tamasauskas cannot get complacent even though he has a solid lead. Four members of the Event #9 ($25,000 No Limit Hold’em) final table – Kisacikoglu, Chidwick, Lichtenberger, and Rheem – are in the Top Ten of the overall race, with a win casting either final table chip leader Justin Bonomo or its short stack, Daniel Rezaei, near the Top Ten. Then there’s still the $50,000 Main Event to contend with, which will start on Monday and have its final table action on Tuesday. It will serve as a thrilling conclusion to the 2023 Poker Masters as it will come down to the wire as to who takes the Purple Jacket.