Penultimate victory

One slot in the 2020 World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event heads-up match has been determined. On Tuesday, Damian Salas won the final table of the Main Event’s International Bracket, outlasting seven other players at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. For his efforts, Salas pocketed $1,550,969.

Salas is not quite done yet. The next step is to fly to Las Vegas to square off with the winner of the U.S. Bracket on December 30 at the Rio. His opponent will be determined on two days prior, when the final nine compete for the right to join Salas. The player that emerges victorious from the heads-up competition will be named the official 2020 WSOP Main Event champ and win an additional $1 million.

Salas, from Argentina, is not exactly a household name in poker, but perhaps he should be. He already has experience at WSOP Main Event final tables, having previously finished seventh in the Main Event in 2017. He also made three final tables in the 2020 World Series of Poker Online over on GGPoker, including two runner-up finishes.

One player opted-out

To quickly review, the International Bracket began online at GGPoker with three starting flights and a total field of 674 players for the $10,000 freezeout tournament. Once the field was narrowed to nine players, the tournament was paused for about a week so that the players could travel to King’s Casino for the live final table.

One player, China’s Peiyuan Sun, opted not to compete live in Rozvadov. His reasons were not made public, but it was likely because he did not want to take any health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sun was eighth in chips and though fifth through ninth place were bunched within about 1.5 million chips of each other, it is not often that someone rises from second-to-last to one of the top paydays, so it probably was not a bad decision, especially considering the pandemic. Sun automatically received ninth place money.

“Not the best poker player”

Though Salas has been on a heck of a run the last few years, he is quite humble about his poker skills, saying in an interview after his triumph that he is “not the best poker player.” He gave credit for his improvement to the opportunity to play against great players on some of poker’s biggest stages.

He is also not a poker pro, as good as he is. Salas is a lawyer by trade and intends to keep it that way, enjoying poker as a side pursuit.

“I don’t want to spend all my energy playing poker,” he said. “I like to take my time to also do other things and not just poker.”

Well, he has two weeks to do some other things and build up some more energy, because he has one more player he needs to eliminate to complete the final table journey he started in 2017.

2020 World Series of Poker Main Event International Bracket – Final Table Results

  1. Damian Salas – $1,550,969
  2. Brunno Botteon – $1,062,723
  3. Manuel Ruivo – $728,177
  4. Ramon Miquel Munoz – $498,947
  5. Marco Streda – $341,879
  6. Dominykas Mikolaitis – $234,255
  7. Stoyan Obreshkov – $160,512
  8. Hannes Speiser – $109,982

*Peiyuan Sun qualified for the final table, but did not compete, so he received ninth place money ($75,360)

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