It may only be through the first two events, but the 2023 PGT Mixed Games II tournament series is already bringing surprises to the fore. In Event #1, David Funkhouser was able to top some bigger “name” players as he came from the middle of the pack for the win on Friday. Today, in Event #2, it was the continued renaissance of David ‘Chino’ Rheem who outlasted the field on his way to another monumental 2023 win.
David Funkhouser Stuns the Event #2 Runners in Victory
Event #1, the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament on the PGT Mixed Games II schedule, saw a stacked final table squaring off for the lion’s share of the $760,000 prize pool. Leading the way when the players came to the table on Friday was Paul Volpe, who was sitting on a comfortable stack of 2.95 million in chips. The closest player to him was Eli Elezra with 2.14 million in chips, while Funkhouser was lurking in the middle of the pack with his 1.9 million stack.
Another player, Anthony Zinno, was the story of the early action, however. On a shorter stack with only 945,000 in chips, he would cut a chunk out of Elezra in Razz before seizing some more chips out of Dylan Weisman. Rheem also decided to get in on this action by eliminating Dylan Linde in seventh place in Stud Hi/Lo as that duo looked to challenge Volpe for dominance.
Volpe, however, parried his attackers well. In a Razz hand, Volpe picked up a sizeable chunk of Rheem’s chips, to the point that Rheem needed a triple up through Zinno and Elezra to stay viable. That triple served well for Rheem to knock off Zinno in fifth place, but it wasn’t good enough to stop Volpe from taking Rheem down in Razz in fourth place.
It was a hand of Stud Hi/Lo that saw the fates of the tournament decided. Showing a King, Funkhouser brought in and saw Volpe complete the full bet before Elezra moved his final 500K into the center. Funkhouser called that bet and another raise from Volpe and Fourth Street was dealt. Funkhouser and Volpe kept firing bets as the streets rolled down until the cards were finished and shown:
Elezra: (4-3) 3-9-8-8 (6)
Volpe: (K-K) A-10-J-J (7)
Funkhouser: (K-6) K-4-Q-Q (5)
The gated King for Funkhouser found a better two pair than Volpe’s two pair as over five million chips switched over. Elezra, for his part, didn’t muster enough to challenge the two and was out in third place.
Funkhouser, now holding more than a 2:1 lead over Volpe, took little time to finish the deal. In Texas Hold’em, the chips went all in after a K-2-4-Q flop and turn, with Volpe needing a miracle to stay alive:
Needing a river Ace to make a better pair or a Jack to make a straight, Volpe instead saw a nine come on the river, ending his run at the first title of the Mixed Games II schedule and earning the win for Funkhouser.
1. David Funkhouser, $187,200
2. Paul Volpe, $136,800
3. Eli Elezra, $93,600
4. David ‘Chino’ Rheem, $72,000
5. Anthony Zinno, $57,600
6. Dylan Weisman, $43,200
7. Dylan Linde, $36,000
Warmed Up Rheem Takes Event #2 Title
Rheem didn’t celebrate his performance in Event #1 for long. He turned almost immediately to Event #2, the $10,000 Big Bet Mix tournament. Rheem not only outlasted 51 entries in the tournament, but he came to the final table of Event #2 only 160K in chips behind chip leader Stephen Chidwick (2.53 million). There were other challenges at the table, including Poker Hall of Famer John ‘World’ Hennigan, Adam Friedman, Ben Yu, and Argentina’s Andres Korn.
With such games as Deuce to Seven Lowball Triple Draw and Pot Limit Big O making their first appearance on the PokerGO Studio stage, Event #2 proved to be a glowing example of skillful poker. It also served as a display of power poker from Rheem, who took the lead in the first ninety minutes of play and would never look back.
Rheem would take down Friedman (sixth), Yu (fifth), and Chidwick (third), but Korn would use the knockout of the Poker Hall of Famer to take a slim lead to open heads-up play. Within two hands of Texas Hold’em, however, Rheem had seized the lead from Korn and would bust the Argentinian playing Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, flopping a straight against Korn’s set of nines. Neither player would improve by the river, leading to no low hand and Rheem’s straight picking him up the championship of Event #2 of the PGT Mixed Games II.
1. David ‘Chino’ Rheem, $171,000
2. Andres Korn, $114,000
3. Stephen Chidwick, $79,800
4. John Hennigan, $57,000
5. Ben Yu, $45,600
6. Adam Friedman, $34,200
Event #3 of the PGT Mixed Games II schedule is the $5000 Ten-Game Mini-Championship and if the $25,000 Championship Event is as good as this, it is going to be a barnburner. 72 entries are in the books for the Mini-Championship and Rheem is in the field for this tournament also, alongside Max Pescatori, Jeremy Ausmus, and Elezra, among others. It is leading to another excellent final table as poker’s best test their skills against…poker’s best…in what is the ultimate test of poker fitness!
(Photo courtesy of PokerGO.com)