He was one of four men who had a chance to take home the overall championship of the 2024 PokerGO Cup. He was also the least likely contenders, coming into the final table as one of the short stacks of six talented players. In the end, however, Jonathan Little emerged as the “last man standing” in Event #8, taking home the nearly half-million in prize money and the trophy proclaiming him the 2024 PokerGO Cup champion.

Four Men in Contention to Start the Action

When the six-handed final table began, four men had a chance at passing David Peters for the lead in the race for the PokerGO Cup. Justin Zaki started the day in second place with his 2.1 million in chips, while Seth Davies (775K), Little (750K), and Justin Saliba (465K), also were in contention. The only caveat? One of these four men would have to win the tournament to Pass Peters.

John Riordan had some different thoughts about that as the overall chip leader (2.51 million) when the action began. Likewise, Shanell Stokes (1.655 million) wanted to be the “fly in the ointment” and upset the dreams of the quartet. With the lion’s share of the $1.375 million prize pool, including the $453,750 to the champion, awaiting, the men set about the business of determining the victor.

Zaki shot off the line quickly, making a set on the first hand, but players finding a double was the general rule early in the tournament. Davies doubled through Stokes, then turned around and doubled up Saliba. After Saliba found another double through Riordan, Zaki took over the helm of the tournament and solidified that lead with the elimination of Stokes in sixth place.

Little was quiet through all this carnage…until he earned his own double through Zaki to climb out of the basement. He then called down the bluff of Davies, holding an A-9 on a 2-A-7-7-7 board against Davies’ complete air (5-4), to move into second place. Little would complete the job against Davies, taking him out in fifth place with Big Slick against Davies’ A-9 on a King-high board.

Still a Long Climb…

In four-handed play, Zaki was still a massive leader with his 4.245 million in chips. The stacks of Little (1.915 million), Riordan (1.36 million), and Saliba (735K) combined didn’t equal Zaki’s total, so it appeared to be Zaki’s tournament to lose. Within a couple of hands of Davies’ departure, however, Zaki would see that lead disappear.

After doubling the stack of Saliba, Little would seize his moment to move to the lead. On what looked to be an innocent board (Q-K-7-4-A), Zaki fired out a 740K bet and Little made the call, with Zaki putting down a 5-4 for the fifth pair, while Little showed an A-5 for a rivered pair of Aces. With that hand, Little moved up to 3.37 million in chips and into the lead.

From that point on, it was all Jonathan Little. Although Zaki took out both Riordan and Saliba in fourth and third places, respectively, he still was at a deficit (3.375 million) going to heads-up play with Little (4.88 million). There was no stirring comeback for Zaki in the offing, though, as Little controlled the action in heads-up play, never letting Zaki get close.

On the final hand, Little moved all in and Zaki made the call, and both men had decent hands. Little’s A♣ 4♣ had the edge against the K 7 of Zaki, and the flop brought something for each man – a seven for Zaki, but an Ace for Little. Looking to make trips with another seven or find a King to make two pair, Zaki instead saw two paint cards in Jacks come on the turn and river, earning Little the Event #8 crown and the overall PokerGO Cup championship.

1. Jonathan Little, $453,750 (272 points)
2. Justin Zaki, $288,750 (173)
3. Justin Saliba, $192,500 (116)
4. John Riordan, $137,500 (83)
5. Seth Davies, $110,000 (66)
6. Shanell Stokes, $82,500 (50)

Little’s victory was even sweeter in that he earned the overall PokerGO Cup and the $25,000 Passport that will allow him to enter any PokerGO Tour event in the future. Zaki could have been in that position with the victory, but he will have to settle for third place behind David Peters in the final standings.

1. Jonathan Little, 549 points
2. David Peters, 457
3. Justin Zaki, 405
4. David Coleman, 347
5. Seth Davies, 277
6. Daniel Smiljkovic, 261
7. Cary Katz, 252
8. Justin Saliba, 250
9. Dylan Weisman, 240
10. Kristen Foxen, 237

(Photo courtesy of PokerGO.com)

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