Josh Adkins won the World Poker Tour (WPT) bestbet Bounty Scramble on Tuesday, the first WPT victory of his poker career. For the win, Adkins banked $331,480.
What was perhaps the most amazing thing about Adkins’ run was that it was not only his first WPT title, but it was the very first time he had ever entered a World Poker Tour event. Winning major events is easy, right?
Adkins is also a cash game player. This $5,000 tournament was by far the most expensive in which he had played. Prior to this, he had just seven live tournament cashes (two wins, though). All but one of those cashes were in events with three-figure buy-ins.
But despite being a cash game specialist, he truly thought he was going to win the tournament before stepping foot in the casino.
“It’s a funny story, I kind of called my shot in this,” he told WPT.com afterward. “I have text messages of me saying, ‘I’m going to go win the $5K in Jax.’ And now it just happened. It’s indescribable.”
Adkins began the six-handed final table second in chips with 3.220 million. Josh Kay was in first with 4.075 million. He made his move early, taking the chip lead with 5 million chips within about four orbits. Kay soon regained the lead and by the time the tournament was three-handed, Kay was up to 7.625 million chips. Adkins was at 4.415 million and Tan Nguyen had 1.880 million.
Three-handed play lasted a long time and though Nguyen was hanging tough, it looked like a heads-up match between the two Joshes was inevitable. The hundredth hand of the final table came and went and Kay continued to climb, eventually growing his stack to over 9 million. In the meantime, Nguyen had driven past Adkins.
Adkins surged back while Nguyen picked at Kay’s stack. After doubling through Kay, Adkins nearly pulled even with the former chip leader, while Nguyen took over the top spot. And then, in the turning point of the match on Hand 153, both Adkins and Kay got their chips in the middle on a 5-8-2 flop. Adkins had Aces and Kay, caught in a bluff, had just K-T. He was unable to improve and suddenly Adkins had more than 8 million chips, while Kay was nearly down to the felt.
Josh Kay was out of the tourney a few hands later, setting up a heads-up bout between Adkins and Nguyen. Adkins had the chip advantage, 7.205 million to 6.715 million.
It didn’t take long for Adkins to finish things off. He quickly extended his lead before dealing the final blow. On Hand 167, Nguyen raised to 300,000 pre-flop and Adkins re-raised to 1.300 million. Nguyen then shoved for 4.145 million and Adkins snap-called. Despite his confidence, he was behind, A-Q to A-K.
The flop came down J-2-Q, giving Adkins a pair and the best hand. The turn and river provided no relief for Nguyen and it was all over.
“Playing my first WPT and to win it, I don’t have words,” he told WPT.com. “This means a lot to me, obviously, not because of the money, but just for me. I’ve worked really hard at this game for the last seven years, and to just have this win and how tough this field was – it’s just incredible.”
Lead image: WPT via Flickr