It started quickly, but it would become an extremely long battle. In the end, it was poker player Joshua Pollock who was able to defeat Ray Quartomy to capture the title of the World Poker Tour’s most recent stop at the Legends of Poker in Los Angeles. In taking down his first major championship, Pollack earned the first-place prize of $573,350 and etched his name onto the WPT Mike Sexton Champions’ Cup.
Quick Start Leads to THREE Eliminations
Quartomy was by far the massive chip leader at the start of the event on Thursday night. His eleven million in chips dwarfed the stacks of Pollack and Matthew Wantman, who were tied behind Quartomy with 6.3 million chips each. Rounding out the official WPT six-handed final table were Aaron Motoyama (4.525 million), Lei Lei (2.25 million) and a short-stacked Adam Hendrix (1.575 million) as the cards hit the air.
Absolutely NOBODY was ready for the rapid action to start the event…except maybe Hendrix. Needing a double up to get viable at the final table, Hendrix would get that when his A-J stood tall over Wantman’s A-9 on a ten-high board. After Lei pulled off an all-in of his own on Hand #4, Hendrix would be back to pull the trigger again. This time, however, it didn’t work out so well.
On Hand #5, Hendrix would pop it up to 300K from under the gun and both Motoyama and Wantman looked him up. A rainbow 10-4-2 flop greeted the trio, but it was Motoyama who seized the action with a 425K bet after the action checked to him. Wantman came along, but Hendrix decided to play for 1.1 million. Motoyama let his cards go, but Wantman made the call to see the turn.
A Jack on the turn didn’t seem to change anything, but after Wantman checked Hendrix moved his remaining stack to the center (2.125 million). It was just what Wantman had wanted; he immediately called and tabled his pocket fours for the flopped set, while Hendrix turned up an A♦ K♦ for straight, flush, and royal flush draws. Unfortunately for Hendrix, none of these were represented by the 3♣ on the river, knocking him from the tournament in sixth place.
Wantman, now armed with over nine million in chips, ended the day for Lei three hands later. Lei committed his final chips with an A-J against the pocket Kings of Wantman, and the flop ended any discussion with a King on the flop. Although Lei picked up a gut shot straight draw on the turn, it didn’t come home on the river to send him to the exits in fifth.
On Hand #11, it was Pollack’s turn to get in on the fun and games. Motoyama made a pre-flop raise with pocket nines, only to see Pollack come along with a Q♦ 10♦ that turned into four to the flush on the flop. Pollack also had two over cards to Motoyama’s pair and the turn would deliver…for Pollack. A Queen on the turn pushed Pollack into the lead and, after the river blanked with no nine, Motoyama was out in fourth place and the tournament was down to three players in only eleven hands!
Even Stacks Results in Epic Battle
With the three survivors – Pollock, Quartomy and Wantman – left from the 642-entry field, the tournament became an epic battle for survival. Over the next 69 hands, the trio vied for position, with Wantman’s stack the one that suffered the most leakage. Down to only 1.5 million on Hand #80, he would move all in and found a caller in Pollack. It was a classis short-handed battle, Pollack’s A-9 ruling over Wantman’s A-2, and a nine on the flop essentially ended the hand. Once the turn failed to bring Wantman anything of assistance, he was done for the night in third place.
At the start of heads-up play, Pollock (19.275 million) held a healthy lead over Quartomy (12.675 million), but Quartomy’s experience showed. Quartomy would claw his way into the lead on Hand #118, but Pollack would snatch it back only five hands later. The tournament would end only six hands later.
On Hand #129, Pollock bumped the pot up and Quartomy made his last stand. Pollock immediately pushed his chips to the center too, turning up pocket eights for battle against Quartomy’s A♦ 8♦. The board ran out Queen high, delivering nothing for Quartomy and earning Pollack the championship of the 2022 WPT Legends of Poker!
1. Joshua Pollack, $573,350 (includes a seat in the 2023 WPT World Championship)
2. Ray Quartomy, $380,000
3. Matthew Wantman, $280,000
4. Aaron Motoyama, $207,000
5. Lei Lei, $156,000
6. Adam Hendrix, $119,000
Up next for the WPT is a trip to Florida and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa, FL. That Main Event begins today and will play out to a champion on September 7.