The only tournament series that has not, to this point, named a Player of the Year or Champion is the PokerGO Tour. Perhaps because of the tournament glut right at the end of the year, the PGT chose to hold two tournaments – their PGT Championship and the PGT LastChance 2023 – in January 2024. Whenever they are being held, they will be counted towards the PGT’s 2023 results, and three tournament pros have made the most of the “last chance” effort to make the PGT Championship.

Daniel Negreanu Back in the Winner’s Circle

In the seven-event PGT LastChance 2023 series, all the tournaments are $10,000 No Limit Hold’em events. After making some interesting confessions in a vlog, Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu started off the New Year on the right foot. Instead of nursing a New Year’s hangover, Negreanu survived the field in Event #1 of the PGT LastChance 2023 tournament to take down a $218,400 score.

Coming to the final table of Event #1, Negreanu was part of the pack staring up at Masashi Oya’s monstrous 3.32 million stack, but ‘Kid Poker’ immediately went to work. After Isaac Haxton and David Peters left in seventh and sixth places, respectively, Negreanu got a massive double-up through Justin Bonomo to emerge as a challenger to Oya. Negreanu would be knocked down to the bottom rung during three-handed play, but he would survive to move to heads-up against Daniel Smiljkovic down by more than a 4:1 count.

That did not slow down one of the all-time legends in tournament poker. Negreanu did not make an error in heads-up play, catching a double-up with A-J against Smiljkovic’s A-4, then grinding those newfound chips into the lead. On the final hand, the chips went to the center on a J-J-10-4 flop and turn, and for good reason. Smiljkovic had flopped trips with his J-2, while Negreanu needed a Queen for Broadway. With a 14% chance of catching the lady he needed, Negreanu was relieved when the Queen hit the river, miraculously giving him the hand and the victory in Event #1.

1. Daniel Negreanu, $218,400
2. Daniel Smiljkovic, $150,150
3. Masashi Oya, $113,750
4. Justin Bonomo, $91,000
5. Jonathan Cohen, $72,800
6. David Peters, $54,600
7. Isaac Haxton, $45,500

With the victory, Negreanu moved off the bubble for the PGT Championship – the Top 40 make it into the tournament, and Negreanu was in 35th place. The win puts Negreanu into sixteenth place in the PGT Championship standings and should ensure that Negreanu will be playing next week.

Artur Martirosyan Powers to Victory in Event #2

At the final table of Event #2, Artur Martirosyan was at the top and he ensured that he would not leave that perch. Only four hands into the play at the final table, Martirosyan knocked off Event #1 runner-up Smiljkovic to take a dominant lead and he would not be denied, mowing down all but one of his final table partners in taking home the championship.

The biggest story of Event #2 was the fact that two women made that final table. 2023 Global Poker Index Ladies’ Player of the Year Kristen Foxen would be a victim of Martirosyan in going out in sixth place. Victoria Livschitz was not far behind Foxen in hitting the rail, getting knocked out by Vitalijis Zavorotnijs in fifth place.

It was Martirosyan’s tournament from start to finish, however. On the very first hand of heads-up play, Martirosyan powered an all-in move to the center and Michael Jozoff made a reluctant call. Martirosyan’s K-3 was not great, but it was better than Jozoff’s 10-8, and flopping trips with K-Q-K did not hurt either. An Ace opened some doors for Jozoff to hit a straight, but those doors slammed shut with the nine on the river that earned Martirosyan the title.

1. Artur Martirosyan, $211,200
2. Michael Jozoff, $145,200
3. Vitalijis Zavorotnijs, $110,000
4. Stephen Chidwick, $88,000
5. Victoria Livschitz, $70,400
6. Kristen Foxen, $52,800
7. Daniel Smiljkovic, $44,000

Samuel Laskowitz Tops Tough Event #3 Final Table

VERY early on Friday morning – around 5 AM Pacific Time, to be exact – Samuel Laskowitz completed a monster run from one of the short stacks to the champion of Event #3 in the PGT LastChance 2023 series.

Dylan Linde was the man in charge at the start of the final table, which opened action after midnight in the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas. Linde would face some resistance in the initial action with Haxton eliminating Peters from Event #3 title consideration. Linde was undaunted, however, as he took out Aram Zobian in fifth place to rapidly bring the table to four players.

Laskowitz was still in a difficult spot at this point, the short stack to Seth Davies, Haxton, and Linde, but he picked up a double through Laskowitz to improve the health of his stack. Surprisingly, Laskowitz would take over the lead when, after an innocuous 7-K-J flop, Laskowitz was able to bet Davies off his hand and pick up a healthy pot.

Linde would eventually fall in fourth place at the hands of Haxton, but the three-handed war was far from over. For almost an hour, the trio shuffled chips between themselves before Laskowitz found a couple of hands that allowed him to take over. First, Laskowitz doubled through Haxton, his 10-9 catching against Haxton’s K-J on a ten-high board. Then, Laskowitz eliminated Davies in third place when his pocket fives stood up against Davies’ J-8.

Laskowitz now held more than a 2:1 lead against Haxton, but Haxton not only would cut into Laskowitz’s lead but eventually take it from him. It wasn’t for long, however; Laskowitz would force Haxton to fold with an all-in river bet on a 3-Q-4-J-6 board, and, on the next hand, Haxton called off a Laskowitz all-in. Haxton’s pocket fives started well against the 9-8 of Laskowitz, but it didn’t end well with a ten on the turn and a nine on the river that improved Laskowitz to a better two pair and thrust him into the champion’s chair.

1. Samuel Laskowitz, $205,000
2. Isaac Haxton, $139,400
3. Seth Davies, $106,600
4. Dylan Linde, $82,000
5. Aram Zobian, $66,600
6. David Peters, $49,200
7. Jonathan Little, $36,900

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