WPT Seminole
The WPT Seminole title went to the first-time winner Istvan Briski from Hungary.

Hungarian player Istvan Briski won the latest huge World Poker Tour Main Event as he got his name on the Mike Sexton Champions Cup and scored a top prize of $647,300. After a heads-up deal helped conclude the drama, a thrilling final table including poker luminaries such as Matt Bond and Darryll Fish couldn’t stop Briski winning the biggest cash prize of his career.

Bumper Field and Big Drama

With an incredible 1447 entrants in the event, a prizepool of $4,630,400 still saw over 2.25 million up for grabs for the final six players. As play began at the six-handed final table, it was Briski who had the chip lead and a massive one, too. On 23.97 million, the Hungarian had 120 big blinds, with Sandy Sanchez (75BB) the closest challengers.

Others in the running included the well-placed Fred Goldberg (67BB) and Rayan Chamas (55BB), with the shorter stacks of Darryll Fish (23BB) and Matt Bond (22BB) hoping that an early double-up could catapult the back into contention. At that stage, the top prize was listed as $752,500, with the runner-up ‘only’ in line for $494,800. All that was to change, however.

The first player to bust was the experienced Darryll Fish. All-in for way less than he started with from the small blind, Fish had just Qs7c and it was an easy call for the chip leader Briski with KhKd. The flop of AcKs7h set Briski into an almost unassailable lead and while the Qh turn paired one of Fish’s cards, it also left him drawing dead. Fish left for a score of $157,800 in sixth place, as Briski cemented his position at the top of the leaderboard.. and as the player to beat.

Bond…Busted Bond

With five remaining, the other short-stacked player as the final table began also paid for that poverty with his tournament life.

“I wager eight chips.” Matt Bond said as he moved all-in with As9s for a little over 11 big blinds. He got a quick call from Fred Goldberg with JcJd in the small blind. The board of 6h6s5c7cKc saw Goldberg win the pot and take out Bond, whose fifth-place result was worth $206,900.

After Bond’s exit, there was a period of play where no-one was eliminated. The chips changed hands considerably, however, with Goldberg taking the lead from Briski and Sandy Sanchez slipping to the bottom of the leaderboard. Sanchez doubled up through Briski with an ace-high flush against Briski’s trip nines.

It was in the 89th hand of the final table that the shallow blinds caught up with the unfortunate Goldberg, who busted in fourth place for $274,000. By that point, Briski had doubled back into the upper limits of the leaderboard and when Goldberg shoved for under six bigs with Ad2s, Briski called with JcJh.

The flop of Jd7d6h moved Briski even further ahead, and after the 7h turn, a Qs on the river doomed the all-in player, with Briski’s new stack of 68 big blinds now easily the biggest of the three remaining.

Istvan Briski
Istvan Briski celebrates the best day of his poker career to date.

Sanchez Slides Out, a Deal is Done

Sandy Sanchez might have had the coolest name at the final table, but the American was the last home country player of the four who reached the final table to depart. Going in third place for $366,500, Sanchez moved all-in for 27 big blinds with 5h5d, only to be called by Rayan Chamas with 9s9c.

The Lebanese player was ahead both before and after the Ah7s3d flop and after the Ks turn, all hopes of a wheel straight were done too. Sanchez needed a five and only a five, as the river card was poised to be dealt. A Kd dropped on the river and Sanchez was out, leaving Chamas as the chip leader going into heads-up with 41.5 million (83BB), with Briski the underdog on 30.9 million.

It was at that point that a deal was struck between the two remaining players, with just $47,300 and the Mike Sexton Champions Cup inscription on the line. Briski doubled up with trip jacks before moving into the lead he held when the final hand began. Chamas moved in for just 12 big blinds with Ts8c and Briski made the call with Qd4cthe ‘Phil Hellmuth’! That won the day as the board of As7d2hKh5s pronounced the Hungarian as the winner in the 120th hand of final table action.

Watch all the action play out here as the final table is brought to you by the world Poker Tour at the live-streamed final table:

WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open Final Table Results:  
Place Player Country Prize
1st Istvan Briski Hungary $647,300**
2nd Rayan Chamas Lebanon $600,000*
3rd Sandy Sanchez United States $366,500
4th Fred Goldberg United States $274,000
5th Matt Bond United States $206,900
6th Darryll Fish United States $157,800

* After heads-up deal

** includes $10,400 seat into the season-ending WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas.