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WSOP 2022: Ponakovs Wins First WSOP Bracelet, Denies Phil Ivey Bracelet #11

Aleks Ponakovs
Aleks Ponakovs won his second WSOP bracelet and first in a live arena by defeating the legendary Phil Ivey in the $100k Super High Roller event in Las Vegas.

A dramatic day at the felt in Las Vegas saw Phil Ivey dominate the final table of Event #42, the $100,000 Super High Roller only for Aleks Ponakovs to overtake the 10-time bracelet winner and claim gold. With the Latvian coming into the final five ahead in chips, he eventually took down his second WSOP title and first live win. In five other events on Day 21, the Millionaire Maker worked its way down to just two dozen players as more action took place at Bally’s and Paris.

Ivey Eclipsed by Ponakovs as Poker Legend Falls Just Short

Phil Ivey got so close to his history-making 11th WSOP bracelet that the Poker Hall of Famer could almost taste victory. Working down from 23 players who started Day 2 to a winner, the event played to a winner in one fewer day that was on the schedule. With players such as Eric Worre (10th for $162,623), Nick Petrangelo (9th for $181,068), Masashi Oya (8th for $210,485), Mikita Badziakouski (7th for $255,001), and Talal Shakerchi (6th for $321,437) all going close, the final table featured Phil Ivey hunting a new piece of gold wristwear.

Down to five, it was Latvian player Aleks Ponakovs who held the chip lead. When Michael Moncek shoved from the big blind with Ah4h over Ben Heath’s raise with TsTd, Heath made the call and held through the board of 8c7d2cQh8s, with the American drawing dead by the turn and cashing for $420,944 in fifth place.

Next to go was Greg Jensen, who cashed for $571,896 in fourth when he ran into the ever-impressive Heath. Jensen four-bet shoved with AsJs and was snap-called by Heath with QsQh. The board of 8c7s7d5h9c never really gave Jensen much hope and that left play three-handed for the title and $1.8 million top prize.

Phil Ivey
Phil Ivey was unable to close out a dramatic final table in the $100,000 Super High Roller WSOP 2022 Event #42.

Heath was flying high, but Ivey clipped his wings when his flush draw got there from the flop to double through Heath’s pocket aces and that gave Ivey a huge stack of 17.2 million, with Heath down to 6 million. Ponakovs, who had led, was marginally behind Ivey, however, after Heath lost out with Ad8d against Ivey’s QhJh to bust in third place for $805,024, the battle was heads up with Ivey behind on 15.9 million to the Latvian’s 21.2 million.

The final duel was an intense one and the momentum swung both ways between the two greats, Ivey at one point taking a 2:1 lead after a superb call with top pair nines. Trip kings helped the Latvian reverse that lead, however, and although he didn’t lead by nearly as much, returning roughly to the opening stacks they had when heads-up play began, it turned out to be enough.

In the final hand, all the chips went in on the turn when the board showed Jh7s3h9c. Ponakovs, who had bet 3 million, held Ad9s, while Ivey, who check-shoved for 11 million at that stage had an open-ended straight draw with 8d6s. Ponakovs was an 81% favorite to win the hand and so it proved as he called and won his second WSOP title when the 8h landed on the river.

Ivey cashed for $1.1 million in second place, a terrific runner-up prize, but those two digits were not to be lined up next to each other in representing his 11th bracelet.  It was Ponakovs who bagged his second and first WSOP win in a live arena, as well as claiming the top prize of almost $1.9m.

WSOP 2022 Event #42 $100,000 Super High Roller Final Table Results:                            

  1. Aleks Ponakovs – $1,897,363
  2. Phil Ivey – $1,172,659
  3. Ben Heath – $805,024
  4. Gregory Jensen – $571,896
  5. Michael Moncek – $420,944

Two Dozen Remain in Hunt for $1.1 million

The Millionaire Maker event is a special one, with a narrative that twists and turns like the best thriller. This unputdownable drama reached its plot twist just before the chips were bagged, too, as Michael Mizrachi and James Calderaro – the only two remaining bracelet winners in the field – busted, leaving two dozen potential first-time winners to battle it out over the next two days.

With 23 players between him and $1.1 million, John Sova (15,300,000) has the chip lead, with Jacek Pastula (14,775,000) and Alen Tenorio (12,800,000) close behind. Others to bag chips included Raul Martinez (10,925,000), as well as British players Nick Marchington (9,275,000) and Kevin Houghton (5,000,000).

WSOP 2022 Event #37 $1,500 Millionaire Maker Top 10 Chipcounts:                               

  1. John Sova – 15,300,000
  2. Jacek Pastula – 14,775,000
  3. Alen Tenorio – 12,800,000
  4. Justin Fawcett – 12,350,000
  5. Linus Richter – 11,200,000
  6. Raul Martinez – 10,925,000
  7. Paul Ahn – 10,425,000
  8. Dominic Coombe – 10,300,000
  9. Stanley Weng – 9,550,000
  10. Nick Marchington – 9,275,000

Yanovski Leads Final Six in PLO 6-Max Event

Just six players remain in the hunt for the $3,000-entry PLO 6-Max Event #39 crown and top prize of $371,358. After another day at the top of the leaderboard, it is overnight chip leader Leonid Yanovski who is still ahead with 8,700,000 chips as the final begins. With Austrian Fabian Brandes (6,560,000) and American Sean Winter (4,275,000) both in hot pursuit, all six players have yet to win a bracelet and will play down to a winner tomorrow to see who achieves that lofty ambition.

Day 3 saw the last of the former bracelet winners crash out, with Jason DeWitt (15th for $18,494), Jan-Peter Jachtmann (14th for the same) and Andriy Lyubovetskiy (9th for $30,729) all crashed out on the day.

WSOP 2022 Event #39 $3,000 PLO 6-Handed Final Table Chipcounts:                              

  1. Leonid Yanovski – 8,700,000
  2. Fabian Brandes – 6,560,000
  3. Sean Winter – 4,275,000
  4. Grzegorz Derkowski – 3,685,000
  5. Ferenc Deak – 3,110,000
  6. Thomas Morrison – 2,435,000

Deeb and Hastings Miss Out in Seven Card Stud

The final table of Event #40, the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better event, saw Shaun Deeb, Chad Eveslage and Brian Hasting all eliminated on a day of drama. Deeb in particular will be gutted not to have made it further, if only for the fact that by the time he went in fifth, Hastings (7th) and Eveslage (6th) had both departed.

Deeb fell in fifth as he was a back-to-back victim of Eric Kurtzman, but it was Deeb and Evesalge’s conqueror who was the last man to bust on the night, as he went from having over 60% of the chips in play with four left to on the rail.

David Funkhouser took out the former runaway chip leader and it is he who leads the last three players, two of who have never won a bracelet before in the aforementioned Funkhouser (3,455,000 chips) and second-placed Ziya Rahim (2,545,000). The third wheel is however the man who might run over them both, as in-form Dan Zack (2,230,000) looks to become the first player to win two WSOP bracelets this summer in Vegas in the 40th event of the series.

WSOP 2022 Event #40 $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Final Table:                            

  1. David Funkhouser – 3,455,000 (chips rank)
  2. Ziya Rahim – 2,545,000 (chips rank)
  3. Daniel Zack – 2,230,000 (chips rank)
  4. Eric Kurtzman – $110,379
  5. Shaun Deeb – $83,465
  6. Chad Eveslage – $63,914
  7. Brian Hastings – $49,571

Two More Events Close Day 1s

Elsewhere in the World Series of Poker on Day 21, two more events got through Day 1s with differences. In Event #43, there were an incredible 14 hours of action, with 4,786 total entries in the $500-entry freezeout NLHE Event. With a bumper prize pool of $2 million surpassed, it was Lorenzo Negri who grabbed the chip lead and a bag of chips totalling 1,860,000 by the close of play.

With a top prize of almost a quarter of a million dollars up for grabs, Jonathan Dimmig (1,165,000), Chris Moorman (880,000), Yoon Kim (675,000), Andrew Hulme (665,000), Maria Ho (565,000), and Steve Watts (520,000) all made the cut with others such as

Others weren’t so fortunate as to bag any chips at all, with WSOP winners Phil Hellmuth, Chance Kornuth and Chino Rheem, as well as noted poker author Maria Konnikova, all busting on Day 1.

WSOP 2022 Event #43 $500 NLHE Freezeout Top 10 Chipcounts:                         

  1. Lorenzo Negri – 1,860,000
  2. Robert Pettit – 1,590,000
  3. Peter Schneider – 1,570,000
  4. Alan Gendelman – 1,550,000
  5. Carol Filipski – 1,505,000
  6. Jared Ward – 1,465,000
  7. Michael Suggs – 1,420,000
  8. Mason Hinkle – 1,325,000
  9. Matthew Biafore – 1,290,000
  10. Connor Daynard – 1,285,000

Finally, Event #44 began on Monday as 97 players survived from 192 entries in the $10,000-entry H.O.R.S.E. event. Fans will be asking ‘Why the Long face?’ whe they see who is at the top of the chipcounts, but the leader is well known to his peers. Philip Long (320,000) took down the $1,500-entry 2019 Eight Game Mix bracelet event less than three years ago and with other bracelet winners such as Brad Ruben (307,500) Yuri Dzivielevski (270,500) Andres Korn (253,000), and John Racener (247,000) all ending Day 1 in the top 10, Day 2 will be some battle to make the money places.

Some who were unable to do that included Scotty ‘Baby’ Nguyen,  Daniel ‘Kid Poker’ Negreanu, Allen ‘Chainsaw’ Kessler,  Joe ‘Aussie’ Hachem and WSOP co-commentator Norman Chad.

WSOP 2022 Event #44 $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship Top 10 Chipcounts:                             

  1. Philip Long – 320,000
  2. Brad Ruben – 307,500
  3. Hansu Chu – 289,500
  4. Yuri Dzivielevski – 270,500
  5. Gary Benson – 267,000
  6. Andres Korn – 258,000
  7. Kristijonas Andrulis – 256,000
  8. John Racener – 247,000
  9. Kyle Montgomery – 246,500
  10. Wilson Igwe – 238,000

Jeremy Ausmus may have found the player who cares the least about their progress at the 2022 World Series of Poker.

Nick Howard has hit upon a little optimization among those who have been to Vegas and the WSOP before.

Nick Wright used a reply on Twitter to hint that he might want to fire again at Phil Hellmuth. Poking the GOAT during the World Series of Poker? We’re here for it!

Ben Spragg is excited to be in Las Vegas at an opportune moment.

And finally, Dan Zack is having another great summer, with one bracelet win already and having reached the final three potentially another one tomorrow. However, he has just experienced the undoubted highlight of his trip.

Official photographs courtesy of PokerGO, the home of live-streamed action throughout the 2022 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

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