If he hasn’t already drank Las Vegas dry, Frank Stepuchin can crack open another a cold one to celebrate his WPT Gardens Poker Championship on Tuesday night for $548,825.
Stepuchin created a frat party-like atmosphere inside the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor. He downed beers like he was at a kegger, not a poker tournament. But while some might think boozing it up with so much money on the line is a bad idea, it sure was effective.
Worth the Wait
WPT Gardens Poker Championship began January 12 at the Gardens Casino in Los Angeles. The tournament played down to the final table of six four days later before halting play until Tuesday afternoon. But this time, the remaining players traveled to Las Vegas for the conclusion. The wait was certainly worth it for Frank Stepuchin.
None of the final table competitors were past World Poker Tour champions. But four of them had WPT final table experience. Only Stepuchin and sixth place finisher Jonathan Abdellatif were in uncharted territory.
Shannon Shorr (second place), Steve Sung (third), and Ray Qartomy (fifth), had all been in this position three previous times.
Qartomy has quietly been one of the most impressive performers on the World Poker Tour the past 10 months. During that period, he has fourth, fifth, eighth, and 66th place finishes, but no titles.
WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table Results
- Frank Stepuchin (USA) $548,825
- Shannon Shorr (USA) $355,885
- Steve Sung (USA) $259,880
- Brent Roberts (USA) $192,465
- Ray Qartomy (USA) $144,595
- Jonathan Abdellatif (USA) $110,225
Came for a Poker Tournament, Arrived at a Party
Stepuchin’s behavior at the table, albeit friendly, may have rubbed some people the wrong way. Others at table didn’t bothered by his actions, however.
The Las Vegas local drank numerous beers throughout the night and rarely kept his mouth shut. He indulged in a greasy burger and fries, a stark contrast to the vegan and healthy foods most of the high rollers order these days.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with enjoying a tasty burger and engaging in harmless banter. But he did one thing that made some viewers roll their eyes.
During some hands, typically after he made a bet, he grabbed his opponent’s arms to feel their pulse. He clearly did so in a joking manner. But some poker players might be disturbed at his behavior. His biggest offense, however, was eating a tasty looking chicken wing with prongs.
— David Williams (@dwpoker) March 12, 2019
Stepuchin was the life of the party. Actually, he was the party. The other five players took a business-like approach to the final table. Perhaps, they should have followed Frank’s lead because he was the only one left with chips when the night concluded.
The first-time WPT champion earned $548,825 for his efforts. And probably a massive hangover this morning. The only question now is how much does he even remember from the final table?