For the third straight day, the World Poker Tour crowned a new champion at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas. On Tuesday, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, which began in South Florida last month, reached its conclusion with Brek Schutten taking the title for $1,261,095 after his opponent missed a flush draw,
Also for the second consecutive day, the WPT awarded more than $1 million to the champion. On Monday, Bala Patur won $1,015,000 at the LA Poker Classic — an event that began in March 2020 in Los Angeles. The World Poker hosted three final tables in Las Vegas this week, including the aforementioned two events and the 2020 Borgata Winter Poker Open, won by Veerab Zakarian for $674,840.
With the conclusion of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, the pandemic-delayed 2019-2021 WPT season officially came to an end.
Sweating out the final card
The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open was the largest WPT event in history with 2,482 entries. Ken Aldridge was the first out the door at the final table, going home with $261,700 for sixth place. Albert Calderon then busted in fifth place, good for $326,750. Sonny Franco, who began the final table with the chip lead, was eliminated in fourth place, which paid $438,500.
Viet Vo, who finished runner-up at WPT Choctaw in 2018, was hoping to finally get over the hump and win a World Poker Tour title. But he couldn’t quite reach the mountain top and was felted in third place, earning $593,140 for another impressive performance.
That set up a heads-up match between Schutten and Steven Snyder, both of whom were seeking their first WPT title. With more than a $300,000 difference between first and second place, the pressure was on these poker pros.
Schutten began heads-up play with nearly a 2-1 chip advantage, a lead that he would never relinquish. But he had to sweat out the ending on what was an exciting final hand.
With Schutten, an ICU nurse, still up around 2-1 in chips, he raised preflop with 8-5 off-suit. His opponent made the call with A♦ 2♦. The flop was as action-packed as they come (10-5-5 with two diamonds). Snyder made a continuation bet to 4.8 million, leaving him 21.9 million behind. Schutten decided to slow-play his trips, and just made the call.
On the turn, the players saw the 7♥, which didn’t help Snyder one bit. That didn’t stop him from betting again, this time for 5.2 million. Schutten was done slow-playing and put his opponent all-in. After pondering his move for about two minutes, Snyder decided it was time to gamble.
If a non-8 diamond hit on the river, the stacks would be nearly even for the first time during heads-up play. With both players standing up nervously awaiting the outcome of the hand, the dealer slowly turned over a meaningless deuce, and that was all she wrote for the 2021 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Schutten earned $1,261,095 for first place, while Steven Snyder took home $899,295 as a consolation prize.