Lightning Performance Earns Scott Eskenazi WPT Rolling Thunder Title

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The World Poker Tour (WPT) has broken another record in 2023, which meant Scott Eskenazi won over 100X his buy-in at Thunder Valley Casino Resort this week.

Scott Eskenazi
Scott Eskenazi picked up his first WPT title after taking down a record-breaking event at Thunder Valley Casino Resort. (Image: Flickr/WPT)

The momentum generated by the WPT World Championship in December 2022 has permeated this year’s schedule. WPT Prime events in France and Australia have broken records in recent months and, late last week, WPT Rolling Thunder did the same.

A late surge of activity on April 2 took the number of entries in the $3,500 tournament to 590. That meant the eventual winner, Scott Eskenazi, won the lion’s share of a $1,888,000 prizepool on April 4.

WPT breaks another record at Thunder Valley Casino Resort

That prizepool is the largest ever recorded inside California’s Thunder Valley Casino Resort. Not only that, 590 entries beats WPT Rolling Thunder’s previous record of 465, which was set in 2014.

These numbers were another win for the WPT. They also meant Eskenazi banked the biggest winner’s payout in WPT Rolling Thunder history. His $361,660 payday, which was also a personal record, came after he beat Jeremy Joseph heads-up on Tuesday.

WPT Rolling Thunder result

  1. Scott Eskenazi – $361,600
  2. Jeremy Joseph – $234,000
  3. Alejandro Jauregui – $172,000
  4. Albert Tapia – $128,000
  5. Victor Paredes – $97,000
  6. Tony Dunst – $73,400

Eskenazi entered the final session with the second smallest stack. Alejandro Jauregui lead the final six with 105 big blinds, followed by WPT commentator Tony Dunst (77 big blinds). However, with 22 big blinds, Eskenazi only needed a double up to get back into contention.

That’s exactly what he got. As others lost their footing and fell by the wayside, Eskenazi found his groove. A flopped straight allowed the Washington native to take Tony Dunst’s chips and move into a strong position behind chip leader Jauregui midway through the session.

Scott Eskenazi parlays short stack into first WPT title

Jauregui hadn’t put a foot wrong throughout the final table, but two big losses to Eskenazi turned the tide. With Eskenazi now in control, Jauregui clung onto the remainder of his chips and, despite outlasting Victor Paredes and Albert Tapia, he eventually fell in third.

Jeremy Joseph, who also started the final table with a short stack, had the early advantage over Eskenazi heads-up. However, three quick wins put Eskenazi into the lead, a position he lost but retained soon after.

Heads Up Scott Eskenazi & Jeremy Joseph
Scott Eskenazi and Jeremy Joseph battle for the WPT Rolling Thunder title. (Image: Flickr/WPT)

The final hand saw Joseph move all-in with A♣ 2♣. Eskenazi called with A♠ K♠ and, after the board ran out 9♠ 7♥ 7♦ 4♣ 3♣, he raked in the final pot and his first WPT title.

As well as securing his biggest payday to-date, Eskenazi won a free seat in this year’s $10,400 WPT World Championship.

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