Three final tables played out in three days, all at the same venue in Las Vegas. The World Poker Tour finally wrapped up the 2019-2021 season (originally 2019-2020) a year later than expected, and they did so in a big way at the PokerGO Studio this week.
The pandemic caused the WPT to change up its plans for the most recent season. In 2020, three final tables were scheduled for the Luxor in Las Vegas in late March to early May. But those plans were altered when casinos all around the country were shut down for months due to COVID-19.
In Nevada, casinos remained closed until early June, but numerous capacity and social distancing guidelines remained in place well into 2021, which made it difficult for the World Poker Tour to reschedule the final tables for events that had already begun. The first of those three took place in March at the PokerGO Studio with Markus Gonsalves shipping the $10,000 Gardens Poker Championship, which began in Los Angeles way back in January, 2020. Gonsalves’ patience earned him $554,495 for the win.
On Sunday, the second of three 2020 World Poker Tour final tables took place at the PokerGO Studio. The event in question was the $3,500 buy-in Borgata Winter Poker Open, which also started in January 2020 at the Borgata in Atlantic City.
Brian Altman appeared at the final table and took third place ($333,012). In doing so, he added some points to his WPT Player of the Year resume, although he didn’t need them considering he had already wrapped up the title. Veerab Zakarian won the event for $674,840 after beating James Anderson in a tough heads-up battle. Anderson took home $449,904 for second place.
Vegas makes millionaires
On Monday, the focus shifted to the prestigious $10,000 buy-in 2020 LA Poker Classic, a staple of Los Angeles’ iconic Commerce Casino. Upeshka De Silva, who was disqualified from the 2020 WSOP Main Event final table due to a positive COVID-19 test when he arrived at the Rio in Las Vegas, appeared at the final table. He was the first player eliminated, but this time it wasn’t due to the virus. Instead, he ran out of chips and took sixth place for $261,700.
Bala Patur ended up the champion after beating Matas Cimbolas heads-up ($600,060), becoming the first of two players to win over $1 million at a World Poker Tour final table this week. He won $1,015,000 along with his first WPT title.
The second millionaire made this week occurred Tuesday night when Brek Schutten, who flopped trips on the final hand, dodged Steven Snyder’s flush draw in the record-setting $3,500 buy-in Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, a tournament that began last month in South Florida. Nearly 2,500 players signed up, a World Poker Tour record.
Schutten received $1,261,095 for his impressive performance in the historic WPT event. With that, the 2019-2021 season came to an end. The World Poker Tour will return in July with a $3 million guaranteed event at the Venetian in Las Vegas.