Monday, December 5, 2022

Darren Elias & James Mackey Could Make WPT History in Vegas Next Week

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darren elias world poker tour

The $3,800 buy-in World Poker Tour Main Event at Choctaw Casino played down to a final table Monday night with one player — James Mackey — perhaps on the verge of making history. In another WPT tournament, the $3,500 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, Darren Elias reached his record-extending 13th WPT final table in April.

Both of those final tables will take place in Las Vegas at the Luxor’s HyperX Esports Arena next week. First up will be the SHRPS on May 25, followed by the Choctaw finale a day later. Both tournaments will be filmed for television and air on Bally Sports (dates undetermined).

Chasing Extremely Rare Feat

james mackey wpt choctaw

Brian Altman is the only player in history to win the same WPT Main Tour event twice. He took down the Lucky Hearts Poker Open in 2014 and 2020, the year he won WPT Player of the Year. Ray Qartomy, Chance Kornuth, and James Hundt are neck and neck for the chip lead. Kristen Foxen also reached the final table but with the smallest stack.

That accomplishment is so rare given that tens of thousands of players have entered World Poker Tour events over the past 20 years. When the Choctaw Main Event wrapped in Durant, Oklahoma earlier this week, Mackey was presented with an opportunity to become the second player ever to win the same event twice.

In 2016, Mackey won this same tournament for $668,758, beating out 1,066 entrants. Last weekend, he entered the field of 787 and has reached the final table with a middling stack. First place will pay $486,600 next week in Las Vegas.

WPT Choctaw Final Table Chip Counts

Player Chips
Ray Qartomy 9,400,000
Chance Kornuth 9,025,000
James Hundt 9,000,000
James Mackey 5,050,000
Steve Buckner 4,700,000
Kristen Foxen 2,175,000

Elias Looks to Break his Own Record

darren elias wpt

Elias is to the WPT what Phil Hellmuth is to the World Series of Poker. Both players hold records that will be tough to top, and they each have been crushing it in their respective events for years.

Elias entered the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in April with four WPT titles to his name, one more than anyone else. He will be at the final table May 25 in Las Vegas with a shot to further extend his lead.

Not only is Elias at the final table, he holds a massive chip lead with nearly 40% of all chips in play (129 big blinds). The winner in the 2,010-entrant tournament will take home $1,000,300, and that would put Elias over the $5 million mark lifetime in WPT events. Only four others — Carlos Mortensen, Daniel Negreanu, Michael Mizrachi, and Fedor Holz — have reached that plateau.

Elias also extended another of his own records by reaching his 13th WPT final table. Phil Ivey, who no longer plays in World Poker Tour events, is in second place with 11, followed by Negreanu and Scotty Nguyen at nine.

Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Chip Counts

  RANK PLAYER CHIPS BIG BLINDS
  1 Darren Elias 38,825,000 129
  2 Mark Davis 26,550,000 88
  3 Viet Vo 11,925,000 39
  4 Marcos Exterkotter 10,900,000 36
  5 Michael Laufer 6,750,000 22
  6 Andrew Barfield 5,500,000 18

PokerNews will offer recaps from both tournaments once winners are crowned next week in Las Vegas.

*Images courtesy of WPT/Hayley Hochstetler

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