The Season XVIII World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic crowned its winner on Saturday, with Alex Foxen topping the record-breaking field of 1,035 entries to win the $1.694 million first-place prize.
“It feels, I don’t know… surreal,” Foxen said in the moments following the win. “It’s kind of hard to put into words, but it feels amazing. The last time I got to this spot, I was a little bit disappointed in the way that I played heads up. It’s just incredible to get the opportunity again and be fortunate enough to pull out the win. I don’t have words.”
Back in Season XVI, Foxen found himself heads up with Ryan Tosoc in this very event. Tosoc had finished runner-up the year before and was back in heads-up play with a chance to better his previous result. Back then, Foxen couldn’t overcome Tosoc in what was a very lighthearted heads-up battle with plenty of fun had between the two and he had to settle for a second-place payout of $1.134 million.
“I do feel like I was so excited about having that opportunity,” Foxen said of the difference between his two WPT Five Diamond heads-up appearances. “I think that score I locked up was already five or six times my biggest score to date at that point, so there was an element of me feeling like I lost a little bit of focus and maybe didn’t take it as seriously as I should have because, regardless of the outcome of heads-up play, it was such an amazing result that in the moment I didn’t see the severity of that situation. I definitely didn’t make that same mistake twice.”
Much like Tosoc had redeemed his second-place finish with a victory the following season, Foxen came back two seasons after his runner-up finish to get the job done and capture the WPT Five Diamond throne. The victory gave Foxen his first WPT title.
Final Table Results
1st: Alex Foxen – $1,694,995
2nd: Toby Joyce – $1,120,040
3rd: Seth Davies – $827,285
4th: Peter Neff – $617,480
5th: Danny Park – $465,780
6th: Jonathan Jaffe – $355,125
Foxen came into Saturday’s final table in second position on the leaderboard with six players remaining. In fewer than 30 hands, Foxen had improved to the chip lead. Shortly after gaining the top spot, he knocked out WPT Champions Club member Jonathan Jaffe in sixth place. Although others did some damage of their own, such as Toby Joyce knocking out start-of-day chip leader Danny Park in fifth place and Seth Davies busting Peter Neff in fourth place, Foxen never gave up the lead once he had it.
Three-handed play between Foxen, Joyce, and Davies lasted for quite some time. Even though both Joyce and Davies scored double ups during the battle, things never appeared to get away from Foxen as he stayed strong behind the wall of chips he built. Eventually, Davies’ stack shrunk and he got the last of his money in against Foxen in a dominated position. Foxen had the to Davies’ . Davies, a WPT Champions Club member, did flop some outs to a chop but he was ultimately done in thanks to the board.
Entering heads-up play with Joyce, Foxen had the chip lead with 29.5 million to Joyce’s 11.9 million, and the match was never really close. Joyce narrowed the gap ever so slightly at the beginning of the duel, but Foxen’s dominance was too much and he quickly started to distance himself.
On the final hand, Foxen had limped on the button with the blinds at 200,000/400,000 with a 400,000 big blind ante. Joyce checked and the dealer fanned the flop. Joyce checked, Foxen bet 400,000, and then Joyce check-raised to 1.1 million. Foxen put in a raise of his own and made it 2 million to go. Joyce called to see the land on fourth street. Joyce checked and Foxen shoved all in, for what was effectively 4.5 million because he had Joyce covered. Joyce tanked and used four 30-second time extensions to think things through. Joyce eventually made the call with the for a pair of jacks, but Foxen had him out-kicked with the . The river was the to seal the deal for Foxen. For his runner-up finish, Joyce scored $1.12 million in prize money.
Fourth Consecutive Record Turnout for Five Diamond
It was the fourth consecutive record-setting turnout for WPT Five Diamond, and this season’s 1,035 entries topped last season’s 1,001. The seasons prior to that were 812 entries for Season XVI and 791 entries for Season XV.
In this event, the top 130 finished reached the money. Included in those to cash were Eric Afriat (9th – $168,005), Darren Elias (14th – $107,840), Chino Rheem (22nd – $60,435), Cary Katz (44th – $37,670), Kitty Kuo (67th – $26,220), Cliff Josephy (74th – $23,830), and Maria Ho (116th – $19,345).
Also running deep was Timo Kamphues, who placed seventh in the Season XVIII WPT Five Diamond for $273,695. He has had quite the week of poker in Las Vegas, as just a few days prior to his run at Bellagio, Kamphues won the Wynn Poker Winter Classic $1,100 NL $500,000 Guarantee tournament for $202,787.
Foxen Takes Player of the Year Lead
With the victory, Foxen moved to first place in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year standings. Both Foxen and Joyce have the same amount of points, 1,400, but Foxen holds the tiebreaker of most money won. Joyce earned his second cash of the season and is currently second in the race.
1st: Alex Foxen – 1,400 points
2nd: Toby Joyce – 1,400 points
3rd: Donald Maloney – 1,300 points
4th: Aaron Van Blarcum – 1,275 points
5th: Geoffrey Hum – 1,250 points
6th: Milen Stefanov – 1,200 points
7th: Kevin Albers – 1,200 points
8th: Simon Brandstrom – 1,200 points
9th: Peter Neff – 1,150 points
10th: Seth Davies – 1,100 points
WPT Gardens Poker Championship Up Next
Up next for the WPT Main Tour is the WPT Gardens Poker Championship at the Gardens Casino in Southern California. The $10,000 buy-in event kicks off January 9, 2020, and runs through January 13.