Damian Salas Conquers 2020 WSOP Main Event International Leg

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Damian Salas took down the international leg of the 2020 WSOP Main Event and will now travel to Las Vegas to play for $1 million. (Tomas Stacha photo / PokerNews)

Making the trip from Argentina to the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event international live final table at King’s Casino in the Czech Republic was well worth it for Damian Salas. The 45-year-old, who also made the final table of the 2017 WSOP Main Event, defeated Brunno Botteon, the #1-ranked online poker player in the world, heads-up to win $1.5 million and will now travel to Las Vegas to play the winner of the American final table live for another $1 million.

The final table began eight-handed after China’s Peiyuan ‘fish3098’ Sun not to travel to Rozvadov due to the coronavirus pandemic. It took just 45 minutes for the Salas to turn his aggression into an increased chip stack with the elimination of Hannes Speiser. Salas was the initial aggressor, raising to 425,000 from early position before Speiser, who started the final table with the fifth best stack, responded by moving all in for 1,925,000. Salas called and showed ThTs while Speiser was in trouble with QcTc. The board ran out AcAdJh9d6s to eliminate Speiser in eighth place.

Salas continued to accumulate and 30 minutes later, sent another player home. Stoyan Obreshkov raised to 900,000 from the cutoff and Salas re-raised to 1,750,000 and Obreshkov called all in. Salas showed AsTc which was the worst case scenario for Obreshkov who tabled KsTh. The Td9d7d flop changed nothing for Obreshkov and all he could do was sweat the 7s turn and As river to seal his fate with a seventh place result. That pot moved Salas into striking distance of Brunno Botteon for the first time since the final table began.

A battle of the blinds just 15 minutes later between Dominykas Mikolaitis and Manuel Ruivo ended things for one of them. From the small blind, Ruivo moved all in and Mikolaitis called and showed AdJc while Ruivo was ahead with 3c3h. Ruivo improved to bottom set on the 9c5c3d flop. The 7s turn ended Mikolaitis’ running clubs dream. The 4c completed the board to officially eliminate Mikolaitis in sixth.

Ruivo found another victim but it wasn’t until nearly two hours later. The Portugal native raised from the button to 600,000 and Marco Streda shoved from the small blind for somewhere north of 2,500,000. Ruivo called and showed AcAd while Streda was in bad shape with AhKd. The board ran out Jc8c2c7s4s to eliminate Streda.

Thanks to a 30-minute dinner break and a regularly scheduled 15-minute break, the next elimination didn’t happen until nearly one hour and 45 minutes after Streda hit the rail.¬†Ramon Miquel Munoz was down to approximately 800,000 and moved all in from UTG. Botteon followed that by moving all in, forcing the rest of the table to fold. Munoz had life with As6d while Botteon showed 3d3s. Munoz’ tournament life was all but snuffed out on the KcTh3h flop. The Ks turn made a comeback impossible and the Ad river made Munoz’ fourth place finish official.

Three-handed play last just about an hour before Salas sent the tournament to the heads-up portion. Botteon folded his button, Salas completed from the small blind and then called when Ruivo raised to 1,500,000 in the big blind. After the 9c4c2d flop, Salas check-raised to 5,000,000. Ruivo moved all in for not much more and Salas called. Ruivo showed 9d4h for top two pair while Salas tabled Tc7c for a flush draw. Salas added a straight draw on the 8s turn and then completed his flush draw on the 5c river to bust Ruivo in second.

Heads-up play began with Salas holding nearly two-thirds of the chips in play. Over a full hour of play between Botteon and Salas, the Brazilian only managed to briefly take over the chip lead before Salas regained it and eliminated Botteon. On the final hand, Botteon completed from the small blind and Salas checked to see a flop of Kc4c2h. Both players checked to see the 6h turn card. Botteon check-raised to 2,800,000 and Salas called. The 8c completed the board and Botteon moved all in and Salas tank-called. Botteon showed 7h3h for a missed flush draw while Salas tabled Kd8h for top two pair to eliminate Botteon in second place.

The win means Salas will be flying to Las Vegas right after Christmas to play the eventual winner of the U.S. leg of the 2020 WSOP Main Event for the $1 million prize.

Final Table Payouts

Damian Salas – $1,550,969
Bruno Botteon – $1,062,723
Manuel Ruivo – $728,177
Ramon Miquel Munoz – $498,947
Marco Streda – $341,879
Dominykas Mikolaitis – $234,255
Stoyan Obreshkov – $160,512
Hannes Speiser – $109,982
Peiyuan Sun – $75,360