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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. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] 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 [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qh"] to Davies’ [poker card="Ac"][poker card="5c"]. Davies, a WPT Champions Club member, did flop some outs to a chop but he was ultimately done in thanks to the [poker card="Jd"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="3s"][poker card="As"][poker card="8d"] 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 [poker card="Jc"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"] 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 [poker card="Kc"] 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 [poker card="Jh"][poker card="9c"] for a pair of jacks, but Foxen had him out-kicked with the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Js"]. The river was the [poker card="4c"] 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.
The Wynn Las Vegas poker room stepped up its holiday game this year with the first-ever Wynn Winter Classic. Anchoring the schedule was the $5,300 Championship and it attracted a field of 557 entries to generate a prize pool of $2.74 million. Taking home the inaugural title was Michael Rocco, who earned $540,800 in first-place prize money. Rocco defeated Michael Dyer in heads-up play to win the title. Dyer gained notoriety from his third-place finish in the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event, when he took home $3.75 million in prize money. For his runner-up finish in the Wynn Poker Winter Classic Championship, Dyer earned $353,242. Also placing at the final table were Louis Salter (4th - $168,312), Joe Kuether (5th- $124,690), and Adam Hendrix (8th - $63,852). Bubbling the final table was Galen Hall, who took home $45,987 for his 10th-place finish. Right behind him were notables Ankush Mandavia and Kahle Burns in 11th and 12th places, respectively. Mandavia also earned $45,987 and then Burns took home $39,474. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Final Table Results 1st: Michael Rocco - $540,800 2nd: Michael Dyer - $353,242 3rd: Ben Farrell - $239,789 4th: Louis Salter - $168,312 5th: Joe Kuether - $124,690 6th: Matt Yarra - $96,738 7th: Tomas Soderstrom - $77,006 8th: Adam Hendrix - $63,852 9th: Josh Bergman - $53,987 According to live reporting provided by PokerNews, the final hand between Rocco and Dyer saw Dyer open with a raise to 1 million and Rocco call to see the flop come down [poker card="Ks"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3d"]. Both players checked and the dealer landed the [poker card="Td"] on the turn. Rocco led for 2 million, Dyer called, and the river was the [poker card="2h"]. Rocco, having Dyer covered, shoved for effectively 9 million. Dyer called with the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Qc"] for ace high. Rocco had him beat with the [poker card="Kc"][poker card="6h"] for two pair and won the tournament. Others to cash in the event were Shannon Shorr (15th - $34,325), Justin Bonomo (25th - $19,797), Matt Glantz (31st - $17,290), Maria Ho (39th - $15,101), and Cliff Josephy (54th - $11,619). Gerhart and Kamphues Also Score Big at Wynn The $5,300 Championship wasn’t the only big event as part of the 2019 Wynn Winter Classic schedule. Two events that stood out were the $600 NL $250,000 Guarantee and $1,100 NL $500,000 Guarantee tournaments. In the $600 NL $250,000 Guarantee, a field of 727 entries generated a prize pool of $380,366. The top 80 places paid, and it was Kevin Gerhart walking away with the lion’s share of the prize pool. Gerhart won the event for a score of $69,561. In the $1,100 NL $500,000 Guarantee, a field of 1,230 entries created a prize pool of $1.204 million. Germany's Timo Kamphues emerged victorious to win $202,787. After this result, Kamphues went over to Bellagio and finished seventh in the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $273,695.