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When the final six players in the World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Championship bagged up their chips on January 13, 2020 they knew there was going to be a delay before they got the chance to crown a champion. They just didn't know it was going to last 422 days. Originally scheduled to be played on March 31, 2020 at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, the final table was ultimately postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. With live poker slowly opening back up in Sin City, the six players, including chip leader Chance Kornuth, were brought into the PokerGo studio at the Aria Hotel & Casino to resume play on Wednesday night. It took just an hour of play to go from six players to five and it ended what could have been an historic night. From UTG, Tuan Phan raised to 60,000, Chance Kornuth called from the cutoff, and Qing Liu, who won the WPT Venetian on Tuesday night, defended his big blind. Liu then led for 100,000 after the [poker card="qs"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3c"] flop. Phan and Kornuth both called. The turn was the [poker card="2d"] and this time Liu checked. Phan bet 350,000 forcing Kornuth toss his hand into the muck before Liu moved all in for 755,000. Phan called and tabled [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] for an overpair while Liu showed [poker card="5h"][poker card="3d"] for bottom two pair. The river was the [poker card="qh"] to give Phan a better two pair and end Liu's run at winning WPT titles in back-to-back days with a sixth place finish. On the very next hand, Phan sent another player to the cashier. Straton Wilhelm moved all in from the cutoff for 430,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="th"] and Phan snap-called from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"]. The [poker card="4d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="9c"][poker card="3h"] runout offered Wilhelm no relief and he was eliminated in fifth. Kornuth started the final table with the chip lead but wasn't able to turn it into his first WPT title. After a little more than 2.5 hours of four-handed action and playing with the shortest stack, Kornuth came out on the wrong end of a battle of the blinds. Action folded to Kornuth in the small blind and he called with [poker card="6c"][poker card="6d"]. Markus Gonsalves moved all in from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="5c"] and Kornuth called. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"] flop moved Gonsalves ahead and left Kornuth drawing thin. The [poker card="2h"] turn and [poker card="kc"] river were both bricks for Kornuth and he was done in fourth place. Just 12 hands later, Gonsalves found another victim. Phan opened to 125,000 from the button before Jonathan Cohen moved all in for 1,465,000 from the small blind. Gonsalves re-shoved from the big blind and Phan quickly got out of the way. Cohen showed [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"] but got bad news when Gonsalves showed [poker card="tc"][poker card="th"]. The [poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6h"] flop changed nothing and Cohen could only watch as the [poker card="ad"] turn and [poker card="8c"] completed the board to seal his fate with a third place finish. Gonzalves was ahead by a 5-1 margin when heads up play began. Phan seemingly refused to play any big pots with Gonsalves and three hours into heads up play, Phan wrestled the chip lead away. It turned out to be all for naught however as Gonsalves quickly took the lead back and then finished Phan off for good. Gonsalves completed his small blind and Phan checked to send both players to a [poker card="9h"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3h"] flop. Phan check-called Gonsalves' bet of 200,000. Phan checked again after the [poker card="qs"] fell on the turn. Gonsalves bet 600,000 and this time Phan moved all in for 3,075,000. Gonsalves called and showed [poker card="th"][poker card="4h"] for a flush while Phan had flopped bottom two pair with [poker card="5d"][poker card="3d"]. The [poker card="js"] river failed to fill up Phan and he was eliminated in second place, leaving Gonsalves to collect the $554,495 first place prize and etch his name onto the WPT Champions Cup. "I feel like he ran really well against me heads up. I was getting frustrated, when he took the chip lead from me I started to get frustrated. I was more tired than anything," Gonsalves said. He also couldn't help but point out that the win gives him one more WPT title than a certain 15-time WSOP bracelet winner. “I think I’ve come close once or twice before so it feels nice to finally win one. All my friends have them. That’s going to be great to troll Phil [Hellmuth], that’s for sure,” Gonsalves said. WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table Payouts Matthew Gonsalves - $554,495 Tuan Phan - $359,650 Jonathan Cohen - $263,090 Chance Kornuth - $195,085 Straton Wilhelm - $146,655 Qing Liu - $111,795
The first World Poker Tour event of 2020 reached its final table on Monday. Now, just six players remain in the Season XVIII WPT Gardens Poker Championship, with Chance Kornuth leading the way. The final six will be on hiatus until Tuesday, March 31, when they will resume play at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The final six come from a 257-entry field and are guaranteed $111,795 in prize money. First place takes home $554,495, including a $15,000 buy-in into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, and a Hublot watch. Joining Kornuth at the final table are Markus Gonsalves, Tuan Phan, Jonathan Cohen, Qing Liu, and Straton Wilhelm. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table Seat 1: Straton Wilhelm - 435,000 Seat 2: Markus Gonsalves - 2,370,000 Seat 3: Qing Liu - 795,000 Seat 4: Tuan Phan - 2,070,000 Seat 5: Jonathan Cohen - 1,615,000 Seat 6: Chance Kornuth - 2,995,000 How the Final Table Was Reached The Season XVIII WPT Gardens Poker Championship had a field of 257 entries. It wasn't the largest turnout for a WPT Main Tour event, but the $10,000 buy-in attracted some of poker’s biggest names and generated a prize pool of $2.467 million. Among those to compete were Darren Elias, Anthony Zinno, Maria Ho, and Phil Laak, but none of them made the money. Entering Day 3 of the tournament, 48 players remained. The top 33 places paid, which meant whoever finished in 34th place would win the unwanted title of 'bubble boy.' The player to fall in 34th was former WPT Player of the Year Joe Serock, who couldn't win a flip with the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kd"] against the pocket queens of Gonsalves. After the money bubble burst, WPT Champions Club member Larry Greenberg was the first player to bust. Others followed him to the payout desk, including David Peters (30th - $18,825) and David 'ODB' Baker (18th - $25,130), before Day 3 ended with 14 competitors left. Among the final 14 returning for Day 4 was Jared Griener, who ultimately finished in 13th place for $35,720. Griener is no stranger to WPT success in the Southern California region. He’s cashed seven times in WPT Main Tour events in Southern California, and that’s the region where all of his WPT final tables have taken place. Additionally, Griener has a deep run in a WPTDeepStacks event in San Diego and two deep runs in WPT500 LA. On Day 4, Ali Imsirovic busted in ninth place to take home $53,950, and then Sebastiaan de Jonge finished in eighth for $67,790. One more player needed to be eliminated to set the official TV final table, and it happened when Phan knocked out Qi Hu in seventh place. Kornuth the One To Beat With a stack of 2.995 million, Kornuth is the player to catch at the final table. He's been one of the big stacks throughout the event, including finishing atop the field after Day 3. Kornuth came into this event with more than $7.4 million in live tournament earnings and one previous WPT final table under his belt. That previous final table was a sixth-place finish in the Season XII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown for $247,954. Kornuth has several other deep runs in World Poker Tour events, including a handful that have come at the $10,000 buy-in level, but his first WPT title has eluded him. Closest to Kornuth on the leaderboard is Gonsalves, who bagged 2.37 million in chips for the final table. Like Kornuth, Gonsalves has been close to a WPT title before, but he's also yet to win one. Gonsalves' deepest run in a WPT event came in the Season XIV WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event, where he took fourth and picked up a payday of $91,616. Gonsalves also has a 10th-place finish in the Season XIV WPT Five Diamond for $68,181. The final six will now wait until the end of March to play for the title in Las Vegas, as the event moves from the Gardens Casino to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. There is no former WPT champion in the final six, which means there will be a brand new member of the WPT Champions Club when this one is all said and done.