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The 2022 World Series of Poker (WSOP) has concluded and Pennsylvania's Benjamin Kaupp has secured the final bracelet after taking down the Tournament of Champions for a career-best $250,000. Kaupp, who takes home his first bracelet, defeated Raul Garza after a brief heads-up battle to resign the runner-up to a $150,000 conslation prize.
The Tournament of Champions was exclusively available to the 570 bracelet and Circuit ring winners from the 2022 WSOP season. A total of 470 players entered the freeroll in an attempt to win a piece of the $1,000,000 prize pool.
Players who made deep runs in the event include Robert Cowen (4th - $75,000) and Yuliyan Kolev (7th - $27,500), both of whom won their second bracelets earlier in the series, as well as ring winners like Gregory Wish (6th - $37,500) and Eric Bensimhon ($20,000).
WSOP Tournament of Champions Final Table Results
|PLACE||PLAYER||COUNTRY||PRIZE (IN USD)|
|1||Benjamin Kaupp||United States||$250,000|
|2||Raul Garza||United States||$150,000|
|3||Ryan Messick||United States||$100,000|
|4||Robert Cowen||United Kingdom||$75,000|
|5||Ali Eslami||United States||$50,000|
|6||Gregory Wish||United States||$37,500|
Kaupp qualified for the Tournament of Champions after winning a $215 WSOP.com PA Circuit event for $14,954. He now takes home more than 15 times that as he adds a second piece of WSOP hardware to his arsenal.
"It doesn’t feel real yet. It just hasn’t sunk in quite yet," Kaupp told PokerNews after the victory. "Before this tournament (started), I was going to be just happy to cash.”
The Pennsylvanian player said he started playing poker 15 years ago with friends and discovered online poker about 12 years ago.
“I’ve just been grinding online for the last couple of years, taking it pretty seriously," he said. "I play a lot of the Circuit events online ... I didn’t really play poker for a while until the last couple of years when it was legal in Pennsylvania again.”
Even without a keyboard or mouse, Kaupp had no trouble getting through a field of accomplished bracelet and ring winners to earn his first bracelet and the six-figure score.
“It was very tough," he said about the tournament. "The final table, everyone was very tough, very aggressive, great with live reads, it seemed. And things went my way, and here I am.”
Final Table Action
Day 3 began with 16 players and moved down to a single table within the first few hours of play.
Gianluca Speranza fell in ninth place for $15,000 when his ace-seven was dominated by the ace-king of Wish to end the Italian's run for a second bracelet. Later, the KFC bucket-sporting Kolev went out in seventh for $27,500 when he ran pocket eights into the queens of Kaupp.
After Ali Eslami's elimination in fifth place for $50,000, it looked like Kaupp would be going out in fourth when he moved in with pocket nines against the cowboys of Ryan Messick. However, a nine appeared on the turn to keep Kaupp's tournament dreams alive.
Messick, who immediately flew to Las Vegas to play the event after winning an online bracelet event at the 11th hour, ended up falling in third place for $100,000 when his ace-four couldn't hold up against Kaupp's king-ten.
Heads-up play lasted just four hands as Kaupp used his dominant chip advantage to put pressure on Garza, who won a WSOPC Cherokee $1,100 buy-in event in February for his first ring and $74,995. The Texan managed to double up once but ultimately couldn't overcome the chip deficit.
In the final hand, Garza moved all-in with king-jack, and Kaupp called with ace-six. Neither player improved their holdings. Kaupp's ace-high was good enough to send Garza out in second for $150,000, his second-largest score to date.
That wraps the PokerNews live reporting team's coverage of the final event of the 2022 WSOP. Check out the WSOP hub to see any tournament action from the summer you may have missed.
In the fourth hand of heads-up play, Raul Garza pushed all-in for 2,150,000 on the button and Benjamin Kaupp asked for a count in the big blind before he made the call.
The flop and turn kept Garza still in contention. However, he found no help on the river to become the second place finisher for $150,000. In a battle of the WSOP Circuit ring winners, it was Kaupp who came out on top as he earned his maiden WSOP gold bracelet and the top prize worth $250,000
A recap of today's action is to follow.
Benjamin Kaupp jammed the first button with the and Raul Garza forfeited the big blind with . Kaupp then received a walk with and he jammed the third hand of heads-up play with Garza calling.
The flop improved Garza to a pair and Kaupp needed running cards. One of them was the turn but the river paired the board as Garza doubled for 850,000.
The two WSOP Circuit Ring winners Benjamin Kaupp with 83 big blinds and Raul Garza with ten big blinds are back in their seats to battle for the top prize of $250,000 and coveted gold bracelet.
A few orbits later, the next open-shove by Ryan Messick for 1,900,000 in the small blind followed.
Benjamin Kaupp reluctantly called in the big blind with the words "I don't know if I am supposed, feel like you are tight for a reason".
The flop vaulted Kaupp into the lead while Messick then gained some hope with the on the turn. However, the river brought no help to Messick and he was eliminated in third place for $100,000.
Ryan Messick eventually had the chance to be the first player to push all-in for 950,000 and Benjamin Kaupp reraised out of the small blind to isolate, Raul Garza snap-folded.
The flop kept Messick ahead while his girlfriend Jessica on the rail kept demanding for a queen. Instead, more equity followed with the turn and the chants for a queen followed. However, it was the on the river that ensured the double-up for Messick.
"Eight works too," Messick said while turning around as Jessica started cheering even more after the good news.
- Slepe stave:
Several orbits with the very same procedure brought the stack sizes of the two shorter stacks further down. Raul Garza then pushed for 1,750,000 on the button with the , prompting Ryan Messick in the small blind to ask for a count with the in a very similar spot than not long ago. He then folded and Benjamin Kaupp also let go of in the big blind.
Once Kaupp forfeited his chance to raise the next button, Garza jammed in the small blind with and Messick sigh-folded the with sheer agony.
Benjamin Kaupp raised it up to 260,000 on the button and Raul Garza jammed for 1,600,000 in the small blind. Ryan Messick forfeited his big blind and Kaupp also let go after brief consideration.
Messick limped the next small blind and folded when Kaupp applied maximum pressure with his big stack.
Kaupp raised to 350,000 in the small blind the next hand with the , picking up a call by Garza in the big blind holding the . The bet of just 150,000 by Kaupp on the flop followed and Garza folded.
Kaupp raised the next button to 260,000 and collected the blinds and big blind ante.