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.