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This Week's Big Winner: Isaac Kempton Takes Down WSOP Circuit Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Main Event

by Julio Rodriguez |  Published: Mar 25, 2020

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Isaac Kempton has won the 2020 World Series of Poker Circuit Seminole Hard Rock Tampa $1,700 no-limit hold’em main event. The 22-year-old student and poker player from Newark, Delaware defeated a field of 1,162 total entries to take home his first WSOPC gold ring and the top prize of $290,974.

“I probably got into poker four years ago right as I was heading off to college. I saw some YouTube videos of the old high-stakes poker days, and once you watch one, you start watching more, and then you get drawn into the rabbit hole, you just want to keep watching,” Kempton told WSOP reporters about his road to this win. “I played for fun for two years, and since I was pretty good at it, I decided to take it seriously, so I started actually studying and trying to get better instead of just playing on the weekends without much thought. I was able to grind my way up and now I’m here.”

Kempton came into the final day as the chip leader with 25 players remaining. By the time the final table of nine was set, he sat in second chip position behind Paul Balzano. He fell down the leaderboard a bit as final-table action continued, but managed to win a key race to surge back up the chip counts.

Here are the five hands that propelled Kempton to the title.

Tournament: WSOP Circuit Tampa Main Event
Buy-In: $1,700
No. of Entries: 1,162
Prize Pool: $1,760,430
1st Place Prize: $290,974

The Action

A seemingly innocent bet of 400,000 from Kempton on a board reading KHeart Suit QClub Suit 2Heart Suit 3Club Suit led to a shove from Ott. Kempton immediately called with ASpade Suit KSpade Suit for top pair, top kicker, and Ott was drawing slim with pocket eights. The river was the 7Diamond Suit, and Ott was sent to the rail in tenth place to collect his $24,353 cash.

The Action

With seven players left, Kempton found himself spiraling down the chip counts and opted to shove his stack of 3,320,000 over an open from Jackson. Jackson made the call with pocket nines, which was racing against Kempton’s AClub Suit KHeart Suit. Jackson was a favorite to score the knockout after a flop of QHeart Suit 4Spade Suit 3Spade Suit, but the ADiamond Suit on the turn gave Kempton the advantage. The 2Club Suit on the river secured his double up to second on the leaderboard.

The Action

Manjura raised all-in from the cutoff for his last 3,450,000 and was called by Kempton on the button. Balzano also called from the small blind, and the dealer spread a flop of KDiamond Suit 10Heart Suit 5Spade Suit. Kempton moved all-in, and Balzano folded. Manjura must have felt pretty good about his ASpade Suit KHeart Suit, for top pair, but Kempton held pocket aces which left Manjura drawing slim. He was officially drawing dead when the case ace hit the turn, ending his tournament run in fourth place for $103,434.

The Action

On the very next hand after losing Manjura, Balzano moved all in for his last 15 big blinds with JHeart Suit 10Heart Suit and was looked up by the chip leader with AHeart Suit 9Diamond Suit. The flop fell AClub Suit 8Heart Suit 7Club Suit, giving Kempton the lead and leaving Balzano hoping for one of the three remaining nines. The turn and river were bricks, however, and Balzano was eliminated in third place, banking $135,794. With that, Kempton took a 5:2 lead over Jackson entering heads-up play.

The Action

After the two heads-up players saw a flop of 10Spade Suit 8Heart Suit 3Diamond Suit, Kempton checked and Jackson fired in a bet of 650,000. Kempton called, and the turn was the 4Diamond Suit. Kempton checked again, and this time Jackson bet 2,500,000. Kempton called, and the river was the AHeart Suit. Kempton checked for a final time, and Jackson took about 15 seconds before announcing he was all in for his last 8,900,000. Kempton studied the board and his opponent for about a minute before making the call, tabling just QSpade Suit 8Club Suit for third pair. Jackson could only shake his head as he turned over JSpade Suit 9Heart Suit for a busted straight draw, ending his tournament run in second place for $179,833. Kempton dragged the final pot of the tournament, and with it earned a WSOP Circuit gold ring, and the $290,974 first-place prize.

Final Table Results

1. Isaac Kempton — $290,974
2. David Jackson — $179,833
3. Paul Balzano — $135,794
4. Robert Manjura-Boody — $103,434
5. James Calderaro — $79,480
6. Ioannis Patsourakis — $61,616
7. Francisco Gomez — $48,195
8. Brad Sailor — $38,039
9. Fares Santana — $30,297