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Sean Winter Rides Lucky Sevens To Poker Masters Purple Jacket

High-Stakes Pro Moves Into Second In Player Of The Year Race

by Erik Fast |  Published: Nov 02, 2022


It sure seems like Sean Winter had a feeling he might hit the jackpot during the 2022 Poker Masters high-stakes tournament festival, which was held in late September and early October in the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino.

According to three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and PokerGO commentator Nick Schulman, Winter had reached out to him earlier in the series to share photos of his repeated sightings of the number sequence 7-7-7. It began with a picture of a truck from a local Las Vegas company called Triple 7 Movers on the first day of the series and continued with multiple snapshots of three sevens hitting the flop.

“[I’ve] seen a lot, but Sean Winter sends this truck pic day 1 of the Poker Masters. Alright lol,” said Shulman in his Twitter post. “Then throughout the week says he keeps seeing 7-7-7 on the flop. Takes pics, talks about it every day. But just check out the last pic please.”

The last photo that Schulman referenced is a broadcast screenshot of the final standings in the race for the Poker Masters Purple Jacket. What it shows is that Winter cashed for exactly $777,000 during the series, the most of any player.

In fact, Winter’s performance saw him accrue enough PGT rankings points to not only earn the jacket but also the $50,000 bonus as the player of the series, beating out Schulman himself who finished in second place overall.

This was Winter’s second PGT player of the series win, having secured similar honors in the U.S. Poker Open earlier this year thanks to a late surge at that festival. The Jacksonville, Florida native now has more than $22.9 million in career tournament earnings.

Winter’s strong performance at this series also helped propel him toward the top of the standings in the Card Player POY race. He has three titles and 16 POY-qualified final-table finishes in 2022. With 5,198 points and more than $3.4 million in year-to-date POY earnings, he now sits in second place on this year’s leaderboard, which you can see on pg. 40.

He trails current leader Stephen Chidwick by 979 points. He is also just outside the top five in the PGT year-long rankings.

Below is a look back at the 2022 Poker Masters, a 10-event series that made a dramatic impact on the POY leaderboard heading into the final quarter of the year.

Kicking Things Off

The first six events on the schedule all cost $10,000 to enter, with the kickoff contest being a no-limit hold’em tournament. Five-time WSOP bracelet winner Jeremy Ausmus emerged victorious in the end, defeating none other than Nick Schulman heads-up to secure the first title of the festival.

Incredibly, the exact same pair of players had met with a WSOP Online bracelet up for grabs less than a week earlier, with Ausmus also coming out on top that time. The 43-year-old poker pro defeated a field of 85 entries in the event to earn $204,000 in prize money and take the early lead in the race for the jacket. He went on to make one more deep run in the series, finishing seventh in the very next event for another $38,000. With three POY-qualified titles, 16 final-table finishes, and more than $3.4 million in POY earnings, Ausmus is currently ranked third in the POY standings.

The second event on the schedule was another $10,000 no-limit hold’em tournament. Its champion was Ethan Yau, one of the biggest names in poker vlogging, with more than 163,000 fans subscribed to his YouTube channel.

Yau is known to those subscribers as ‘Rampage.’ He lived up to that nickname when he knocked out four of his five opponents at the final table on his way to a runaway victory for $197,600. This was Yau’s first-ever high roller poker tournament victory. It will join his rapidly expanding poker résumé that already includes a WSOP Online bracelet win and a main event title at the 2021 Mid-States Poker Tour Venetian stop. Yau’s lifetime earnings now exceed $960,000.

Yau defeated bracelet winner Alex Foxen heads-up for the win. This was his 18th final-table showing of 2022, with four titles won and nearly $6.6 million in POY earnings to date. The high-stakes regular now sits in eighth place in the POY rankings and fourth in the PGT standings.

Dutch pot-limit Omaha specialist Ronald Keijzer made his way to this year’s Poker Masters series to partake in some high-stakes four-card tournament action. The trip paid off in a major way when Keijzer emerged victorious from a field of 81 entries in the $10,000 buy-in PLO event, earning $205,500 and the second recorded live tournament title of his career.

This was Keijzer’s second-largest score yet, trailing only the $475,033 he secured as the winner of the $3,000 PLO six-max event at the 2018 WSOP. He now has more than $846,000 in cashes under his belt.

Less than a year removed from a runner-up finish in the 2021 WSOP $10,000 limit hold’em championship event, FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver once again found himself heads-up with a prestigious poker title on the line. For the second time, the Editor in Chief at the data-driven news organization fell just short of securing the win. It was Alaskan poker pro Adam Hendrix that nabbed the win, earning $192,400 in the third $10,000 no-limit hold’em event of the series.

This was the third title and 10th final-table finish of the year for Hendrix. The 420 POY points he locked up for the win in this event were enough to see him climb into 10th place in the 2022 POY race standings. He now has nearly $4 million in career tournament earnings, with almost $1.5 million of that coming from his 38 in-the-money finishes recorded this year.

Silver took home $140,600 as the runner-up finisher, the second-largest score on his resume. The former semi-professional poker player turned media maven now has more than $515,000 in recorded tournament earnings.

Nick Guagenti outlasted a field of 62 entries in the $10,000 buy-in eight-game mix event to earn his first PGT title and the top prize of $186,000. This was the third-largest tournament score of his career, trailing only his win in the 2020 WSOPO $2,000 no-limit hold’em event ($305,433) and a third-place showing in the 2019 WSOP H.O.R.S.E. event ($259,533). Guagenti now has more than $2 million in recorded tournament scores to his name.

The final $10,000 buy-in event on the schedule was another no-limit hold’em tournament. This one drew a field of 97 entries, which was the largest of the series. Two-time bracelet winner Martin Zamani earned $223,100 as the champion, the third-largest live score of his career. He now has more than $4 million in lifetime cashes to his name.

Raising The Stakes

Events 7-9 at the Poker Masters all featured $25,000 buy-ins. First up after the already high stakes were raised even further was another no-limit hold’em event. This one drew a total of 69 entries, creating a prize pool of $1,725,000. After two full days of high-stakes action, Andrew Lichtenberger came away with the title and the top prize of $465,750. The 35-year-old poker pro from East Northport, New York now has nearly $14.1 million in career tournament earnings.

Lichtenberger defeated a final table that included a number of top POY contenders. Three-time bracelet winner Chance Kornuth finished fifth, banking $138,000 for his eighth final-table finish of the year, with four titles won including this year’s World Poker Tour Choctaw main event. He now sits in 14th place in the POY race as a result.

Cary Katz was at his third final table of the series, having already finished seventh in the kickoff event and second in the eight-game tournament. His fourth-place showing in this event for his 13th final-table finish of 2022 was enough to move him into 34th place in the overall POY rankings.

This event also saw Winter secure his first cash of the series. He finished as the runner-up to Lichtenberger, pocketing $345,000.

The highest buy-in pot-limit Omaha event of the series saw 40 entries made. As a result, the prize pool grew to $1,000,000, with only the top six finishers making the money. In the end, Tony Bloom was the last man standing for the top prize of $360,000.

This was the first live tournament title in 12 years for Bloom, a noted sports bettor from the United Kingdom. According to PokerGO reporters, this was his first time playing in a poker event in three years. His last recorded victory came in a heat of the Full Tilt Poker Million IX back in 2010. This most recent win was his third-largest, bringing his lifetime tournament earnings to nearly $3.3 million.

Alex Livingston was the runner-up, taking home $240,000 for his deep run. This was the third final-table finish of the series for the Canadian poker pro, bringing his earnings for the series to $386,800. The 2019 WSOP main event third-place finisher has now made nine final tables, with his one title being his bracelet win in a $1,500 seven card stud event at the series. Livingston now sits in 22nd place on the POY leaderboard as a result.

The penultimate event of the series saw six of the most accomplished tournament players in the game make day 2, with Winter being joined by Schulman, Justin Bonomo, Seth Davies, Brian Rast, and Jason Koon. Between them, the final six had more than $178 million in combined prior tournament earnings, with multiple bracelets, WPT championships, and Super High Roller Bowl rings among their noteworthy victories.

In the end, it was Winter who emerged from this stacked final table, earning $432,000 as the champion of the $25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event. Winter topped a field of 54 total entries, taking home $432,000 for the win, bringing his total for the series to $777,000. The score saw him increase his career earnings to more than $22.9 million and move into the lead in the race for the purple jacket.

Incredibly, it was Schulman who Winter beat heads-up to capture the title. Schulman cashed for $473,800 across four in-the-money finishes this series.

Jason Koon Wins The $50,000 Buy-In Finale

The 2022 Poker Masters culminated in the $50,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em finale. The tournament attracted 37 entries to build a prize pool of $1,850,000. Only the top six finishers would make the money, but seven players survived to day 2 action.

Winter, Schulman and many of the other top contenders for the purple jacket had not managed to survive to the final seven, which meant that two players came into the final day of the festival with a chance to score a photo-finish victory. Those two players were Seth Davies and Erik Seidel, with both needing to end up as the outright champion in order to surpass Winter and put on the jacket.

In the end, it was bracelet winner and high-stakes tournament regular Jason Koon who topped the stacked final table to capture the final title of the series. The 37-year-old poker pro based out of Las Vegas secured $666,000 as the champion. This win saw Koon increase his lifetime tournament earnings to more than $41.4 million in the process. He now sits in seventh place on poker’s all-time money list.

This was Koon’s second title and 15th final-table finish of 2022. He earned 408 POY points as the champion of this event, bringing his point total to 4,104. With nearly $6 million in POY earnings so far, he has climbed into 15th place in the overall standings.

“I haven’t played many tournaments, but I guess the ones I have played have gone pretty good,” Koon told PokerGO commentator Jeff Platt after the win. “I’ve played a lot less and hung out with my family, but when I’ve come to play I’ve really been focused and I feel like I’ve played some of my best poker this year.”

Koon also took home 400 PokerGO Tour points for the win, bringing his total to 449 for the series when combined with the 49 points he earned for a sixth-place showing in event no. 9.

Joining Koon among the final seven contenders were three other players among the top 10 on the all-time money list, including six-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu ($45.5 million), nine-time bracelet winner Erik Seidel ($43.1 million), and bracelet winner Mikita Badziakouski ($40.5 million).

Negreanu was ultimately eliminated on the money bubble when his pocket aces were cracked by the pocket jacks of Davies. Badziakouski ran a pair and an open-ended straight flush draw into the turned top set of four-time bracelet winner Scott Seiver. Badziakouski earned $92,500 for his 11th final-table finish of the year. He now occupies the 11th-place spot on the POY leaderboard as a result.

Davies bowed out in fifth place ($148,000) while Seidel earned $203,500 as the fourth-place finisher, ensuring that Winter would indeed be the champion of the series.

This was Seidel’s 15th final-table finish of the year, with one title and nearly $3.5 million in POY earnings secured along the way. With 4,692 total points, he has moved into fifth place in the POY race. He finished in fourth place on this series’ leaderboard, with four cashes totaling $418,900.

Seiver’s run in this event concluded when he shoved just shy 15 big blinds from the button with Q-J and ran into the pocket sixes of Koon in the small blind. Koon won the flip to take a healthy lead into heads-up play with four-time bracelet winner Adrian Mateos.

The pair went on to battle for more than an hour, with Koon pulling away to more than a 4.5:1 lead by the time the final hand was dealt. In that hand, Koon limped in with KHeart Suit 6Heart Suit and Mateos checked with ASpade Suit 2Spade Suit.

The KSpade Suit JClub Suit 2Club Suit flop saw Mateos check-call a bet of 80,000 and the turn brought the 3Heart Suit. Mateos checked again. Koon bet 325,000 into the pot of 400,000 with his top pair and Mateos called with bottom pair. The 5Spade Suit completed the board and Mateos checked a third time. Koon bet enough to put Mateos all-in.

After some consideration, the Spaniard made the hero call only to be shown the better pair. He earned $444,000 as the runner-up, surpassing $30.2 million in lifetime earnings as a result. ♠