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Matt Waxman Wins 2018 World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions

Florida Poker Pro Denies Darren Elias Fifth WPT Title En Route To $463,375 Prize


The third running of the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions drew a field of 80 entrants. Players who won a WPT title during season XVI received their buy-in as part of their first-place prize, but past champions had the option of buying in for a rake-free $15,000. Additionally, the WPT added $100,000 to the tournament, bringing the total prize pool to $1,365,000.

The three-day event wrapped up late Saturday night, and for much of the final table, it looked like four-time WPT champion Darren Elias was destined to win his fifth, and second in the last week after taking down the inaugural WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic..

The New Jersey-based poker pro came into the final table with the biggest stack after a double knockout busted both Ryan Riess and J.C. Tran to end day 2, and he continued to run hot, taking out Nick Schulman and David Benyamine. Then, during three-handed play, Matt Waxman’s pocket jacks cracked Elias’ pocket queens to cut his stack in half.

A few orbits later, Elias was eliminated by Matas Cimbolas to set up a heads-up battle with Waxman. Cimbolas, who won the WPT UK main event back in 2014, lasted 38 hands before his bluff was picked off by Waxman’s second pair to end his tournament run in second place. The Lithuanian poker pro earned $265,590.

Waxman, whose first WPT title came at the 2011 Grand Prix de Paris, earned $463,375 for the win. The Floridian now has more than $4 million in live tournament earnings, including a WSOP bracelet and WSOP Circuit ring.

Here is a look at the results.

Place Player Payout
1 Matt Waxman $463,375*
2 Matas Cimbolas $265,590
3 Darren Elias $177,060
4 David Benyamine $123,045
5 Nick Schulman $89,290
6 J.C. Tran $67,800
7 Ryan Riess $53,985
8 Sam Panzica $45,175
9 Nam Le $39,840
10 Justin Young $39,840

*Includes a $15,000 seat into next season’s WPT Tournament of Champions.

**Photos courtesy of the WPT/Joe Giron.