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Chicken-Wielding Poker Player Frank Stepuchin Wins World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Championship

Real Estate Developer Parties His Way To First WPT Title and $548,825 Top Prize

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Winner, winner, chicken wing dinner!

Armed with a literal forked chicken wing in one hand, and a steady supply of beers in the other, Frank “The Tank” Stepuchin ran over a stacked final table at the Gardens Poker Championship for his first World Poker Tour title and the $548,825 first-place prize.

“People oftentimes think I’m a guy passed middle age who’s hammering beers, and doesn’t look like he’s ever paying attention so they assume the wrong thing," Stepuchin told the WPT after his win.

The event, which began back in January at the Gardens Casino in Los Angeles, was the first of three delayed final tables to be set on the WPT, and the second to wrap up at the HyperX Esports Arena at Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The $10,000 buy-in tournament drew 253 entrants to create a total prize pool of $2,428,800.

Stepuchin went into the two-month break before the six-handed finale with a sizable chip lead over his more experienced tablemates, and was never really threatened during the 72-hand final table.

Frenchman Jonathan Abdellatif was the first to exit in sixth place, earning $110,225. He was followed to the rail by Ray Qartomy in fifth place. Qartomy pocketed $144,595 for making his fourth WPT final table.

Former online grinder Brent Roberts picked up $192,465 for fourth place, which was just shy of the $251,035 he earned back in 2015 when he finished third in the WPT Legends of Poker main event.

Like Qartomy, two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Steve Sung was also at his fourth WPT final table. The Torrance, California poker pro now has nearly $6 million in live tournament earnings after adding another $259,880 to his tournament resume.

Shannon ShorrStepuchin went into heads-up play with longtime tournament grinder Shannon Shorr sporting a nearly 6:1 chip advantage, but Shorr was able to chip away during the first nine hands of battle.

On the tenth hand, however, Shorr raised the button and Stepuchin defended his big blind. The flop fell 8Diamond Suit7Spade Suit5Club Suit and Stepuchin called a continuation bet. The turn was the ASpade Suit and Shorr bet again.

This time Stepuchin raised all-in, and Shorr quickly called off the rest of his stack holding 8Heart Suit5Spade Suit for two pair. Stepuchin had just ADiamond Suit4Club Suit for top pair and a straight draw, and was in danger of evening out the stacks.

Fortunately for the real estate developer and full-time poker enthusiast, the river was the 4Spade Suit, giving him aces up and the final pot of the tournament. Shorr banked $355,885 as the runner-up, putting him at $7.1 million for his career. In addition to the $548,825 prize, Stepuchin also earned a Hublot Big Bang Steel Watch, and a $15,000 seat into the Tournament of Champions.

Stepuchin’s previous best score was the $149,220 he won for taking down an event at the 2018 Grand Slam of Poker.

Other notables to finish in the money included Yevgeniy Timoshenko (31st), Kitty Kuo (28th), Ankush Mandavia (27th), Jim Collopy (26th), Mohsin Charania (25th), Adam Geyer (24th), Marvin Rettenmaier (11th), Garret Greer (8th), and Toby Lewis (7th).

Here are the final table results.

Place Player Name Payout POY Points
1 Frank Stepuchin $548,825 1,020
2 Shannon Shorr $355,885 850
3 Steve Sung $259,880 680
4 Brent Roberts $192,465 510
5 Ray Qartomy $144,595 425
6 Jonathan Abdellatif $110,225 340

*Winner photo courtesy of WPT/Joe Giron.