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Matthew Wantman Wins 2019 World Poker Tour Aria Summer Championship

Poker Pro Tops Field of 192 Entries To Win $443,475


Matthew Wantman has won the 2019 World Poker Tour Aria Summer Championship $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, overcoming a field of 192 total entries to win $443,475 and his first WPT title. The victory brought Wantman’s career live tournament earnings to more than $1.9 million.

In addition to the money and the title, Wantman was also awarded 840 Card Player Player of the Year points. This was his first POY-qualified score of the year, but it alone was enough to see him moved into 216th place in the 2019 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.

Wantman came into the final day of this event as the chip leader among the remaining six players. Wantman started the day with over 200 big blinds, and quickly added to his lead. On just the fourth hand of the day he called the all-in of short stack Ryan Laplante holding the JSpade SuitJHeart Suit. Laplante had picked up ADiamond SuitKHeart Suit to set up a classic race situation. Wantman ended up making a set of jacks to secure the pot, sending Laplante to the rail in sixth place ($89,685).

Wantman’s hot start continued when he picked up pocket queens just six hands later and called the all-in of Jim Collopy. Wantman’s pocket pair held up against Collopy’s AClub Suit8Diamond Suit to lock up his second knockout just ten hands into the day. Collopy earned $117,640 for his fifth-place showing in this event.

Wantman didn’t have to wait long to pick up another big pocket pair. Just five hands later he looked down at QHeart SuitQClub Suit and raised to 40,000 from the button. Kevin Eyster shoved for 375,000 from the big blind and Wantman quickly called. Both players ended up making a flush on a 7Heart Suit5Club Suit3Club Suit6Club Suit10Club Suit board, with Wantman’s QClub Suit earning him the pot. Eyster took home $156,220 as the fourth-place finisher.

With that Wantman surged up to 287 big blinds, making him the runaway chip leader with three players remaining. Three-handed play continued for four hours, with 140 hands played over that time span. The stalemate came to an end when two-time WPT champion Art Papazyan raised to 85,000 on the button with QSpade SuitJHeart Suit. Igor Kurganov three-bet to 300,000 out of the small blind holding AHeart SuitQDiamond Suit. Wantman got out of the way and Papazyan moved all-in for 1,545,000. Kurganov quickly called and the board came down ASpade SuitKHeart SuitJSpade Suit7Club Suit5Club Suit. Kurganov made a pair of aces to knock Papazyan out in third place ($209,980).

With that knockout Kurganov closed the gap on Wantman considerably, taking 3,610,000into heads-up play against the 4,070,000 of Wantman. The two battled it out for 63 hands, with Wantman holding the lead throughout. By the time the final hand arose Kurganov had fallen down to 1,425,000. He moved all-in from the button with ADiamond Suit6Club Suit and Wantman quickly called with the AClub SuitJSpade Suit. The JHeart Suit10Heart Suit10Spade Suit6Diamond Suit4Spade Suit runout secured the pot and the title for Wantman. Kurganov was awarded $285,650 for his runner-up showing.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Winnings (USD) POY Points
1 Matthew Wantman $443,475 840
2 Igor Kurganov $285,650 700
3 Artur Papazyan $209,980 560
4 Kevin Eyster $156,220 420
5 Jim Collopy $117,640 350
6 Ryan Laplante $89,685 280

Winner photo credit: Jamie Thomson / WPT.