Poker Coverage:

Ivan Zufic Wins ARIA $15,000 High Roller Poker Tournament For $198,000

The World Series of Poker Bracelet Winner From Defeated A Field of 33 Entries, Topping Alex Foxen Heads-Up For The Title


The third and final February ARIA High Roller event came to a close in the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 27. The $15,000 buy-in high stakes no-limit hold ’em tournament attracted a total of 33 entries, building a prize pool of $495,000. After roughly 16 hours, the field was narrowed down to a champion: Ivan Zufic. The World Series of Poker bracelet holder from Croatia earned $198,000 for the win.

This was the fourth-largest score of Zufic’s tournament career, with the biggest being the $855,460 payday he secured after topping a massive field of 15,205 entries in a 2020 WSOP Online $500 buy-in no-limit hold’em event. Zufic now has more than $1.9 million in career earnings to his name.

In addition to the title and the money, Zufic was also awarded 288 Card Player Player of the Year points after coming out on top. This was his first POY-qualified score of the year. The 198 PokerGO Tour points he locked up as the champion were enough to see him climb into 20th place on that leaderboard.

The top five finishers cashed in this event, with 2018 POY award winner Jake Schindler bursting the money bubble when his pocket queens failed to hold against the A-9 suited of Zufic. 2021 WSOP Europe main event runner-up finisher Johan Guilbert was the first to hit the rail inside the money, earning $34,650 when his KDiamond SuitQDiamond Suit lost out to the ADiamond Suit6Heart Suit of Zufic.

Six-time WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu called off the last of his short stack with ADiamond Suit5Diamond Suit on an ASpade Suit9Diamond Suit3Club Suit flop. Alex Foxen had raised preflop and then bet enough to put Negreanu all-in for his last few big blinds. Foxen’s 8Spade Suit8Heart Suit had been outflopped, but the 8Club Suit on the turn saw him take an insurmountable lead. The 6Spade Suit on the river sealed Negreanu’s fate, sending him home with $54,450 for his fourth-place showing. He remains in third place on poker’s all-time money list, with more than $44.8 million in total scores to his name.

Zufic fell to the bottom of the leaderboard early in short-handed play but managed to win a big pot without showdown versus then-leader Sean Perry to surge into the chip lead. Perry was ultimately knocked out in third place when he bet-called all-in on a QSpade Suit5Club Suit2Diamond Suit7Spade Suit2Spade Suit with QClub Suit10Club Suit. Zufic showed 8Diamond Suit2Heart Suit for trip deuces to take down the pot and narrow the field to just two. Perry earned $79,200 for his sixth POY-qualified final-table finish of 2022. With two titles, 1,485 points and $1,295,600 in year-to-date POY earnings, Perry now sits in fourth place in the 2022 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.

Heads-up play began with Zufic holding nearly a 3.5:1 chip lead over Foxen. It didn’t take long for the final hand of the event to arrive. Foxen moved all-in for 640,000 from the button and Zufic called with 5Spade Suit5Club Suit. Foxen was alead with 7Spade Suit7Heart Suit. but a JDiamond Suit5Heart Suit3Diamond Suit6Club Suit10Club Suit gave Zufic a winning set. Foxen earned $128,700 as the runner-up, along with 240 POY points. This was his seventh final table of the year already. With 1,076 points he currently occupies the 18th-place spot on the leaderboard.

Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded in this event:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points PGT Points
1 Ivan Zufic $198,000 288 198
2 Alex Foxen $128,700 240 129
3 Sean Perry $79,200 192 79
4 Daniel Negreanu $54,450 144 54
5 Johan Guilbert $34,650 120 35

Photo credit: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.