Poker Coverage:

Andrew Wilson Wins 2022 World Poker Tour Seminole Rock 'N' Roll Poker Open Main Event

The British Poker Pro Outlasted 1,541 Entries In The $3,500 Buy-In Event To Earn $785,800

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It looked to all the world like Andrew Wilson was going to record one of the quickest and most straightforward World Poker Tour main event wins in the two-decade history of the tour. The British poker pro came into the stacked final table of the 2022 WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open $3,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event as the clear chip leader, and after just 53 hands he had already managed to secure three of the four knockouts required to set up a heads-up showdown for the title with a better than 3:1 chip advantage. Just seven hands after that, his lead had grown to 10:1 in time for a short break in play.

After the break, Wilson’s sizable chip advantage quickly vanished over the course of just 14 hands. His opponent, five-time WPT final tablist Josh Kay, managed two double-ups in the span of four hands to close the gap dramatically. Just a few deals later, Key picked off a huge multi-street bluff from Wilson to overtake the lead just half an hour after appearing to be on the ropes.

Kay’s time on top was short-lived, though, as a failed bluff attempt saw Wilson surge back into the lead. The two battled it out for another 20 hands or so, with Wilson able to steadily extend his advantage until scoring the final knockout with pocket kings.

Wilson earned $785,800 for the win, by far the largest live tournament score of his career. The British online star was also awarded 1,620 Card Player Player of the Year points. This was his first title and third final-table finish of the year. With 2,434 total points, Wilson now sits in 86th place in the 2022 POY rankings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.

This event attracted a massive field of 1,541 entries, blowing away the $2,000,000 guarantee to create a final prize pool of $4,931,200. The top 193 finishers cashed, with big names like two-time bracelet winner Jim Collopy (39th), high-stakes tournament regular Brock Wilson (34th), and three-time WPT main event winner Anthony Zinno (17th) all making deep runs.

Brian AltmanWhile Zinno, also a four-time bracelet winner, fell short of the final table, several WPT champions did survive to the final six with a chance to add to their already impressive list of accomplishments on the tour: defending champion of this event Gediminas Uselis, two-time WPT champion Chad Eveslage, and three-time WPT champion Brian Altman.

Robel Andemichael, who finished as the runner-up in the 2021 WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open main event, was the first to fall at the final table. Just five hands into the day, Andemichael got the last of his shot stack in with A-4 trailing the A-Q of Wilson and was unable to come from behind. He earned $167,000 for his sixth-place showing.

The 12th hand of the day saw Uselis’ bid for back-to-back victories come to an end. He opened on the button with A-10 and the four-bet shoved over Wilson’s three-bet from the small blind. Wilson snap-called with pocket kings and held to narrow the field to four after just a couple of orbits. Uselis was awarded $219,000 as the fifth-place finisher, increasing his lifetime earnings to more than $2.1 million.

Altman was looking to tie Darren Elias for the most WPT main event titles with four, but his quest fell a few spots short when he ran a king-high straight into the ace-high straight of Kay. With JHeart Suit9Diamond Suit8Spade Suit10Heart SuitQDiamond Suit out for a queen-high straight on the board, Altman checked with KSpade Suit8Club Suit. Kay bet big holding ASpade SuitKClub Suit and Altman clicked it back with a min-raise. Kay shoved and Altman called all-in, only to see that he was up against the one hand that could beat him. Altman earned $290,000 and 810 POY points for his latest deep run on the tour. With two POY-qualified titles and eight final-table finishes this year, Altman has moved into 37th place on the POY leaderboard.

Chad EveslageEveslage, a bracelet winner who won his second WPT title just five weeks earlier, was the next to hit the rail thanks to a preflop cooler. Josh Kay kicked off the action with a button raise holding A-2, only to have Wilson three-bet holding AHeart SuitAClub Suit. Eveslage looked down at JSpade SuitJClub Suit in the big blind and moved all-in. Kay folded and Wilson quickly called. A 7Heart Suit4Diamond Suit4Club Suit3Heart Suit3Diamond Suit runout saw Eveslage finish third for $390,000 and 1,080 points.

This was Eveslage’s seventh final-table showing of the year, with a win in a $25,000 high roller at the World Series of Poker and his victory in the WPT Five Diamond main event in October. With 5,302 total points and $3,053,688 in year-to-date POY earnings, Eveslage is now the third-ranked player in the 2022 POY race standings, trailing only Stephen Chidwick (6,499 points) and Alex Foxen (5,417 points).

With that, Wilson and Kay’s wild heads-up showdown was set. After scoring his two double-ups, Kay picked off the big bluff attempt from Wilson that resulted in a a lead change. Wilson had limped in for 400,000 total with 10Diamond Suit8Diamond Suit and Kay raised to 2,200,000 with ADiamond Suit2Diamond Suit. Wilson called and the flop came down AHeart Suit7Heart Suit3Club Suit. Kay bet out 1,600,000 and Wilson floated. The 4Diamond Suit saw Kay check to Wilson, who fired 5,800,000 with ten high and no draw. Kay called with his top pair and deuce kicker. The 6Club Suit completed the board and Kay checked again. Wilson shoved and Kay called all-in for 13,200,000 to win the hand and double into the chip lead.

Just a few hands removed from that big swing, Kay returned the favor. With the blinds up to 300,000-500,000 with a big blind ante of 500,000, Kay opened to 2,700,000 on the button with KClub Suit7Heart Suit. Wilson three-bet to 6,500,000 with 9Heart Suit9Diamond Suit from the big blind and Kay made the call. The flop came down ADiamond SuitQHeart Suit10Club Suit and Wilson checked. Kay checked behind and the 2Spade Suit rolled off the deck on the turn. It went check-check again and the 9Club Suit on the river gave Wilson a set of nines. Wilson checked again and Kay announced that he was all-in. Wilson snap-called and doubled right back into the lead.

After that, Wilson held better than a 4:1 chip lead. Kay was able to close the gap somewhat again as they battled on, but Wilson remained ahead by the time the final hand of the tournament was dealt. Kay raised to 2,200,000 from the button with 8Spade Suit7Heart Suit and Wilson three-bet to 6,500,000 holding KHeart SuitKDiamond Suit. Kay called and the 10Heart Suit7Diamond Suit4Club Suit hit the flop. Wilson bet 6,500,000 and Kay moved all-in for 24,300,000 with his middle pair. Wilson called with his overpair. The QDiamond Suit turn and 2Spade Suit river locked up the pot and the title for Wilson, while Kay was sent home with $525,000 for his efforts. This was the largest live tournament score of his career, bringing his lifetime earnings to more than $2.2 million.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Andrew Wilson $785,800 1620
2 Josh Kay $525,000 1350
3 Chad Eveslage $390,000 1080
4 Brian Altman $290,000 810
5 Gediminas Uselis $219,000 675
6 Robel Andemichael $167,000 540
7 Eric Bonin $129,000 405
8 Ryan Dougherty $100,000 270
9 Ted McNamara $78,500 135

Photo credits: World Poker Tour / Drew Amato.