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Joao Simao Captures PGT PLO Omaha Dealer's Choice Title

Brazilian Poker Pro Outlasts 65 Entries, Defeats Alex Foxen Heads-Up To Win $182,000


The sixth tournament of the 2023 PGT PLO Series II featured a unique format. The $10,100 buy-in Omaha dealer’s choice allowed competitors to choose from one of four games to be played for the next orbit. The options were: standard pot-limit Omaha, five-card pot-limit Omaha, pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better, and Big O (five-card pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better).

A total of 65 entries were made by the time registration closed, creating a prize pool of $650,000. In the end, it was two-time bracelet winner Joao Simao who dragged the last post to earn the title and the top prize of $182,000. Simao now has nearly $6.1 million in recorded tournament earnings after this latest victory.

This was the Brazilian poker pro’s third cash of the festival. The 182 PokerGO Tour points he secured for the win were enough to move him inside the top five in the series-long points race.

He has recorded 12 in-the-money finishes in events that qualify for 2023 PGT points. As a result, he has climbed into 66th place on the season-long leaderboard.

Simao came into the second and final day of this event leading the remaining five contenders. He added to his lead early, eliminating Veselin Karakitukov (5th – $52,000) during a round of Big O to narrow the field to four. Alex Foxen earned the next knockout, sending fellow bracelet winner Tyler Brown to the rail in fourth place ($65,000).

Brown, who took down the mystery millions bounty at this year’s _World Series of Poker for $1,000,0000, has climbed inside the top 100 in the 2023 Card Player Player of the Year race thanks to this latest deep run.

Jordan Spurlin committed most of his stack preflop in a round of PLO. He got the last of his chips in with a gunshot, overcards, and some backdoor flush outs facing the top two pair of Simao. The turn gave Simao a full house to leave Spurlin drawing dead and he was eliminated in third place ($84,500).

Alex FoxenWith that, Simao took more than a 2:1 chip lead into heads-up play with Foxen. The early action saw the American poker pro first narrow the gap, then edge his way ahead in time for the decisive hand of the match.

Simao raised from the button with QClub Suit9Spade Suit8Diamond Suit4Heart Suit in PLO and Foxen defended his big blind with AHeart Suit8Heart Suit6Club Suit3Diamond Suit. The flop came down 4Spade Suit3Club Suit2Diamond Suit and Foxen bet 140,000. Simao called and the turn brought the 8Club Suit, giving both players two pair. Foxen bet pot with his eighths and threes and Simao raised all-in for 3,360,000. Foxen thought it over before making the call. He needed a three or five on the river to improve to the best hand. The 9Club Suit completed the board, sending the massive pot to Simao.

Foxen was left on fumes after that and was soon eliminated in second place, earning $123,500 for his 22nd final-table finish of the year. With three titles won and nearly $3.7 million in to-date POY earnings, Foxen has claimed the seventh-place spot on the POY leaderboard. He also moved to sixth in the PGT standings and is inside the top ten in the series-long race as well.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points PGT Points
1 Joao Simao $182,000 360 182
2 Alex Foxen $123,500 300 124
3 Jordan Spurlin $84,500 240 85
4 Tyler Brown $65,000 180 65
5 Veselin Karakitukov $52,000 150 52
6 Zhen Cai $39,000 120 39
7 Jim Collopy $32,500 90 33

Check out the current top ten in the series points race after six events:

1st: Stephen Hubbard – 262 points
2nd: Bryce Yockey – 250 points
3rd: Richard Gryko – 246 points
4th: Eelis Parssinen – 236 points
5th: Joao Simao – 227 points
6th: Vasil Medarov – 200 points
7th: Adam Hendrix – 200 points
8th: Daniel Geeng – 188 points
9th: Alex Foxen – 181 points
10th: Allan Le – 171 points

Photo credits: PokerGO / Antonio Abgrego.