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Aleksejs Ponakovs Wins Rock 'n' Roll Poker Open $25,500 Event For $682,238

Latvian Two-Time Bracelet Winner Bests 93-Entry Field To Grow Career Earnings To $16.6 Million


Aleksejs Ponakovs has won the 2023 Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open $25,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em high roller event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. The two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner from Latvia navigated his way through a tough field of 93 entries to secure the title and the top prize of $682,238.

This was the eighth-largest score of Ponakovs’ career. It brought his lifetime earnings to more than $16.6 million, extending his already massive lead on Latvia’s all-time money list. His nearest competition on that leaderboard is Mihails Morozovs, who has just shy of $2.1 million in total scores to his name.

In addition to the title and the money, Ponakovs was also awarded 756 Card Player Player of the Year points for this victory. This was his second title of 2023, having also taken down a $25,000 buy-in tournament at the European Poker Tour Cyprus stop for another $216,810. With 15 final tables, more than $5.1 million in to-date POY earnings, and 4,579 total points, Ponakovs now sits in 22nd place in the 2023 POY race standing presented by Global Poker.

This event featured a $1 million guarantee which was more than doubled thanks to the 93-entry turnout. The final prize pool of $2,297,100 was split up among the top 12 finishers, with plenty of big names running deep, including Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau (12th), Justin Zaki (9th), Adam Hendrix (6th), three-time bracelet winner and 2015 WSOP main event champion Joe McKeehen (5th), EPT champion Anton Wigg (4th), and three-time World Poker Tour champion and bracelet winner Brian Altman (3rd).

Timur Vardanian finished second for $459,420. This was the largest live score by far for the Russian player.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Aleksejs Ponakovs $682,238 756
2 Timur Vardanian $459,420 630
3 Brian Altman $298,623 504
4 Anton Wigg $204,442 378
5 Joe McKeehen $135,529 315
6 Adam Hendrix $101,072 252
7 Ali Turkan $82,696 189
8 Ben Grise $71,210 126
9 Justin Zaki $68,913 63

Photo credit: SHR Poker Blog.