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Istvan Briski Wins World Poker Tour Rock 'n' Roll Poker Open Main Event

Hungarian Outlasts 1,447 Entries To Earn First WPT Title and $647,300 Top Prize


Istvan Briski was the last player standing in the penultimate World Poker Tour main event of 2023. The 30-year-old Hungarian outlasted a field of 1,447 total entries in the WPT Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open $3,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood to earn his first WPT title and the top prize of $647,300.

“It’s amazing to be a WPT champion," Briski told the tour’s reporters after coming out on top. "I ran really well in the tournament. I made it all the way and I’m very happy.”

This was the second-largest recorded payday of Briski’s tournament career, trailing only the $833,404 score he made as the fifth-place finisher in the 2022 World Series of Poker Online $5,000 main event.

Briski now has more than $2.2 million in lifetime tournament earnings to his name, with four six-figure scores made along the way.

This latest deep run also saw Briski walk away with 1,440 Card Player Player of the Year points. When combined with the 440 points he earned as the third-place finisher in the $777 buy-in Lucky 7’s event at this year’s WSOP, Briski’s point total has grown to 1,880. That’s good for 224th place in the 2023 POY standings presented by Global Poker.

The strong turnout for this event saw the $3 million guarantee easily surpassed, with $4,630,400 in total prize money ultimately paid out among the 181 finishers. Plenty of notables ran deep in this event, including three-time WPT champion Brian Altman (72nd), three-time bracelet winner and WPT champion Chance Kornuth (69th), bracelet winner and _WPT champion Alex Foxen (59th), four-time bracelet winner and three-time WPT champion Anthony Zinno (47th), bracelet winner Kyle Julius (28th), three-time bracelet winner and two-time WPT champion Chad Eveslage (19th), and WPT winner Alessio Isaia (17th).

After two starting flights and three more days of play, the field had been narrowed to just six contenders, with Briski in the lead and Sandy Sanchez in second chip position. 2018 WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open main event champion Darryll Fish was the first to fall on the final day. He open-shoved from the small blind for just shy of eight big blinds with Q-7 and ran into the pocket kings of Briski in the big blind. Fish turned two pair, but was drawing dead to Briski’s flopped set of kings. Fish earned $157,800 as the sixth-place finisher, increasing his career tournament earnings to more than $5.2 million in the process.

Fred GoldbergMatt Bond’s run came to an end when his A-9 suited clashed with the pocket jacks of bracelet winner Fred Goldberg. Bond turned an open-ended straight draw, but a brick on the river saw him head to the rail to collect his $206,900 in prize money.

Goldberg was contending for the chip lead early in four-handed play, but soon lost a big one to Canadian poker player and content creator Rayan Chamas, known to many as ‘Beriuzy’. He eventually was whittled down to fewer than six big blinds. His A-2 ran into the pocket jacks of Briski, which improved to a full house by the turn. Goldberg was awarded $274,000 for his efforts, bringing his lifetime earnings to over $3.3 million.

A preflop clash of pocket pairs led to the next knockout. Sanchez three-bet shoved from the big blind over the top of Chamas’ open with pocket fives. Chamas called with pocket nines and held to eliminate Sanchez in third place. The $366,500 he earned for his efforts was the largest score yet on his tournament resume.

Heads-up play began with Chamas holding 41,500,000 to Briski’s 30,900,000. The final two came to a deal to redistribute the remaining prize money, with $600,000 for second place and $647,300 for the eventual champion. First place would also secure a $10,400 seat into the season-ending WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas which starts on Dec. 12.

Briski soon doubled up with turned trips against the top pair of Chamas to take a 5:1 lead. Chamas managed one double-up, but was soon all-in again with 10Spade Suit8Club Suit facing the QDiamond Suit4Club Suit of Briski. The board ran out ASpade Suit7Diamond Suit2Heart SuitKHeart Suit5Spade Suit and Briski’s queen high played to earn him the pot and the title.

Chamas increased his recorded tournament earnings to nearly $1.6 million thanks to his runner-up finish.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Istvan Briski $647,300 1440
2 Rayan Chamas $600,000 1200
3 Sandy Sanchez $366,500 960
4 Fred Goldberg $274,000 720
5 Matt Bond $206,900 600
6 Darryll Fish $157,800 480

Photo credits: WPT / Joe Giron.