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Calvin Anderson Takes Down 2023 WPT Prime Championship For $1.4 Million

Four-Time Bracelet Winner Tops 10,512-Entry Field At Wynn Las Vegas To Secure Career-High Payday


The World Poker Tour Prime Championship $1,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em event debuted at the Wynn Las Vegas in 2022, attracting a massive turnout of 5,430 entries to blow away the tournament’s $2 million guarantee. The second running of the WPT Prime Championship upped the ante considerably, increasing the guarantee to $5 million while keeping the same buy-in. This year saw 10,512 entries made, resulting in a prize pool of nearly $10.2 million.

After four starting flights and four more days of action, that sea of contenders was narrowed down to a single winner: Calvin Anderson. The Las Vegas-based poker pro earned a career-high payday of $1,386,280 as the champion and the special WPT Prime Championship trophy. The four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner now has more than $5.9 million in recorded tournament earnings.

In addition to the title and the money, Anderson was also awarded 1,440 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This was his first POY-qualified title and sixth such final-table finish of the year. With 3,522 total points and more than $1.8 million in to-date POY earnings, Anderson has climbed to 70th in the 2023 POY standings presented by Global Poker.

While the events didn’t count toward the POY race, Anderson did take down two tournaments during the 2023 WSOP Online for his third and fourth bracelets, winning the $1,000 pot-limit Omaha six-max event and the $5,300 no-limit hold’em six-max event.

The top 1,309 finishers made the money in this event, with a min-cash good for $1,700. The top 12 all received six figures or more. Among the notable players to run deep in this event were 14-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Daniel Lowery (18th), recent North American Poker Tour Las Vegas high roller winner Sam Laskowitz (15th), and 2023 WSOP main event runner-up Steven Jones (10th), and Mukul Pahuja (7th).

The final day began with Jay Lu in the lead and Anderson in second chip position. Valeriy Pak was the first to fall, with his A-9 running into the pocket kings of Anderson. Pak picked up a gutshot to go with his overcard but found no further help on the turn or river and was eliminated in sixth place ($290,000).

A classic preflop race spelled the end of Bob Buckenmayer’s run in this event. His K-Q was unable to outflip the pocket sevens of Aaron Pinson, who made a nine-high straight on the turn to leave Buckenmayer drawing dead (5th – $380,000).

Jon Glendinning got the last of his stack in on a QHeart Suit9Diamond Suit5Club Suit6Heart Suit board with KClub Suit9Club Suit. He was trailing the QSpade Suit8Diamond Suit of Anderson. The JSpade Suit rolled off on the river to send Glendinning home with $505,000 for his efforts.

The next key hand was a wild one. Lu limped in from the small blind for 3,000,000 total with 4Heart Suit3Heart Suit and Anderson raised to 10,000,000 from the big blind with 5Spade Suit4Diamond Suit. Lu called and hit trip threes on a QHeart Suit3Diamond Suit3Club Suit flop. Lu check-raised Anderson’s continuation bet from 6,000,000 up to 14,000,000. Anderson floated and the turn brought the 6Club Suit, improving his air to an open-ended straight draw. Lu bet 19,000,000 and Anderson called. The 7Spade Suit on the river completed Anderson’s straight. Lu shoved and Anderson quickly called all-in for 50,900,000 to double into the chip lead.

Pinson worked his way to the top of the chip counts in time for the next big confrontation. Anderson limped in from the button for 4,000,000 total and Pinson called from the small blind. Lu shoved for 75,200,000 from the big blind with ASpade Suit3Club Suit. Anderson bowed out but Pinson made the call with ADiamond Suit10Diamond Suit. The AHeart SuitJHeart Suit9Spade Suit7Club Suit6Spade Suit runout sent Lu to the rail in third place with $675,000 for his third-place showing.

Aaron PinsonHeads-up began with Pinson holding 301,100,000 to Anderson’s 120,300,000. The lead changed hands thanks to a big pot that saw Anderson turn a night-high straight to best the flopped seven-high straight of Pinson.

Pinson battled all the way back to even at one point but soon began to fade. Anderson extended his lead to nearly 4:1 when he rivered a straight against the turned top pair of Pinson. Not long after that, Anderson raised on the button with QSpade Suit7Spade Suit to 25,000,000. Pinson shoved for 70,000 with KClub SuitQHeart Suit and Anderson called. The board came down JSpade Suit9Heart Suit8Heart Suit7Diamond Suit6Heart Suit and Anderson made trip sevens to win the pot and the title. Pinson was awarded a career-best payout of $910,000 as the runner-up.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Calvin Anderson $1,386,280 1,440
2 Aaron Pinson $910,000 1,200
3 Jay Lu $675,000 960
4 Jonathan Glendinning $505,000 720
5 Bob Buckenmayer $380,000 600
6 Valeriy Pak $290,000 480
7 Mukul Pahuja $225,000 360
8 Tri Dao $173,000 240
9 Yuebin Guo $135,850 120

Photo credits: WPT / Hayley Hochstetler.