Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine


Poker Training

Newsletter and Magazine

Sign Up

Find Your Local

Card Room


Jonathan Little Crowned 2024 PokerGO Cup Champion With Clutch Victory In Series Finale

Card Player Columnist Wins Two Events, Earns $730,350 Across Four Cashes During The Eight-Event Festival


This year’s PokerGO Cup points race came down to a photo finish, with Jonathan Little squaring off against Justin Zaki heads-up for the $26,000 buy-in finale title with the series title hanging in the balance. Little was able to close out the victory in the clutch, earning $453,750 and 272 PGT points for the win. With two titles and $730,350 in total earnings made across four cashes during the eight-event tournament festival, Little was officially crowned the 2024 PokerGO Cup champion, securing the titular cup and a championship bonus of $25,000.

This high-roller victory was the fourth-largest payday of Little’s tournament career. The Card Player columnist and two-time World Poker Tour champion now has more than $8.8 million in lifetime earnings to his name after his impressive showing during this series. The 39-year-old poker pro and owner of has already cashed for $799,000 in 2024, which would be good enough for his third-biggest year on the live circuit since he first showed up on the scene in 2006. He had back-to-back years with seven figures in earnings in 2007 and 2008.

Little has now accrued 549 PokerGO Tour points, good for third place in the season-long PGT standings. His hot start to the year has also moved him into a tie for 17th place in the 2024 Card Player Player of the Year rankings presented by Global Poker.

This strong performance for Little inside the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas came amidst a social media beef between poker pros Daniel Negreanu and Matt Berkey that arose from recent criticism of Little’s play by Berkey. Little finished seventh in the first event, and then won event no. 3, topping a field of 85 entries in that $10,500 buy-in to earn $229,500. He fell just short of a final-table showing in the final $10,500 buy-in on the schedule, placing ninth. He then closed out the series by topping the field of 55 entries in the $26,000 buy-in finale.

The top eight finishers cashed in the finale, with Stephen Chidwick (8th) and Jim Collopy (7th) earning $55,000 after being knocked out late on day 1. Four-time bracelet winner Nick Schulman was eliminated on the money bubble when his pocket aces were cracked by the Q-9 suited of two-time bracelet winner John Riordan. Schulman took to social media to detail his experience in the hand.

The final day began with Riordan in the lead and Little in fifth chip position among the remaining six contenders. PokerGO newcomer Shaneil Stokes (6th – $82,500) was the first to fall. His pocket sixes were outraced by the A-Q of Zaki, who had already overtaken the lead. Zaki flopped a queen and held from there to pull even further ahead.

Justin ZakiLittle scored a key double up with middle pair holding against Zaki’s open-ended straight draw and overcards to find some room to maneuver. He then knocked out short-stack Seth Davies in fifth place ($110,000), besting his fellow WPT champion’s A-9 with A-K to narrow the field to four.

The surge up the leaderboard continued for Little when he picked off a river bluff from Zaki. Little’s diamond flush draw improved to a pair of aces on the end, while Zaki’s bottom pair and club flush draw bricked out. Little moved into the lead after taking down the pot.

Riordan’s run in this event came to an end when his A-J was unable to come from behind facing the A-Q suited of Zaki. He earned $137,500 as the fourth-place finisher to increase his career earnigns to nearly $4 million.

Not long after that, another two-time bracelet winner found himself all-in and at risk against Zaki. This time around, it was Justin Saliba who was facing elimination. His AClub Suit3Heart Suit was in rough shape against the ASpade SuitADiamond Suit of Zaki. The board came down QSpade SuitQClub Suit3Spade Suit2Spade Suit7Spade Suit to give Zaki the nut flush and the knockout. Saliba earned $192,500 for his third-place showing. He now has more than $5.9 million in lifetime cashes to his name.

Heads-up play began with Little holding 4,880,000 to Zaki’s 3,375,000. Zaki had taken down event no. 5 at this series of $232,400, and would have secured the player of the series honors if he bested Little in this finale. That was not how things shook out, though. Little was able to extend his lead to nearly a 3:1 advantage by the time the final hand was dealt. With blinds of 40,000-80,000 and a big blind ante of 80,000, he shoved from the button for 2,065,000 effective. Zaki called with KHeart Suit7Heart Suit and Little tabled AClub Suit3Club Suit. The board came down AHeart Suit9Diamond Suit7Spade SuitJClub SuitJHeart Suit and Little made aces and jacks to lock up the pot, the title, and the PokerGO Cup championship.

Zaki earned $288,750 as the runner-up. This was his fourth-largest score yet. The Florida resident now has more than $5.3 million in lifetime earnings after his strong showing at this festival.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points PGT Points
1 Jonathan Little $453,750 420 272
2 Justin Zaki $288,750 350 173
3 Justin Saliba $192,500 280 116
4 John Riordan $137,500 210 83
5 Seth Davies $110,000 175 66
6 Shaneil Stokes $82,500 140 50

Photo credits: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.