Joseph Elia won the second event of the 2014 Western New York Poker Challenge late Saturday night. Elia navigated a field of 112 entries, including an extremely tough final table, to claim the $14,364 top prize.
After emerging as one of the leaders early in the day and reaching the final table as the short stack, Elia admittedly used a lot of luck during his heads-up match against the talented Rick Block to earn the win. Block, winner of a similar $500 tournament at last year's Seneca Fall Poker Classic in the same venue, took home $8,906 for his runner-up finish in this event.
WNY Poker Challenge Event #2 Results
This $500 tournament attracted many of the area's top players, and the cream rose to the top to create a heavy-hitting final table that included Randy Pfeifer, Jason Nablo, Scott Gaddi, Mark Roberts and Long Nguyen.
After Jimmy Thomson and Mike Vissers were eliminated in 10th and ninth place, respectively, Nguyen exited at the hands of Block. Nguyen raised to 21,000 from middle position, Block called from directly behind, and Pfeifer called from the big blind. Pfeifer checked the flop, and Nguyen moved all in for 158,000. Block called behind, and Pfeifer got out of the way.
Nguyen had a lot of outs to fade, but Block drilled the on the turn for his straight, and Nguyen got up from his seat as the fell on the river.
Roberts and Gaddi followed Nguyen to the payout desk within minutes, and then Nablo met his demise a short while later. The local grinder finished third in Event #1 of the WNYPC on Friday and added another final table on Saturday, but his run ended in fifth when he lost a flush-over-flush situation to Mike Azzinaro.
Azzinaro was eliminated in fourth place when his pocket jacks fell short against Block's pocket twos. Then a short-stacked Pfeifer moved all in from the small blind with and Block snap-called with the . Block hit trips on the flip, and that was the end of Pfeiffer.
Block held a slight lead when the heads-up match began, but that changed quickly when Elia hit a timely river card to double up. Block raised to 50,000, Elia three-bet to 120,00 and Block called. On the flop, Elia led out for 150,000. Block min-raised to 300,000, and Elia shoved. Block called.
Block picked off Elia's bluff, and the turn left him one card away from the title. But fate would have it another way as the drilled the river, giving Elia most of the chips in play.
The tournament ended a few hand later. Block min-raised his button and Elia moved all in. Block instantly called off for 300,000. Once again, Block got it in good with the against , and his position improved on the flop. But Elia picked up straight outs on the turn, and then the appeared on the river, securing the win for Elia with Broadway. A visibly irritated Block walked out of the poker room, but he returned a few minutes later to congratulate Elia on the title.
Congratulations to Joseph Elia, winner of the Western New York Poker Challenge Event #2. We'll back on the floor bright and early Sunday morning for coverage of Event #3, a $500 no-limit hold'em event. See you at 11 a.m.!