Darren Elias is no stranger to big tournament scores, but on Friday he earned the largest of his career — both online and live — by taking down the World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open to the tune of $843,744.
On Friday, the final six players from a 1,226-entry field returned for the finale of the event. The third time at a WPT final table proved to be the charm for Elias, who waited as 25-year-old Kane Kalas, the son of the late Philadelphia Phillies sportscaster Harry Kalas, eliminated four players on the way to heads-up play. Elias then scored the final knockout to capture the title.
The score proved a career-high for the 27-year-old poker pro, and marked the first major title on Elias' live poker résumé. In addition, Elias was awarded a seat to the season-ending WPT World Championship, which coincidentally will be held at the Borgata in the spring.
Final Table Results
According to the WPT live blog, action resumed in Level 32 (80,000/160,000/20,000) and it took just four hands for the first elimination to occur. It happened when Kalas opened for 375,000 from the cutoff seat and then called when 48-year-old Ray Qartomy, a businessman born in Jordan and raised in the United States, three-bet all in for 1.475 million from the button.
It was a bad spot for Qartomy, but he got a little help on the flop. Another jack would give him the double, but it wasn’t meant to be as the blanked on the turn followed by the on the river. Qartomy was eliminated in sixth place and took home $174,637 for his performance.
On the very next hand, Aaron Overton opened for 350,000 under the gun and Kalas three-bet to 755,000 from the cutoff. Mid-States Poker Tour Team Pro Blake Bohn, who was second in chips at the time, then four-bet to 3.06 million from the small blind. Overton folded, and Kalas thought for a minute before moving all in. Bohn snap-called off for 8.365 million and discovered the bad news.
Kalas had woke up with back-to-back aces, and Bohn was in trouble. The flop gave him a gutshot straight draw, but he missed it as the fell on the turn and the hit the river. Bohn was sent packing in fifth place for $213,999 while Kalas pulled out to a huge chip lead.
The next elimination wouldn’t come until Hand #44 of the final table, which occurred in Level 34 (125,000/250,000/25,000). It happened when Overton, a 32-year-old poker pro from Philadelphia, moved all in for 2.85 million holding the on the button and Kalas called with the . The flop was kind to Overton as it gave him the lead with two pair, and the turn meant all he needed to do was dodge a jack on the river to double. That proved easier said than done though, as the spiked on the end. Kalas made a set and Overton was bounced in fourth place for $259,012.
On the next hand, Kalas raised to 500,000 from the button and then called when Jose Serratos, a 31-year-old rental property manager from Detroit, moved all in from the big blind.
It was a flip, but Serratos needed to improve to stay alive. He didn’t do it on the flop, and the turn left him wanting. The dealer burned one last time and put out the on the river, meaning Serratos missed and had to settled for third place and $308,067 in prize money.
Kalas began heads-up play with a 2-1 chip lead, but over the course of the next 42 hands Elias was able to pull out to a small lead of his own. In what would be the final hand of the tournament, which happened in Level 37 (250,000/500,000/75,000), Kalas raised to 1.125 million, Elias called, and the flop came down . Elias check-called a bet of 1.525 million, the appeared on the turn, and Elias checked for a second time. Kalas bet 3.225 million, Elias check-raised all in, and Kalas snap-called off for 13.25 million.
Kalas had turned top pair with top kicker, but it was no good as Elias held two pair. The river failed to help Kalas, and he had to settle for runner-up and a $500,364 consolation prize.
Prior to this victory, Elias' largest live score came back in 2011 at the Borgata Poker Open where he placed fifth for $230,610. Online, Elias boasts two bigger scores than that, one for $396,988 and the other for $574,695, but both have been topped by his performance in Atlantic City this time around.
Congratulations to Darren Elias, winner of the WPT Borgata Poker Open for $843,744. Check out his winner’s interview below:
*Data and photos courtesy of WPT Live Blog.