James Mackey Wins First WPT Title in Choctaw For $681,758
James Mackey added a World Poker Tour title to the World Series of Poker bracelet already in his trophy case, taking down WPT Choctaw for $681,758 against a field of 1,066 in the $3,700 reentry event.
With the win, Mackey moved past $3.5 million in career cashes to go along with the millions he won playing online poker as “mig.com”.
Official Final Table Results
Includes WPT Tournament of Champions seat
The official final table of the event began with German Bastian Fischer holding the chip lead, trailed by the only former WPT champ at the table, Craig Varnell.
According to the live updates, short stack Matthew Smith was first to go, on Hand #29 of the final table. Benjamin Zamani opened for 350,000 in middle position with blinds at 75,000/150,000/25,000. Zamani's fellow 2015 bracelet winner, Jack Duong, called the raise, and Smith shoved it in for 1,725,000. Zamani mucked but Duong had flatted the and wasted no time calling. Smith held and failed to improve.
Mackey slipped to the short stack for awhile five-handed but he found a double during that same level, crippling Duong in the process. Mackey defended his big blind from a small blind open by Duong and the two got it in on a flop with Mackey holding and fading the of Duong. No diamond or ace appeared and Duong busted shortly thereafter.
Varnell pulled into a sizable lead in the few dozen hands after that, at one point gaining control of roughly half of the chips in play. He busted Fischer with queens against and he and Mackey jousted for the lead for awhile.
Zamani lurked as the short stack but made a move into the lead when he three-bet shoved 23 big blinds over a Mackey raise and a Varnell call. Mackey mucked but Varnell called with . Zamani was ahead with and managed to hold up as the board rolled out .
Varnell's downfall was complete a few hands later when Mackey raised to 600,000 on the button at Level 34 (125,000/250,000/25,000). Varnell reraised to 1,825,000 in the small blind, and Mackey shipped it for 8.9 million effective. Varnell called with but was well behind held by his opponent. A board later, Mackey was heads up with Zamani holding 3-2 lead.
It was a lead Mackey wouldn't relinquish. Although Zamani closed the gap and things were nearly even at one point, Mackey pulled away from his fellow pro over the next 36 hands and eliminated Zamani when the two got it in preflop with Mackey's eights leading Zamani's fives. Mackey found a third eight on the flop and faded Zamani's open-ended straight draw for his second major title.
Image courtesy of WPT