Andy Wilson Conquers One of the Toughest Final Tables in WPT History to Win RRPO
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On Wednesday, the final six players from a 1,541-entry field returned for final table action in the World Poker Tour (WPT) 2022 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open (RRPO) $3,500 Main Event at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
England’s Andy Wilson began with a healthy chip lead but faced some stiff competition in the form of the defending champ, a three-time WPT winner, and a two-time WPT champ not only looking for back-to-back titles but also the Season 20 Player of the Year lead.
Wilson, who cut his chops playing online but post-pandemic has begun competing on the live stage, managed to weather the onslaught and finish as the last player standing to win a $785,800 top prize, a $10,400 seat into the WPT World Championship, and etch his name on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup.
2022 WPT RRPO Final Table Results
|1st||Andy Wilson||$785,800 + $10,400 WPT World Championship seat|
“In all of these near misses, I have usually been the chip leader in most of these tournaments. Even though I may have fallen short, it usually does get me to the very far end, so I’ve been in this situation a lot, especially online,” Wilson said in his winner interview. “I enjoy being able to play a few more hands, play more pots post, and try to apply pressure to people. That’s kind of where I feel a little bit more comfortable.”
He added: “You had to fight for every pot because these guys weren’t going to roll over at all. As far as WPT final tables are concerned I think this is definitely one of the tougher ones … All of these guys have had success live and I assume they’ll continue to do so in the future.”
What’s even more incredible is that Wilson nearly didn’t make the trip to South Flordia from the UK.
“I was in England watching the World Cup, and I was still of two minds of whether or not I wanted to stay and watch with my friends,” Wilson shared. “I decided to kickstart myself by coming to play this WPT when I have a Platinum Pass for January. I needed to kick myself back into poker mode … a single bullet later it’s been quite the decision.”
Wilson also confirmed that he will now head to Las Vegas for the WPT World Championship at the Wynn, something he planned to do even before winning a seat.
“It’s going to be one of the best tournaments of the year. I’m really excited about that tournament.”
With the live six-figure score, the first of his burgeoning career, in one fell swoop, Wilson surpassed his previous $620,071 in career earnings according to the Hendon Mob. That included a prior career-best $99,742 he received for finishing runner-up in the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Event #86: $1,000 Super Turbo. In the summer of 2020, he also placed second in the WSOP Online GGPoker Event #76: $400 Forty Stack for $169,128.
Final Table Action
Things got off to a hot start with the first elimination occurring on just the fifth hand of play. It happened when the short-stacked Robel Andemichael three-bet jammed with ace-four and was called by Wilson, who held ace-queen. The better ace held and Andemichael was ousted in sixth place for $167,000.
Defending champ Gediminas Uselis, who won the 2021 WPT RRPO for $778,490, came up short in his title defense bid after falling on Hand #12. It happened when his ace-ten failed to get there against the two red kings of Wilson. Uselis’ impressive run ended in fifth place, good for $219,000.
Just four hands later, Brian Altman saw his hopes of capturing a record-tying fourth WPT title end courtesy of Josh Kay. It happened in Level 30 (100,000/200,000/200,000) when Kay raised the button to 575,000 and Altman defended the big blind to see a flop, which both players checked.
The turn put four to a straight on the board, and Altman check-called 300,000. The river put a straight on the board and Altman checked. Kay bet 2 million and Altman check-raised the minimum to 4 million. Kay proceeded to move all in and Altman snap-called with for a king-high straight. Unfortunately for him, Kay had the one hand that could beat him with the for an ace-high straight.
Altman’s elimination in fourth place assured that Chad Eveslage moved ahead of Steve Buckner on the WPT Season 20 Player of the Year leaderboard with just the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas to go.
Eveslage’s attempt at back-to-back titles came up two spots short as he bowed out in third place. He had been clinging to a short stack before running pocket jacks smack dab into the aces of Wilson, who then took a more than 3:1 chip lead into heads-up play against Kay.
He extended that to 10:1 at one point, but Kay managed to battle back and even briefly take the lead himself. However, the tide turned back in Wilson’s favor and he was back in the lead in Level 35 (300,000/600,000/600,000) when the final hand occurred.
It began when Kay raised to 2.2 million with the and Wilson three-bet to 7 million with two red kings. Kay called, the flop fell , and Wilson continued for 6.5 million. Kay moved all in for 24.3 million and Wilson snap-called. Neither the turn nor river changed a thing and Kay had to settle for runner-up and $525,000 in prize money.
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*Images courtesy of WPT/Drew Amato.
Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.