Cunningham defies deficit for NPL win

Allen Cunningham
Cunningham conquers NPL championship.

The National Poker League Vegas Open championship may have had a small playing field, but it was certainly a stacked one that saw many of the pros pony up the $15,000 to play.

Allen Cunningham toppled the 57-person field to take home the top prize, but not without a long fight through the six-person final table that took two days to play out.

The NPL championship started on Monday with names such as Jamie Gold, Justin Bonomo, Steve Zolotow, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Rene Angelil, David Benyamine, Toto Leonidas, Eli Elezra, John Juanda, Barry Greenstein, Joe Sebok, Gavin Smith, Sorel Mizzi, David Singer and Kathy Liebert joining the game.

The field was not quite cut in half by the end of Day 1, and Day 2 saw the players get down to the final six who would play the televised final table on Wednesday.

The returning players were:

  • Allen Cunningham
  • David Singer
  • Antonio Salorio
  • Nikolay Evdakov
  • Toto Leonidas
  • Mikael Thuritz

Cunningham started the final table as the chip leader, and would maintain that lead through the dinner break as all the players lasted to that point. However, after dinner, all that would change.

The first bust-out came after the dinner break as Thuritz hit the rail in sixth place. He was also the bubble boy for the tournament, with the cash beginning for the fifth-place finisher.

That spot went to Evdakov just moments after Thuritz busted. Singer took him out with a full house and began his run for the chip lead at that point.

David Singer
Singer takes second despite chip lead.

Singer would proceed to take some of Cunningham's stack to become the chip leader with more than $1 million in chips by the end of the night.

Toto Leonidas would be the last bust-out for the day, with Salorio taking him out and the tournament halting for the night.

Cunningham, Salorio and Singer returned again on Thursday to finish off the tournament. Cunningham was the short stack coming back to the table, but it was Salorio who bowed out first. Then Singer and Cunningham battled until the dinner break.

After that, it was all over for Singer. Cunningham had clawed his way back from the brink to take the lead, and then on the first hand after the dinner break he took Singer out.

The final-table results were:

Place Name Prize
1st Allen Cunningham $325,105
2nd David Singer $203,181
3rd Antonio Salorio $130,042
4th Toto Leonidas $89,404
5th Nikolay Evdakov $65,021
6th Mikael Thuritz $0

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