Darren Elias Leads Final 6 with Eyes on Extending WPT Record at WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

Darren Elias Leads Final 6 with Eyes on Extending WPT Record at WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

Darren Elias has etched his name onto the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup a World Poker Tour (WPT) record-breaking four times in his illustrious poker career. 

The American poker pro, who has nearly $10 million in live tournament earnings according to The Hendon Mob, is in a prime spot to extend his record to five titles as he leads the final six players in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock $3,500 Poker Showdown at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. This wouldn't be the only record set if Elias can parlay his final table chip lead into a victory as he will be playing for another record as well with a $1,000,300 top prize on the line.

"It would mean a lot to win this one,” Elias said to the WPT. “It would be my biggest score ever. I've never won a million dollars, so it would mean a lot." 

Darren Elias WPT Victories

2014Borgata Poker Open$843,744 
2014WPT Caribbean$127,680 
2017Fallsview Poker Classic$335,436 
2018Bobby Baldwin Classic$387,580 

2022 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Chip Counts

PlacePlayerChipsBig Blinds
1Darren Elias38,825,000155
2Mark Davis26,550,000106
3Viet Vo11,925,00048
4Marcos Exterkotter10,900,00044
5Michael Laufer6,750,00027
6Andrew Barfield5,500,00022

The tournament was another huge one for the WPT. In fact, it was the second-largest in WPT Main Tour history with the event attracting 2,010 entries to generate a $6,432,000 prize pool. The only one larger was also at the same venue as the 2021 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown that year attracting 2,482 entries for a $7,942,400 prize pool with Bret Schutten winning the dreamy $1,261,095 top prize. 

Elias Leads the Way

The final day began with Elias in second place, only behind Mark Davis with just 16 players remaining. 

Elias was unable to get anything early on but rebounded at the end of the day to catapult him into the driver’s seat on the final table with Davis flopping positions to second place.

"There was a lot of action (at my first table) for this situation, so you kinda had to have something to battle with these guys," Elias said to the WPT. "I was card dead for a couple of hours, found a few hands, and was able to win a few big pots."

Viet Vo might be another story to keep your eyes on as he enters the final day in third place. Vo has managed several podium finishes at the WPT in the past but has yet to add his name to the Mike Sexton Champions Cup.  Vo has found success at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown just a year ago when he banked the third-place prize of $593,140. Vo also has a pair of runner-up performances at the WPT Choctaw in 2018 and 2021 and is on top of the world appearing at yet another big WPT final table.

"Man, I feel great. It is amazing," Vo said, "Just to make it to the final table in such a large field feels good. I don't think it was much of a difference compared to last year. Just play my A-game and go through."

Marcos Exterkotter, Michael Laufer, and Andrew Barfield round off the final table, which will begin on May 25 at the state-of-the-art HyperX Esports Arena located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip at the Luxor Casino & Hotel.

2022 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table

2022 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Payouts

The final six players have each locked up a $215,000 payout regardless of how things turn out when the action resumes in Las Vegas at the end of May.

Expect some players to brush up on their ICM skills with the payouts jumping up quickly from there with the eventual 2022 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown champion slated to take home a seven-figure haul of $1,000,300.

"It's interesting stack distribution. Normally there would be a lot of ICM dynamics." Elias said to the WPT. "You have to think about how that affects your opponents and do they know about them. Do they know about how these dynamics affect play? Figuring out how they understand that concept will dictate my play."


*Images courtesy of the WPT / Joe Giron.

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