Chance Kornuth’s poker tournament resume is one of the most impressive in the world, with three World Series of Poker bracelet wins, big six-figure victories in high roller events, and more than $10 million in recorded cashes. The 35-year-old poker pro and founder of Chip Leader Coaching added another marquee achievement to his already expansive list today by taking down the 2022 World Poker Tour Choctaw $3,800 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event for $486,600 and his first WPT title.
This was officially the sixth-largest payday of Kornuth’s career, bringing his total career earnings to $10,967,215. This was his third WPT final-table appearance.
Kornuth also earned 1,368 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was his third title and fifth final-table finish so far this year. He took down back-to-back events at the PokerGO Tour Stairway To Millions series in January for more than $130,000 collectively. He then made a pair of podium finishes at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, including a third-place finish in the $25,500 high roller for $522,571. With 3,136 total points and more than $1.2 million in year-to-date POY earnings, Kornuth has surged up the leaderboard and into fifth place in the 2022 POY race, sponsored by Global Poker.
This tournament began back on May 13 at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, OK. The strong turnout of 787 entries built a prize pool of $2,754,500, blowing away the $2 million guarantee. The survivors of the two starting flights combined into one field on May 15, with the televised final table of six set late the following night. The remaining contenders then had a 10-day hiatus, during which they made their way to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas in order to film the final table action for televised broadcast.
Kornuth entered the final day in second chip position, but he was just a few big blinds behind five-time WPT final tablist Ray Qartomy.
James Mackey won this very event back in 2016 for his lone WPT title. The WSOP bracelet winner came into the day in fourth chip position but was ultimately the first to hit the rail. It was a classic preflop race situation that arose just dour hands into the day, with Mackey holding A-K while facing the pocket queens of James Hundt. A queen-high flop increased Hundt’s lead in the hand, which he maintained through the river. Mackey earned $101,000 as the sixth-place finisher, while Hundt overtook the chip lead.
Hundt was soon surpassed by Kornuth, who picked off a bluff of Qartomy’s to move into the top spot on the leaderboard. Kristen Foxen came into the day as the short stack. She was soon all-in for her last five or so big blinds, having shoved over Kornuth’s button open with A-9 from the small blind. Kornuth called with J-10 suited to put Foxen at risk. She flopped a pair of aces, but Kornuth turned two pair and held from there to narrow the field to four. Foxen, a three-time bracelet winner, earned $135,000 for her fifth-place showing. The score increased her recorded tournament earnings to more than $5.9 million.
Despite having taken the lead in the first few hands of the day, Hundt was soon the shortest stack in the field. On the 45th deal of the day, Steve Buckner shoved just less than 16 big blinds from the small blind with K-10 suited. Hundt called with pocket sixes from the big blind and was unable to win the race. Hundt was left with 13 big blinds. He survived another twenty hands, but eventually was all-in and at risk with his flopped middle pair facing a flush draw for Buckner. Hundt improved to trips on the turn, but Buckner hit his diamond flush o the river to scoop the pot. Hundt earned a career-best $175,000 for his deep run in this event.
Three-handed play began with Kornuth well out in from, sitting on more than three times as many chips as his nearest opponent. Buckner doubled up twice, first through Kornuth and then through Qartomy, leaving the latter with just over seven big blinds. Qartomy got those chips in with pocket fives, only to run into the pocket jacks of Kornuth. The larger pair held up and Qartomy was eliminated in third place ($235,000). He now has more than $4.7 million in lifetime cashes to his name.
Heads-up play began with Kornuth holding more than a 2.5:1 chip lead over Buckner, who had 43 big blinds to start. The two went on to battle for more than a hundred hands, with the winner not decided until more than four hours after Qartomy was knocked out. The early going saw Buckner double up once to nearly close the gap,. He then briefly took the lead, only for Kornuth to pull back out to more than a 3:1 chip advantage. Roughly midway through the heads-up battle, Buckner scored a pair of back-to-back double-ups. The first, which saw his A-8 hold against Kornuth’s K-8, brought him with five big blinds of even. The second, on the very nest hand, saw all the chips get in the middle on the turn with QJ74 on board. Bucker shoved with Q9 and Kornuth called with Q8. The 3 on the end saw the massive pot shipped to Buckner, leaving Kornuth on fumes.
Kornuth scored a quick double up, then chipped up a bit more before getting all-in with kings-up and beating the pair of jacks of Buckner to nearly pull back to even. Kornuth overtook the lead, only for Buckner to find a double-up of his own as the swingy clash continued. Kornuth won the next all-in when his Q-9 suited made a flush to beat the Q-10 of Buckner.
With the betting limits having escalated to the point that only roughly 40 big blinds were in play, there were a few more big all-ins to come. Buckner called all-in with Q-J and made the nut straight to beat Kornuth’s 9-6 suited to retake the lead. The next hand, Kornuth called all-in with pocket sevens and held against Buckner’s A-5 to turn the tables yet again. Two hands later, the final hand was dealt. Buckner shoved with 96 for just less than 6.5 big blinds. Kornuth called with A10 and the board ran out K55A9 to lock up the pot and the title for Kornuth. Buckner earned $320,000 for his runner-up finish.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the televised final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
Photo credits: World Poker Tour.
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