‘Salas Wins WSOP International 2020 !’ (image source: www.wsop.com)

It’s a big week on the poker circuit as the conclusion of the ‘International Tournament’ of the 2020 WSOP $10,000 main event came to a close with a winner. Argentine Damian Salas pushed past a field of 674 entrants to bring home a bracelet and a nice sum of $1,550,969!

Salas is already an experienced tournament player and is no stranger to playing live poker tournaments with big buy-ins and plenty of competition. In 2017 he managed to get through a field of 7,221 entrants playing live in the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in main event to eventually make it to the final table. Although that time around he did not come out the victor after finishing in 7th place, he did take home a million-dollar-plus pay off earning $1.4 million.

Days 1 and 2 Played Online to Produce the Final Table

This time around the field was much smaller and the beginning of the event was online with Day 1 played over 3 days which were 29 November, 5 December, and 6 December. By Day 2 there were 179 players which took 10 hours for the players to grind down to the final table. At this stage, Salas entered the final table with the third-highest chip stack with Brazilian Brunno Botteon the chip leader, plus no one was guaranteed a cash spot as 9th place would walk away with no prize money.

Final Table Played Live

The final table event was back to live poker and played out in the King’s Casino in Rozvadov. 8 players battled it out with Speiser the first to bow out when the pocket 10s of Salas held up against Q-10 suited. Salas then dealt the second blow out of the night by taking out Obreshkov as the Argentine took down the pot when he hit 2 pair A-10s versus a weak K-10 off suite. A few hands later Ruivo took on Mikolaitis’ A-J offsuit with pocket 3s, which turned into trips on the flop and held up to the showdown.

Ruivo then landed bullets allowing him to eliminate Streda, who when all-in with roughly 10 big blinds remaining. He decided his A-K was the right time to shove; however, it was not to be! By the break, Salas was the clear chip leader with 3 times more than 2nd place Botteon. This was thanks to some cunning grinds and his early eliminations swallowing up the short stacks of Speiser and Obreshkov.

After the break, Botteon drew first blood with yet another pocket 3 hand doing the damage at the final table. This time the 3s outran the A-J all-in of short stack Munoz who was running out of time and chips by this point.

3 Handed Play

Now the table was down to 3 with Botteon now closing back in on Salas. However, Salas increased his lead after pulling out a flush on the river versus Ruivo’s 9d-4h hand. Ruivo initially went all-in on the turn with a 2-pair when the board read 9c-4c-2d, but Salas saw this as an opportunity being in a flush draw holding 10c-7c on a 9c-4c-2d board. The turn was an 8s now giving Salas an outside straight draw and flush draw at this point and on the river came the 5c blowing Ruivo’s 2 pair out of the hand and the player out of the tournament.

Heads Up

The heads up battle was short-lived as Salas was in the lead with roughly a 5:3 ratio. Botteon still had a realistic chance to pull things back his way, but the cards went away once again. When the final hand came the chip stack ration had moved to around 3:1 in Salas’ direction and it was a Kd-8h versus 7h-3h, the latter hand being held by Botteon. The flop was Kc-4c-2h. Both players checked the flop, and the turn would produce the action card that would finish off the tournament. As soon as the 6h came out Botteon saw his chance with a flush draw and an inside straight draw but still checked as the pot was clearly not worth an instant all-in.

Botteon decided to make it look like he was stealing the pot with a 1 million bet so Botteon check-raised 2,800,000 to which Salas played things cool, clearly aware of the straight and flush draws looming. However, the river was an 8c with the board now reading Kc-4c-2h-6h-8c. Botteon decided to go all-in representing a club flush after missing his hearts flush draw or possibly a hand with 5-7. It then took Salas a while to think about the way the hand played out, and he finally decided Botteon was bluffing, arguably the reason being that there is an 80% chance Botteon would slow-play that last bet if he really had it!

Here’s how the final payouts went:

1st – Damian Salas ($1,550,969)

2nd – Brunno Botteon ($1,062,723)

3rd – Manuel Ruivo ($728,177)

4th – Ramon Miquel Munoz ($498,947)

5th – Marco Streda ($341,879)

6th – Dominykas Mikolaitis ($234,255)

7th – Stoyan Obreshkov ($160,512)

8th – Hannes Speiser ($109,982)

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