VEGAS DIARIES: WPT World Championship Day 7

Image courtesy of WPT Media

7am: WPT World Championship final table is set!

2,960 entries, more than USD $29 million in the prize pool, and after seven days of action here at Wynn Las Vegas – including an arduous Day 5 that went for almost 19 hours – the official final table of the WPT World Championship has been set!

Once again, it’s England’s Benny Glaser who leads the way, finishing up in the early hours of Monday morning with a gargantuan stack worth 133.6 million, almost double that of his closest opponent in Canada’s Eliot Hudon with 80.8 million.

To give you an indication of how dominant the Glaser’s performance has been, not only has he bagged the overall chip lead since the end of Day 3, but at one stage held more than 60% of the total chips in play leading into the last break at around 5:45am this morning.

The four-time WSOP bracelet winner is without question the most recognised and successful of the group, but regardless of the result, all six of these players are now instant millionaires, and in two day’s time, one of them will return home as the inaugural WPT World Champion.

You can learn more about the WPT World Championship final tablists here, thanks to our friends at the World Poker Tour.


1Frank FunaroUnited States21,100,00013
2Jean-Claude MoussaUnited States19,000,000 12
3Adam AdlerUnited States27,200,00017
4Colton BlombergUnited States14,000,0009
5Benny GlaserUnited Kingdom133,600,00083
6Eliot HudonCanada80,800,00051

Play will resume on Tuesday, the 20th of December from 4pm local time, with recommencing blinds at 800,000/1,600,000 (1,600,000). The televised broadcast (cards-up, 30-minute delay) of the final table will be available to view on the World Poker Tour YouTube and Twitch channels, with live updates and full payout results at

REMAINING PAYOUTS (2,960 entries, 370 players paid)

PlaceAmount (USD)Amount (AUD)

And so, as the sun rises over The Strip, our time here has officially come to an end. On behalf of all of us at PokerMedia Australia, we’d like to once again congratulate all our Aussie players on their efforts, and hope to see you and many more from down under return to Las Vegas next year.

Our special thanks also go out to Lance Bradley, Eric Lusch, Adam Pliska, Angelica Hael and the entire WPT family for going above and beyond to look after us and our players. These last seven days has been incredibly prosperous, enlightening and productive in so many ways, and truly an invaluable opportunity to showcase our collective talent to the world. For that, we are eternally grateful.

Finally, to our viewers and readers at home and abroad, no matter if you’ve joined us for the first time or have been following our travels since the beginning, we simply can’t thank you enough for your continued support, and already, there’s so much to look forward to, but for those who missed out on this historic series this time around, do yourself a favour and start planning ahead right now.

It’s been said so many times by so many different people, and we’ve been able to offer but a taste of our experience over the last week, but make no mistake: the WPT World Championship, and indeed Wynn Las Vegas, is unlike anything else you’ve seen before. Period.

You can also rest assured that the PMA team remains committed to bringing you world-class coverage of all major events from wherever you may be, with more news, feature stories, podcasts, video, social media content and more Live Reporting Coverage from all corners of the country and beyond.

And if you want to be a part of that team, now’s your chance! PMA will be launching an official recruitment campaign for writers, reporters, photographers and content creators to join us on our journey, and we’ll have more details on that coming your way in the New Year.

For now though, it’s time for us to get ourselves ready for the long journey home, so until we meet again, please stay safe, enjoy the festive season with your friends and loved ones, and we wish you all the very best both on and off the felt in 2023.

Thanks again for tuning in, and from all of us here at PMA in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, it’s ‘bye for now!

1am: The final countdown

After almost 12 hours on the grind – and as we prepared ourselves for the trek back home – the final nine of the inaugural WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas was confirmed!

The pivotal moment came before 11pm local time, after Benny Glaser opened to 1.2 million from the button before Rami Owera jammed from the small blind with KJ, but lost the flip for his tournament life against Glaser’s 77 after the board ran out 96299.

Play is scheduled to continue until six players remain, before the official televised final table resumes on 20 December.


1Frank FunaroUnited States22,300,000
2Michael RoccoUnited States24,900,000
3Lucas FosterUnited States51,100,000
4Jean-Claude MoussaUnited States8,500,000
5Drew O’ConnellUnited States20,500,000
6Adam AdlerUnited States20,900,000
7Colton BlombergUnited States11,000,000
8Benny GlaserUnited Kingdom108,900,000
9Eliot HudonCanada26,600,000

And just before the clock struck 1am local time, the inaugural winner of the WPT Ladies Championship was crowned, with Canada’s Lina Niu defeating Olga Iermocheva of The Ukraine heads-up to win USD $105,136 (AUD $156,330)!

After Iermocheva first sent Jamie Kerstetter to the rail in sixth place, Kathy Liebert was felted by Niu in fifth place before Dusti Smith eliminated Cindy Spier in fourth (USD $38,350), with Smith’s AJ holding up against Spier’s A6, despite the nut flush draw appearing on a board of 104245.

Smith then found herself bowing out in third place, getting the last of her money in after a flop of Q95 with QJ, but she was rivered by Liu who made two pair as the turn and river completed 4, 7.

Then in the final hand of the tournament, Niu raised from the button to 450,000 before Iermocheva moved all-in for 3.95 million with 99. Liu called and showed down A6, which turned two pair on the board of K64A5.

A fitting stage to end such a historic event, and after ending on such a high note, all six final tablists will be taking to the high seas, each earning a bonus gift certificate for a cruise on Virgin Voyages!


PlaceNameCountryAmount (USD)
1stLina NiuCanada$105,136
2ndOlga IermochevaUkraine$70,008
3rdDusti SmithUnited States$51,538
4thCindy SpierUnited States$38,350
5thKathy LiebertUnited States$28,847
6thJamie KerstetterUnited States$21,934

Final table action can be viewed right now on YouTube and Twitch, with live updates and full payouts for all events available on

10:30pm: Making the call: a fireside chat with Jeff Platt

Even before the cards were in the air for the WPT World Championship series, there was a collective sense from the global poker community that this festival was going to be something special, something that would set the tone for what a poker event of this magnitude should be.

Few would argue that there’s anyone else more qualified to make a judgement call like that right now than Jeff Platt, who has worked with many major brands throughout the United States and beyond – including both the World Poker Tour (WPT) and World Series of Poker (WSOP) – for more than four years.

And from the moment Platt sat down with PokerMedia Australia during the dinner break, it was evident that the vote from himself and so many others was unanimous.

“It’s kind of rare for the poker community to get together and agree that it’s all awesome,” Platt said. “The only thing we can think of is that they’re just going to need more space, because the [WPT World Championship] been so incredibly popular.”

“This event just didn’t live up the hype, it surpassed it, and in so many different ways.”

The proof is as clear as day, as all advertised tournament guarantees across the festival having been effectively doubled, with the USD $10,400 buy-in WPT World Championship generating a total prize pool of more than USD $29 million, and the USD $1,100 buy-in WPT Prime Championship, which proved to be much more than just a warm-up with USD $5.2 million in change given away from a field of 5,430 entries.

A phenomenal accomplishment that’s not lost on anyone, and made all the more impressive when you’re reminded that this is the first time that a WPT series of this scale has been executed here at The Wynn, but in Platt’s view, it’s the synergy between the two organisations that has made it so successful.

“I feel like when you walk in, it has that feel of of a festival that you’re just already accustomed to. Everything just works so seamlessly. Even when they had 900 to 1,000 alternates, they worked it out pretty smoothly, in my opinion.”

“The dealers and the floor staff are incredible, and I think that you see a true partnership between the WPT and The Wynn. You see all the executives … they’re all out here walking the floor and they’re just so engaged and involved, and all of that has paid off through what you see today.”

The WPT’s philosophy of a collaborative, hands-on approach is not dissimilar to Blatt’s professional and personal mantra, which is just one of the reasons why he’s quickly earned himself a reputation as one of the best broadcasters of his generation, and was lauded by his peers when he suited up as the sideline reporter for the 2021 WSOP Main Event.

Platt was quick to give credit to so many of his colleagues – in particular, PokerGO Executive Producer Dan Gati, as well as WSOP commentators, Norman Chad, Jamie Kerstetter and Kara Scott – who he sees as his biggest influences and also helped play a pivotal role in bringing that “lightbulb moment” to life.

Although the concept did present several challenges in the beginning, Platt and his production team were able to implement changes on-the-fly to improve and refine their approach, which he felt only got better through each and every day.

“The timing of it all is really tricky,” he explained, “and what I don’t wanna do is mess with a player during a hand, so it led to a couple of awkward moments where we’re waiting for them, but once they were out of it I’d tell my producer, ‘Okay, let’s go,’ and we wouldn’t have to necessarily run it live – we could tape it and then put into the broadcast five minutes later, so that we weren’t just stuck there.”

“As time went by, I became better at developing and asking those questions, and becoming more efficient with it. I think that the whole process evolved significantly, and naturally, you become a better interviewer the more that you talk to people.”

Sound advice for anyone considering a career move into any form of media within the poker industry, but not without planning ahead and putting the hard yards in, as Platt pointed out.

“There are so many opportunities to dive in with casinos and card rooms across the world. You might not be able to jump onto a headset right away, but nothing’s stopping you from taking an old broadcast, putting it on mute, and just practicing yourself at home and develop your own style.”

“The other thing is just to make yourself available whenever you can. My friends still make fun of me because I really don’t say no to anything, but I’m really excited to work as much as I can in this business because I really love it, but you gotta get a lot of reps in, which is something that you can do in poker nowadays.”

You can hear Jeff Platt call the action on the WPT World Championship broadcast, now streaming on YouTube and Twitch.


Players Remaining/Total Entries9/2,960
Current Blinds300,000/600,000 (600,000)
Average Stack29,600,000 (49 BBs)
Next PayoutUSD $429,000 (AUD $640,136)


PlaceNameCountryAmount (USD)
10thRami OweraUnited States$429,000
11thKrasimir YankovBulgaria$338,500
12thBryce YockeyUnited States$338,500
13thJason GoochUnited States$269,900

7:30pm: No bones about it … that’s brutal!

A shocking turn of events in the WPT World Championship as we approached the dinner break, with Canadian superstar Daniel Negreanu cashing out in 17th place for USD $176,200 (AUD $262,380) after being felted in horrifying fashion by Lucas Foster.

Action folded around to Negreanu who min-raised to 800,000 from the button before Foster three-bet out of the big blind to 2.3 million. Negreanu called, and then flatted after Foster’s c-bet of 2.5 million afte the flop of 1042.

After the dealer peeled off the 10, Foster asked for a count before announcing he was all-in. Negreanu quickly called and showed 22 for a full house, and found himself in great shape against Foster’s KK.

River: K

A counterfeit so sickening, you could feel it in your bones.


Players Remaining/Total Entries13/2,960
Recommencing Blinds300,000/500,000 (500,000)
Average Stack22,769,231 (45 BBs)
Next PayoutUSD $269,900 (AUD $401,879)


PlaceNameCountryAmount (USD)
14thStephen KehoeIreland$269,900
15thSoheb PorbandarwalaUnited States$217,100
16thAlexander FarahiUnited States$217,100
17thDaniel NegreanuCanada$176,200

The 13 remaining players are now in the midst of a one-hour dinner break, with play to resume at approximately 8:05pm local time.

5:30pm: Play on

As action continues in the WPT World Championship and the WPT Ladies Event (both now streaming live on the WPT YouTube and Twitch channels), our reporter did some recon on what’s happening on and around the felt here at The Wynn.

Day 1C of the USD $1,600 buy-in Mystery Bounty is absolutely going nuts, now up to more than 1,200 entries having been seated in the Encore Ballroom. Ehsan Amiri is amongst the Aussies to jumped in, along with fellow Sydneysider Raj Ramakrishnan, who first made a splash on our nation’s poker scene after finishing fourth in the 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event.

They’ve informed us that Sean Ragozzini is amongst the 108 entries already taken in for the USD $10,500 buy-in Single Day High Roller, which also features Erik Seidel, Justin Bonomo, Stephen Chidwick and Alex & Kristen Foxen.

In other news, the WPT Ladies Championship final table resulted was pushed back to a 4pm start, and now streaming on Twitch (cards-up, 30-minute delay), while England’s Benny Glaser now holds approximately 20% of the chips in play as we head to the next break in the WPT World Championship, having eliminated Nate Kogel in 19th place after waking up with pocket Aces against Kogel’s Ace-King.


Players Remaining/Total Entries17/2,960
Current Blinds200,000/400,000 (400,000)
Average Stack17,411,765 (43 BBs)
Next PayoutUSD $176,200 (AUD $263,042)


PlaceNameCountryAmount (USD)
18thNissim VakninIsrael$176,200
19thNate KogelUnited States$176,200
20thGarrett GreerUnited States$176,200
21stBrendan ShillerUnited States$176,200
22ndAdrian SorelRomania$144,300

4pm: VIP = Very Important Persinger

Now down to three tables in the WPT World Championship as we head into the 29th level of play, with LoriAnn Persinger amongst those heading off to the cage to collect USD $119,300 (AUD $178,235).

The Navy veteran and former tournament reporter moved all-in for her last 2.23 million out of the small blind after Jean-Claude Moussa raised out of middle position; Persinger tabled AK, but lost the flip for her tournament life against Moussa’s QQ after neither hand improved on the board of 103652.

Even though the cards didn’t co-operate and her run in the WPT World Championship has now ended, there was no wiping the smile off Persinger’s face as she spoke with several members of her poker media alma mater.

“I’m not the one to bust out of a tournament with a six-figure sum and look like it’s the end of the world,” Persinger said. “I’m also don’t plan on changing anything that I’ve done. I’m just a low-stakes grinder, I love playing daily tournaments … I’m not a pro, I just like to play like one!”

Persinger, who won her seat and VIP package through a social media promotion run by WPT Ambassador Andrew Neeme, was absolutely over the moon with the result and remains hopeful of coming back next year.

“I’ve been watching WPT since day one, and this experience has just been more than I could have ever imagined,” she said. “I was on the live stream and my whole family got to see what I’ve been doing this whole time.”

“I’m probably not going to get this chance again, so I just wanted to take it all in, absorb it and make every last minute of it. The only thing I’m sad about is that it’s over, but it’s just been amazing!”


Players Remaining/Total Entries22/2,960
Current Blinds150,000/300,000 (300,000)
Average Stack13,454,545 (45 BBs)
Next PayoutUSD $144,300 (AUD $215,598)


PlaceNameCountryAmount (USD)
23rdIsaac KemptonUnited States$144,300
24thCorey PaggeotUnited States$144,300
25thChris LimoUnited States$119,300
26thJuan OrellanaArgentina$119,300
27thJean GaspardUnited States$119,300
28thAndrew OstapchenkoUnited States$119,300
29thAaron MasseyUnited States$119,300
30thLoriAnn PersingerUnited States$119,300
31stIgor KurganovRussian Federation$119,300

2pm: Quiet on set!

It’s been a relatively subdued start to our day, but as the remaining 37 players in the WPT World Championship took to the felt, PokerMedia Australia made their way through the cavernous hallways towards The Wynn and into the LaTour Ballroom.

Through a haze of azure, the production team were putting the finishing touches to the set – and without revealing too much, it’s looking every bit as sleek, stylish and vast as everything else we’ve seen here over the last week (of course, you’re going to have to watch the stream later this afternoon to see the whole thing).

As the dancers flittered and twirled about to the music and stepped through their choreography, Matt Savage nudged our reporter with a wink and a smile.

“That’s gonna be you up there dancing in the real thing, right?” Savage joked.

Admittedly, we have been known to cut a little rug in our time, but we then had to hot-foot it back to the Encore Ballroom to check in on the Main Event, where WPT Ambassador Brad Owen was confirmed as one of the early eliminations from the Big Dance.

Action folded to Owen who raised to 400,000 from the cut-off before Drew O’Connell re-raised to 1.1 million from the button. In response, Owen four-bet it to 3.2 million, however O’Connell came back with a five-bet-shove of 12.5 million effective.

Owen snap-called and tabled KK, but O’Connell’s AK drilled the flop of A32 and improved to two pair after the turn and river completed 8, 3.


Players Remaining/Total Entries31/2,960
Current Blinds125,000/250,000 (250,000)
Average Stack9,548,387 (38 BBs)
Next PayoutUSD $119,300 (AUD $178,261)


PlaceNameCountryAmount (USD)
32ndKharlin SuedUnited States$119,300
33rdThomas ZanotUnited States$99,600
34thPhilip PetersonUnited States$99,600
35thBrad OwenUnited States$99,600
36thWojciech BarzantnyAustria$99,600
37thAlberto MeranDominican Republic$99,600

Sunday 18 December 2022

From wherever you’re watching in Australia, New Zealand or around the world, hello and welcome back to PokerMedia Australia‘s final chapter of the Vegas Diaries!

From 2,960 entries, we are now down to just 37 players in the WPT World Championship, with Day 4 chip leader Benny Glaser going coast-to-coast to top the counts again as we head into Day 5. Daniel Negreanu is also amongst the notables returning today, and a deep run in the Big Dance could see him overtake Carlos Mortensen as the #1 ranked player on the WPT All-Time Money List.

There’ll also be plenty of support for Navy veteran LoriAnn Persinger, who after winning a social media promotion through WPT Ambassador Andrew Neeme, is on the verge of becoming the first woman to make the final table of this World Championship tournament and emulating the efforts of Poker Hall of Famer Barbara Enright, who achieved this feat in the USD $10,000 buy-in WSOP Main Event back in 1995.

Day 5 the WPT World Championship will commence at 12pm local time, with recommencing blinds at 100,000/200,000 (200,000). Live updates can be found at, with feature table streaming for all events (cards-up, 30-minute delay) available on YouTube and Twitch.

PMA will also be back on deck soon, so be sure to check in for more of our feature stories and social media content throughout the day and right up until the final river falls!

All images courtesy of the World Poker Tour. WPT, World Poker Tour and the Spade Card Design are registered trademarks of WPT Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

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