On Tuesday, the World Poker Tour (WPT) Choctaw $3,700 Main Event concluded with Dapo Ajayi topping a 964-entry field to claim a $588,610 top prize and etch his name on the Mike Sexton Champions Cup.
The career-high score came a year and a half after Ajayi finished runner-up in the WPT Montreal Powered by partypoker LIVE, good for a prior career-high $254,966. According to The Hendon Mob, Ajayi now has just over $1.5 million in lifetime tournament earnings including $211,945 for finishing 39th in the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.
“It’s difficult to articulate. It’s been a really interesting week. I almost didn’t come. There was a friend of mine that convinced me to come down”, Ajayi told WPT officials after the win. “I will say, this time, I appreciated the moment more than in past times, and I was able to kind of savor it.”
He added: “Choctaw is a special place, that’s for sure, and I’m definitely 2/2 here, so I will definitely be back. Maybe it’s the south, they are very friendly, and it’s a different brand of poker, feels more old school.”
2021 WPT Choctaw Final Table Results
The tournament generated a $3,272,780 prize pool that was paid out amongst the top 122 finishers. Among those to cash were Terry Presley (7th – $91,010), DJ Alexander (12th – $44,500), James Mackey (16th – $29,215), Seneca Easley (28th – $16,950), Adam Hendrix (32nd – $16,950), Phil Mader (35th – $14,475), Bryan Campanello (41st – $12,510), Brian Altman (48th – $12,510), Farid Jattin (51st – $10,950), and Josh Reichard (59th – $9,700).
Final Table Action
According to the WPT Live Updates, Viet Vo began the day as the chip leader. It was the second time in three seasons he was at the WPT Choctaw Main Event final table, and he was looking to avenge his previous second-place finish.
Action resumed in Level 27 (50,000/100,000/100,000) and it only took three hands for the first elimination to occur. It happened when Michael Perrone three-bet jammed from the big blind with ace-jack and Albert Calderon, the original raiser, called with ace-queen. The kicker made the difference and just like that the field was down to five.
Two levels later, Will Nguyen lost with ace-three to the pocket nines of Hunter Cichy to fall in fifth place, and then Cichy followed him out the door in fourth ten hands later when his pocket sevens lost a race to the ace-nine of Calderon.
Three-handed play was a battle, but eventually, it was Calderon bowing out after missing a flush draw against the trip aces of Dapo Ajay, who took a near 3:1 chip lead into heads-up play against Vo.
On Hand #212 of the final table, Vo moved all in holding queen-three and Ajayi had an easy call after looking down at pocket kings. The board ran out clean and for the second time, Vo had to settle for second place and a $372,415 consolation prize.
“It feels great. It was a long battle. Vo is a really tough player, he has had a lot of success recently, so yea, it’s humbling”, Ajayi told WPT reporters.
The next live WPT stop will be the $5,000 buy-in bestbet Scramble, which will run from August 27-31. That will be a part of a longer festival that will run from August 13-31. PokerNews will be on-site to offer live updates from a trio of events including Event #1: $400 NLH Opener, Event #7: $600 NLH Multi-Flight, and Event #15: $25,000 High Roller.
*Images courtesy of WPT/Joe Giron/PokerPhotoArchive.com.