In the largest cash win of his career, Salomon Ponte scored $341,420 for his first-place finish in the Seminole Lucky Hearts World Poker Tour DeepStacks $1,100 Main Event in South Florida. Ponte had to conquer 1,683 other players for the money plus the World Poker Tour (WPT) DeepStacks Championship Package.
Before his massive score, Ponte had just $19,465 in career cash winnings.
The 26-year-old Canadian started the final day as the chip leader and established dominance early – eliminating the first person at the nine-player final table himself; Paul Balzano bet strong with 6♢, 6♡. Ponte called holding A♢, 9♢. The flop (A♤, 7♤, 2♧) delivered Ponte a pair and the turn and river (3♢, Q♧) were inconsequential. The ninth-place finisher took home $27,390.
Zack Goodman was eliminated in eighth, also by Ponte, when his Q, 10 ran into the big man’s pocket kings. Ryan D’Angelo (a consistent winner on the World Series of Poker circuit) was the next to go, followed by Ed Mallon, Michael Larocca, and Kenneth Watson.
Things quieted a bit after Watson was sent home, but the action picked up again when Harrison Gimbel was eliminated in fourth. He shoved all-in for 4.8 million in the small blind with a 10♤, 6♡. Ponte called from the big with A♧, 10♡. The board ran an 8♧, 5♡, 3♤, 9♤, 8♤ and the ace held. Thong Ho was eliminated in third, setting the stage for a heads-up match between Ponte and Ed Mallon.
Mallon was behind when Ponte went all-in with A♧, K♡. Mallon called holding 9♤, 8♤. A flop of K♢, 9♢, 3♧ kept it relatively close but the turn and river (A♢, 4♡) sealed victory for the northerner. The runner-up took home $192,885 for his efforts.
While the win was the first big live-tournament score for Ponte, he talked a big game after the tournament.
“Honestly, as the #hashtagking, I knew i was going to win. I told everyone I was going to win,” Ponte said in a post-game interview. “My strategy is just to be better than everyone else. To be honest, I think my skill level is really high.”
Final table results:
(Photo credit: Ryan Hyde, Creative Commons).
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