After a rollercoaster penultimate day, the World Poker Tour’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown reached the final as four-time WPT champion Darren Elias took the lead with six remaining.

Ten players were busted on a busy day on the felt in Florida, but who missed out on a final table seat and a trip to Las Vegas and the HyperX Esports Arena?

Early Casualties 

Day 4 began with Mark Davis leading the final 16 players into the action after a stirring end to Day 3 in Florida. Two tables needed to be reduced to one, and the bust-outs started quickly. Elias himself started slowly as he battled to find hands at an aggressive table where three and four-bets were commonplace. The four-time champion would take some time to build his chip lead and pile up 38,825,000 chips with six players remaining, but others would go fast then go home.

It took the best part of two levels for the first player to depart, with James Kousouros would the first player to depart, busting in 16th place for $51,000. Kousouros moved all-in for eight big blinds with ace-deuce but was called in two places and when David Moore with ace-jack and Andrew Davidson with ace-queen. After the board of Q-T-T-A-7 played out, Kousouros made his departure.

Next to go was Christian Harder, who left for the same amount in 15th place, his seven-six off-suit beaten by Andrew Davidson’s king-six of clubs on the A-J-T-Q-4 as Harder was drawing dead by the turn which gave Davidson Broadway. At that stage, the chip leader in the room was Mark Davis, but Elias was gaining in his slipstream.

Pahuja One of Vo’s Victims

“It was good playing with you.”

Vinny Pahuja is a man who needs no introduction to poker fans. Unfortunately for him and his many fans, the former WPTDeepstacks champion slid out of contention in 14th place. He was all-in pre-flop with pocket sevens and up against Viet Vo’s ace-king, which rivered a king to see Pahuja crash out for $63,000.

Robert Georato was out next, cashing for the same amount when he saw his pocket jacks busted by Davis’ ace-queen, all the chips going into the middle on a flop of A-5-5 and no help coming. Benjamin Miner was out shortly afterwards, his king-nine dominated then delivered by Andrew Davidson’s king-jack to see Miner out with $79,000. Just a few minutes later, the field was down to ten players, as Carlos Dorca cashed for the same amount, his ace-three busted by Davis’ ace-nine.

“Good job, buddy.” Davis said to Dorca, who replied in kind, telling the chip leader: “You too. It was good playing with you.”

Two tables went down to one as Robert Lofaso fell in 10th place for $100,000. His last chips lost out with ace-deuce, David Moore’s queen-jack hitting the flop of J-T-6 hard and after all the chips went into the middle, Lofaso couldn’t catch up. That sent play to the unofficial final table of nine, with Mark Davis holding over a quarter of the chips in play.

Seminole Chips
Everyone was chasing final table chips on Day 4 of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.

Elias Rises Through the Ranks

With nine players remaining, David Moore was the next to bust, also cashing for $100,000. Moore was all-in with ace-seven, but couldn’t overtake Davidson’s ace-jack as a slow start to the final table finally saw an elimination in the 37th hand that took place.

By the tie James Calderaro lost his tournament life in eight place, Elias had already taken control and grabbed the chip lead. Winning a flip against Calderaro with Elias holding pocket tens and his opponent failing to hit with ace-queen, the four-time champ moved even further ahead. Calderaro cashed for $125,000 for being the second player to leave the final table.

In seventh place, a surprise exit saw Andrew Davidson end the night on the rail rather than sliding chips into a bag. Davidson committed his last chips with the best pre-flop hand, too, his pocket queens unfortunate to fall behind Davis’ king-ten on the flop before the money went in on the turn of a jack. Davidson got the bad news and couldn’t hit a queen on the river to leave for a score of $165,000.

Elias to Take Charge of the Final

Having made it to the final table with a big lead, Elias knows that if he can win through the Vegas final in late May, then it would be a huge achievement, extending his WPT record to five Main Events. He would love to get his name on the Mike Sexton Champions Cup yet again.

“I was card dead for a couple of hours, found a few hands, and was able to win a few big pots,” he told WPT after the day’s conclusion. “It’s an interesting stack distribution. Normally there would be a lot of ICM dynamics. You have to think about how that affects your opponents and do they know about them. Do they know about how these dynamics affect play? Figuring out how they understand that concept will dictate my play [in the final].”

It’s not only a victory that would extend Elias’ record. The East Coast star has already achieved something no-one else ever has, booking his record 45th cash on the World Poker Tour. Despite that, Elias has his eyes fully focused on the win.

“It would mean a lot to win this one,” he said. “It would be my biggest score ever. I’ve never won a million dollars, so it would mean a lot.”

Elias and his five opponents will have to wait six weeks to reconvene for the final. It will take place at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas on May 25th, with the big blind at 250,000. Amid a busy period of news in poker, with huge tours such as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure announcing its return, the potential for big winners in the next year is one that not only Darren Elias will want to grab.

WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Chipcounts:

Position Player Country Chips
1st Darren Elias U.S.A. 38,825,000
2nd Mark Davis U.S.A. 26,550,000
3rd Viet Vo U.S.A. 11,925,000
4th Marcos Exterkotter Brazil 10,900,000
5th Michael Laufer U.S.A. 6,750,000
6th Andrew Barfield U.S.A. 5,500,000


Arthur Crowson

Arthur Crowson writes for about the gambling industry. His experience ranges from crypto and technology to sports, casinos, and poker. He went to Douglas College and started his journalism career at the Merritt Herald as a general beat reporter covering news, sports and community. Arthur lives in Hawaii and is passionate about writing, editing, and photography.

Back To Top
Back To Top