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Chad Eveslage wins the record-setting 20th Anniversary Five Diamond for his second WPT championship

The Five Diamond World Poker Classic, the premier event of the World Poker Tour (WPT), added one of its most spectacular chapters to its historic history on Sunday. The event with a buy-in of $10,400 had 569 participants, resulting in a prize pool of $5,519,300, which exceeded the $5 million guarantee.

After a record-setting 399 hands at the official final table, Chad Eveslage beat Steve “Cuz” Buckner heads-up to earn his second plaque on the Mike Sexton Champions Cup and $1,042,300 in prize money.

Even with expedited 30-minute blind stages once heads-up play started, the four-hour heads-up battle between Eveslage and his obstinate opponent began at midday local time and continued until almost midnight.

Eveslage overcame a formidable final table that featured Belgian poker legend Michael Gathy, who battled back from under four large blinds on Day 4 to finish third, and Day 2 and 3 chip leader Brian Kim, who finished fourth. When asked how it felt to win his second WPT championship, the winner was keen to single out those two opponents.

“It feels fantastic. I feel incredibly blessed. Never had I played with (Gathy). I was blown away. I haven’t been that impressed with another poker player for some time now. “He was very, very harsh,” Eveslage said. “And then Brian, I had never heard of him before, but he was.. (Eveslage gave a look of amazement). It’s insane because there are so many fantastic players, and to win two (WPT championships), I’m quite sure I’m not that much or that much better than any of them, so I feel really fortunate.”

Eveslage previously defeated 1,199 competitors to win the $5,000 WPT Venetian for $910,370 in July 2021. In addition, he won his first gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Event #8: $25,000 High Roller for $1,415,610 this past summer.

2022 Five Diamond World Poker Classic Final Day Results

PLACENAMECOUNTRYPRIZE
1Chad EveslageUnited States$1,042,300
2Steve BucknerUnited States$690,000
3Michael GathyBelgium$505,000
4Brian KimUnited States$377,000
5Albert CalderonUnited States$283,000
6David KimUnited States$216,000
7Zach DonovanUnited States$166,000

Donovan is the day’s first player to be eliminated, establishing the official final table

Zach Donovan
Zach Donovan

Zach Donovan entered the final table with 960,000 chips, the second-smallest stack left. However, on the tenth hand of the final day, he was the first player to be eliminated, falling short of the official six-handed WPT final table.

In level 25, with blinds of 30,000/60,000 and a huge blind ante of 60,000, Donovan pushed all in from the hijack for 790,000 from the hijack position. Brian Kim’s call from the huge blind exposed Donovan to danger.

Donovan owned a-Spadesq-Clubs, but he was in a horrible position against Kim’s q-Heartsq-Clubs.

Following a runout of 7-Spades5-Hearts2-Clubs8-Hearts7-Clubs, Donovan was eliminated in seventh place and received $166,000 in prize money.

The event then reverted to 60-minute levels, with each participant getting a whole new stack of eight 30-second time extension chips.

David Kim Eliminated in 6th Place

David Kim
David Kim

David Kim, who had began the day with the shortest stack, was eliminated in sixth place during the middle of level 27 with blinds of 50,000/100,000/100,000 and blinds of 50,000/100,000/100,000.

Gathy in the huge blind called Kim’s raise from under the pistol, which was for 200,000. After Gathy checked the flop of a-Spades-8-Diamonds-6-Diamonds, Kim bet 150,000 and Gathy check-raised her to 375,000.

Kim called, and on the q-Clubs’ turn, Gathy pushed all-in for around one million chips. Kim called after more than a minute in the tank while holding a-Diamonds and j-Hearts for top pair with a jack kicker.

However, Gathy revealed a-Clubs8-Clubs for a flopped two pair. Kim was sent home with $216,000 after the river 3-Diamonds failed to rescue him.

Calderon falls to fifth place, while Buckner takes the lead in the POY Race

Albert Calderon
Albert Calderon

Shortly after Kim was eliminated, the field was reduced to four players when the day’s chip leader, Albert Calderon, was eliminated by Eveslage.

On the 100th official hand of the final table, Eveslage raised to 225,000 from the button and Calderon called from the big blind.

On the flip of a-Diamonds-q-Hearts-6-Hearts, Eveslage remained in position for 225,000 and Calderon check-raised him to 500,000. Eveslage summoned to observe the “4-Hearts” turn.

Then, Calderon bet 3,150,000, which was more than double the amount of the pot. Eveslage revealed a-Clubs and q-Diamonds for top two pair when he called. Calderon could only present a-Hearts-10-Diamonds for a flush draw with a pair of aces.

The 10-Clubs on the river gave both Calderon and Eveslage two pair, but Calderon’s hand was inferior to Eveslage’s. As a result, Eveslage won the massive pot and moved into second position in chips behind Gathy, who now controlled almost ten million.

Calderon received $283,000 for his fifth-place finish, but the hand’s most notable byproduct was Buckner’s ascent to the 2022 WPT Player of the Year lead. With at least 650 POY points secured, Buckner surpassed Ray Qartomy by 50 points to take the lead in the race. He now had the chance to increase his advantage if he could go further in the event.

Buckner Needs a Miracle to Survive

Steve Buckner
Steve Buckner

Buckner’s bid for the Five Diamond championship and any further Player of the Year points were in grave risk midway through level 28 since he was all in and dominating against Gathy.

Buckner pushed all in preflop from the button for 1,825,000 with q-Heartsj-Diamonds, and Gathy called with a-Diamondsj-Clubs from the big blind.

The flip provided Gathy an even greater advantage in the hand, as the a-Hearts8-Diamonds6-Hearts board paired Gathy’s ace and left Bucker having to live with runner-runner.

Buckner had a gutshot draw to Broadway as runner number one came around the bend with the “k-Clubs.”

Buckner was then dealt a straight after runner number two completed the river with the “10-Clubs.”

Buckner’s trademark cry of “LETS GOOOO” reverberated throughout the Bellagio poker room as the pot was pushed to him, increasing his chip stack to almost four million.

Eveslage Wins Massive Pot to Eliminate Kim in 4th Place

Brian Kim
Brian Kim

Buckner’s survival abilities were profitable when, late in level 29 with blinds of 75,000/150,000/150,000, he eliminated Brian Kim in third place with a spectacular elimination.

After Eveslage started for 300,000 from the button and Buckner called from the cutoff, Kim went all in from the big blind for 4,525,000. Then, Eveslage increased his wager, and Buckner folded.

Kim revealed a-Diamondsq-Diamonds against Eveslage’s 10-Hearts10-Clubs, and a nine-million-chip coin toss began.

Kim was eliminated in fourth place when the board read a-Spades-q-Hearts-10-Spades-7-Diamonds-7-Spades, giving Eveslage top two pair on the flop and sending Kim to the rail. The unexpected conclusion must have been disheartening, but this is another another excellent performance for Kim, who has had an incredible year.

His fourth-place payoff of $377,000 was his largest live cash, surpassing the $323,000 he received for finishing 23rd in the WSOP Main Event in 2022. Last week, Kim also won a $5,300 WSOP online High Roller for a bracelet and $119,000.

Buckner renders Gathy ineffective


With three players remaining and Buckner gaining a new life, the stacks started to narrow at level 30, with Buckner continuing to rebuild and eventually surpassing Gathy.

On a flip of j-Clubs-9-Hearts-8-Clubs, Buckner led out from the small blind for 350,000 in a blind against blind pot. Buckner raised one million chips after the flip of k-Spades, which Gathy called. Gathy then called Buckner’s bet of one million chips after the flop of k-Spades.

The river delivered the “k-Hearts,” and Buckner is now all-in for almost $4 million. This time, Gathy folded, and Buckner triumphantly revealed a flopped straight with 10 hearts and 7 diamonds.

The pot awarded Buckner 7,325,000 chips, compared to Gathy’s 6,300,000, while Eveslage covered both of his opponents with 14,800,000.

Gathy Falls in 3rd Place

Michael Gathy
Michael Gathy

Gathy, who had recovered from being down four big blinds to enter the final day with the third-largest stack, claimed at the conclusion of Day 4 that he felt like he was freerolling. He participated in that freeroll all the way to the final table, but he struggled to bounce back after losing his stack three times in a row.

In Gathy’s penultimate hand, he raised to 500,000 on the button before taking on an all-in bet of 6,300,000 from Eveslage in the small blind. Gathy phoned to risk his safety and was beaten.

Gathy’s day was over when Eveslage held the hand of “a-Spades” and “q-Diamonds” against Buckner’s “a-Hearts” and “j-Diamonds,” and when the board revealed “10-Spades” and “4-Diamonds” and “2-Diamonds” and “6-Spades” and “9-Spades,” which brought no assistance to Gathy, the Belgian finished in third

River Déjà Vu for Buckner

Steve Buckner vs. Chad Eveslage
Steve Buckner vs. Chad Eveslage

Buckner would have won the WPT Choctaw tournament had he held his queen-ten against Chance Kornuth’s queen-nine in a pot in which he finished second to Kornuth.

However, on the river, Kornuth would complete a flush against Buckner, leaving him with nothing and quickly claiming the championship.

Sunday, Buckner again had a strong hand for the victory, but was again rejected on the river.

Buckner called Eveslage’s all-in for well over 12 million with q-Diamonds and q-Spades on Level 37, where the blinds had ballooned to a whopping 500,000/1,000,000/1,000,000.

The 8-Clubs5-Spades3-Spades4-Hearts board went clean for Buckner through the turn, and he was once again one card away from winning. The a-Hearts on the river, however, had other plans, giving Eveslage a pair of aces and a big pot that effectively sealed Buckner’s destiny once again.

Buckner placed his final 3,100,000 chips in the pot with 9-Clubs7-Spades against Eveslage’s 7-Hearts5-Diamonds on the next hand, but Eveslage won the tournament by flopping a pair of fives on the 10-Spades10-Diamonds5-Clubsk-Heartsj-Hearts board.

Source: pokernews.com

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