With Dunst’s elimination, Scott Eskenazi was able to win the WPT Thunder Valley.

A victor has been crowned in 2023’s first World Poker Tour tournament.

Despite odds favoring chipleader Alejandro Jauregui or World Poker Tour commentator Tony Dunst, short-stacked players Jeremy Joseph and Scott Skenazi found themselves in heads-up play for the right to have their names engraved on the Champions Cup.

It didn’t take Dunst long to get himself on the wrong side of an all-in situation. The double-up to Eskenazi wasn’t even the worst of his bad luck; he busted out on the first hand of the ninth level of the FT. Blind battle and from the SB, Dunst had a straight on the flop and was paying streets with overcards (KQs) and a flush draw (on the turn). The river was the deciding factor in his decision to commit himself by fire.

At a table where numerous players were vying for the biggest prize of their lives, Joseph dropped to 10bb after failing to locate the locations of his erstwhile companion in adversity. As a consequence of Joseph’s fold, chip leader Victor Paredes made a disastrous decision to flip against him.

The focus shifted to the heads-up, where Eskenazi planned to score heavily with a highly aggressive performance. The new chipleader was able to use Jauregui’s surrender to remove Albert Tapia in a coin flip.

Being the odd man out at a table of three, Joseph was able to trade places with Jauregui and work together to narrow the gap in the lead thanks to a double up. Having no other options, Jauregui decided to counter Joseph’s check-raise with a gutshot. When it failed to do so, he attempted a bluff on the turn, but was unsuccessful in eliminating Joseph’s top pair.

A protracted heads-up was indeed what the effective stack had projected. It wasn’t shortened by the scoreboard options, but they added a lot more drama. A straight all-in from Joseph with A2 was called by an unbeaten AK in heads-up play.

$361,660 went to Scott Eskenazi.

Joseph, Jeremy $234,000.

A. Jauregui, M.D. / $172,000

Cash payment of $128k to Albert Tapia

$97,000. Victor Paredes

$73,400 for Tony Dunst.

After traversing the whole United States over the next few weeks, the World Poker Tour (WPT) will finish at the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida, its most frequent stop since the virus was eradicated.

There, on April 28, will begin the Poker Showdown’s main event, which has a $3,500 ME.


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