Scott Eskenazi Wins World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event

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The first World Poker Tour main tour stop of Season XXI is now officially in the books. A total of 590 entries turned out to Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, California for the 2023 WPT Rolling Thunder $3,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. After four days of tournament action, Scott Eskenazi emerged victorious with his first WPT title and the top prize of $361,660.

This was the largest live tournament score yet for the Mercer Island, Washington resident, surpassing the $233,600 he earned as the runner-up in the 2022 Wynn Fall Classic main event. He now has more than $1.2 million in recorded tournament earnings, with two titles and 64 in-the-money finishes on his resume.

Eskenazi came into the final table of this event essentially tied for the shortest stack among the six remaining contenders. He had just one big blind more than Jeremy Joseph at 21 big blinds, while Alejandro Jauregui held 105 big blinds to start the day.

Tony DunstTwo-time bracelet winner, WPT champion and longtime WPT on-air personality Tony Dunst was the first to be eliminated at the final table. He doubled up Eskenazi on the third hand of the day to lose a chunk of his stack. He then called all-in on the river with top pair, only to be shown a flopped wheel by Eskenazi. Dunst earned $73,400 as the sixth-place finisher, increasing his career earnings to more than $4.9 million.

Victor Paredes (5th – $97,000) then lost a preflop coin flip with pocket tens failing to hold up against the A-J of Jauregui, who flopped an ace and held from there to narrow the field to four.

Eskenazi overtook the lead during four-handed action, then expanded his advantage by winning a race with pocket nines against the A-K of Albert Tapia (4th – $128,000). Jauregui was the next to hit the rail. He got all-in on the turn with an open-ended straight draw facing the top pair of Joseph. The river was a brick and Jauregui was eliminated in third place ($172,000).

With that, Joseph entered heads-up play holding 18,225,000 to Eskenazi’s 11,175,000. It took only a few hands for Eskenazi to move ahead, though, winning a big pot with trips to essentially swap positions. The two battled on for a while after that, with Eskenazi pulling away a few times only to have Joseph battle back. In the final hand of the tournament, Eskenazi raised on the button to 1,500,000 with ASpade SuitKSpade Suit and Joseph three-bet shoved from the big blind for 12,800,000 with AClub Suit2Club Suit. Eskenazi called and the board ran out 9Spade Suit7Heart Suit7Diamond Suit4Club Suit3Club Suit, earning Eskenazi the pot and the title.

Joseph was awarded $234,000 as the runner-up finisher, the third-largest score of his career. He now has nearly $2.3 million in lifetime tournament earnings to his name.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Scott Eskenazi $361,660 1260
2 Jeremy Joseph $234,000 1050
3 Alejandro Jauregui $172,000 840
4 Albert Tapia $128,000 630
5 Victor Paredes $97,000 525
6 Tony Dunst $73,400 420

Photo credits: World Poker Tour / Joe Giron.





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