Tyler Patterson finished second in the RunGood Poker Series Season Finale main event in December of 2022 at Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Sacramento, California. Just 240 days removed from that runner-up finish, Patterson battled his way back to the final two in the same event. This time around, the World Series of Poker bracelet winner and World Poker Tour champion managed to come out on top, taking down the 2023 RGPS Checkpoint Thunder Valley $2,500 buy-in main event, which featured a $1,000,000 guarantee.
“It was so crazy being back in the same spot as I was back in December, heads-up for the ring, but then it was way more fun and we had made a deal so it wasn’t as stressful, but this was completely different,” Patterson told PokerNews live reporters after coming out on top.
Patterson was awarded $200,422 as the champion, the fourth-largest score on his tournament resume. This win also earned him the distinction of securing the largest payout in RGPS history. Patterson now has more than $3.3 million in career earnings after this big win.
In addition to the title and the money, Patterson also earned 1,080 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion. This was his third POY-qualified score of the year, with a pair of runner-up finishes in side events at the WPT Rolling Thunder stop back in March adding another 360 points to his annual total. As a result, Patterson now sits in 218th place in the 2023 POY race standings presented by Global Poker.
This event drew a field of 477 entries, surpassing the guarantee to create a final prize pool of $1,064,187. The top 72 finishers made the money, with $3,245 for a min-cash and five-figure paydays for the final 18.
Plenty of big names ran deep in this event, including bracelet winner and WPT Prime champion Stephen Song (39th), bracelet winner and WPT high roller winner Ethan ‘Rampage Poker’ Yau (31st), WSOP Circuit ring winner Jeff Platt (26th), and two-time WPT main tour champion and bracelet winner Jared Jaffee (19th).
By the time the final table was set, Patterson was firmly in the middle of the pack while Paul Sampson held the chip lead. Sampson scored a few knockout as the final table continued, including picking up pocket queens against the A-5 suited of Kevin O’Donnell (5th – $49,055).
Patterson knocked out short stack Shijia Liu (4th – $63,945) and then scored a huge double-up through Sampson with pocket tens besting pocket nines. With that, Patterson moved to the top of the chip counts.
Darren Rabinowitz’s run in this event concluded thanks to a preflop race, with his AK flipping against the QQ of Sampson. The board came down AQ229 and Sampson’s queens full earned him the knockout. Rabinowitz took home $90,315 for his third-place showing, growing his lifetime tournament earnings to more than $3.4 million in the process.
Heads-up play lasted roughly two hours, with plenty of swings along the way. In the final hand, Sampson shoved with J3 and received a call from Patterson, who held A8. The A9593 runout secured the pot and the title for Patterson. Sampson cashed out for $141,585 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photo credit: Rachel Kay Miller / RGPS.