Ship it to AVB! The newest season of the World Poker Tour, Season 18, kicked off at the end of July in Los Angeles with the WPT Gardens. The WPT stayed in SoCal for another event with the WPT Legends of Poker hosted at the historic Bicycle Casino on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The Bike is an epic spot for all things poker in LA, whether you're a pro, degen, or someone looking for action.
After the Bike, the WPT heads east to luxurious Atlantic City for the annual WPT Borgata Poker Open in mid-September before ending the month with the WPT Maryland. But for now, all eyes were on LA.
Last year, the WPT skipped the Bike and the Legends of Poker. However, it returned this year much to the delight of locals.
Pat Lyons binked the WPT Legends of Poker in 2016. Mike Shariati won in 2015. Harry Arutyunyan went the distance in 2014.
The second stop on the World Poker Tour featured a $5,000 buy-in event at the 2019 Legends of Poker. A total of 520 runners took a shot at the title and a freeroll into the season ending Tournament of Champions... which will be hosted at the Aria sometime at the beginning of the summer.
The 2019 WPT Legends created a prize pool worth nearly $2.4 million with only the top 65 places paying out. Most of the cheesecake, as per usual, was at the top of the heap. The winner would walk away with the WPT title and nearly a half-million in cash.
Taylor Black bubbled the final table in seventh place. Kitty Kuo also went deep, but she busted in eighth place.
The final table included Jisup Hwang, Antonios Roungeris, Vahan Sudzhyan, Aaron Van Blarcum, Gueorgui Gantchev and Jared Griener. I feel bad for the reporters covering this event because you really need to be a national spelling bee champion to correctly spell all of the final table players' names at the WPT Legends of Poker.
Antonios Roungeris became the first at the final table to bid farewell when he busted on the 23rd hand at the final table.
After 50-plus hands of five-handed action, it was Jisup Hwang's turn to hit the road. Hawng made a final stand with pocket treys against Gueorgui Gantchev's pocket Queens. GG turned a set of Queens and Hwang was dunzo.
With three to go, AVB chipped up to over 10M.
On Hand #99, Jared Griener got it all-in with pocket sevens against AVB's pocket nines. The nines held up and AVB turned another set. For a third-place finish, Jared Griener won $226K.
With two remaining, AVB held a massive lead 16.5M to Gueorgui Gantchev's 4.3M or approximately 4-1.
Heads-up lasted 29 hands. On the final hand, GG got it all in with pocket fives against pocket tens. The tens held up and GG got picked off in second place.
For a runner-up finish, Gueorgui Gantchev earned a payout worth $306,265. Not too shabby, eh?
Aaron Van Blarcum won his first WPT event and took home $474,390 for a victory at the 2019 WPT Legends of Poker. He also won a freeroll to the season-ending TOC worth over $15,000.
Notables who cashed and went deep at the WPT Legends of Poker included Kitty Kuo, Taylor Black, Brian Altman, Jeremy Joseph, Kelly Kim, PeterNeff, Bruce Kramer, Aaron Mermelstien, Kimbo Ung, Josias Santos, Todd Ivens, Franklin Fol, Jordan Cristos, Alex Condon, Tony An, Nissar Quaraishi, Steve Karp, Cord Garcia, Moshin Charania, Stan Jablonski, Phil Laak, Mike Eskandari, Isaac Baron, Joe Serock, Justin Stein, Chance Kornuth, Ryan Rose, Marc Wolpert, Adam Miller, Levin Song, Mike Sexton, Frank Lin, Jeremy Levin, Adam Levy, and Eric Fields.