The poker world already knew Darren Elias was a sensational player, but the pro from New Jersey officially made his own mark with a historic fourth victory on the World Poker Tour. Elias won the inaugural Bobby Baldwin Classic, hosted at the luxurious Aria Casino in Las Vegas. First place paid out $387,580 plus a freeroll into the season-ending Tournament of Champions, which kicks off today at the Aria. Elias, the first-ever four-time champion on the WPT, was previously tied with four other players for most WPT wins at three each.
Elias made a splash in 2014 with two tour wins on the WPT with victories at the Borgata Poker Open in Atlantic City and the WPT Caribbean in St. Maarten. Last year, Elias won his third title at the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic in Niagara Falls, Canada. Prior to this event, five players were tied for most WPT wins at three apiece: Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Chino Rheem, Anthony Zinno, and Darren Elias. With four wins, Elias is currently in a class by himself.
The brand-new Bobby Baldwin Classic had a $10K buy-in. The inaugural running attracted 162 total entries in a pro-heavy field. The prize pool was over $1.55 million with only the top 21 places winning prize money. The top four spots were guaranteed a six-figure payout. Second place walked away with almost a quarter mil, while first place snagged $387K.
Phil Hellmuth bubbled off the final table in seventh place. The Poker Brat made a good show on the cusp on the 2018 WSOP. The 14-time bracelet winner is hell bent on winning #16 this year to keep up with Phil Ivey, who back in the mix and returning to his old form. If Ivey didn't disappear for a few years played as many events as Hellmuth, he'd probably have 20 by now. Sorry about the tangent, this is a WPT fluff piece after all!
Moving on... the stacked final table included former WSOP Main Event Champ Joe McKeehen, Detrich Fast, Kitty Kuo, Sam Panzica, and Jon Little. McKheen busted in third place, which set up a heads-up match between Kitty Kuo and Darren Elias. The two sparred in a 104-hand battle. Kuo was down nearly 3 to 1 when heads-up began, but she put up one heck of a fight before busting in second place. Kuo banked over $248K.
Elias won $387,580 plus a freeroll into the WPT TOC, which starts today! Elias now has over $6M in career tournament earnings. He's won approximately $1.7 million for his four WPT titles.
Only the top 21 players paid out in this inaugural event. Among the notable names who cashed... Stevie Chidwick, Ray Qartomy, John Krpan, Ralph Perry, Kevin Eyster, Maing Loeser, Bryan Piccioli, Tim Reilly, Jared Jaffe, Rex Clinkscales, Tom Wheaton, Josh Kay, Martjun Gerrits, and Terry Fleischer.