Wednesday October 16, 2019 at 1:19 am

The latest stop on the World Poker Tour hit Jacksonville, Florida for the $5,000 buy-in WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble Jacksonville. The $5K main event attracted a prize pool over $1.6 million. Josh Adkins outlasted a field of 349 runners to win $331,480 and a freeroll to the end of season WPT Tournament of Champions at the Aria.
Pic by Joe Giron/WPT

Josh Adkins is finally getting a haircut. Two weeks ago, he said he would not cut his hair until he won a tournament. And now he's a WPT champion. Josh Adkins, a pro from Tallahassee, played in his first $5K event and he went the distance for the win. That's one heck of a story because it's hard enough to make a final table in a $5K WPT event, but it's even crazier and more difficult to win one. In Adkins case, he shipped his first-ever $5K. Sometimes you have to take a step up and run with the big dogs if you want to be a big dog. Adkins took his shot and it paid off with a sweet score.

Dreams really do come true on the World Poker Tour. Who thought that Jacksonville would become a mini-Mecca of poker in America? I guess there's not that much going on in that neck of the woods in North Florida on the Georgia border. Jacksonville is the largest city in America in sheer size (not population) with 875 square miles. In the last decade years, the city boomed as more people began moving into the vast spaces amidst the J-Vegas sprawl.

In the early 1990s, Jacksonville barely had 600K residents and now it's got over 1.6 million including the burbs. That's a lot of poker players and donks running about in North Florida, or NoFla which is its own beast entirely. Weird things happen along that Florida/Georgia line, so it's a perfect place for a poker scene with lots of colorful characters, hysterical locals, and no shortage of sketchy versions of "Florida Man" popping in and out of the poker room.

What can be better than poker at a dog track? The bestbet Jacksonville has almost 90 tables. It started out as the Jacksonville Kennel Club before it pivoted to poker at the turn of the century. There's still greyhound racing if you really need your canine degen fix.

This year's WPT bestbet Jacksonville attracted 349 runners in the $5K buy-in event. Only the top 45 places paid out of the $1.6 million prize pool.

The WPT bestbet Jacksonville final table included Tan Nguyen, Josh Adkins, Josh Kay, Jason Lee, Johnny Cronin, and Jeff Cunningham. Carlos Guerrero bubbled the final table in seventh place. WSOP World Champ Joe McKeehen went deep but busted in ninth place.

Josh Kay came into the final day with the lead and a 4M stack. Josh Adkins, the other Josh, came into the final table second overall with 3.2M. Jeff Cunningham brought up the rear with a sexy 690K short stack.

It only took four hands before someone bit the dust. Shorty Jeff Cunningham made a final stand and shoved from the small blind with Ace-eight. Josh Kay woke up with Ace-Jack in the big blind and insta-called. Both players turned and Ace, but Kay won the pot with a Jack-kicker. Cunningham became the first player to exit the final table, which paid out $66K.

Five handed went rather quick and less than ten hands. DeepStacks champ Johnnie Cronin's Big Slick could not overcome Kay's pocket Kings. Kay flopped a set of Kings and that's all she wrote. Cronin busted in fifth place and earned a payday worth $87K.

Four-handed lasted over 100 hands. Wow! That's a heck of a time in between bustouts. Jason Lee got it all in with Carte As de trèfleCarte 9 de trèfle and Kay called from the big blind with Carte Dame de cœurCarte 2 de cœur. Kay's Queen-deuce won the joust against Lee's Ace-mid. Two black Kings hit the flop. Kay paired the turn when the Carte 2 de pique hit. Kay's Kings up held up against Lee's Ace-high with a pair of Kings. Lee hit the bricks in fourth place, which paid out roughly $116K.

After 106 hands of four-way, Josh Kay walked into an ambush on Hand #159. He flopped two pair with Queen-seven, but Tan Nguyen flopped trip treys. The treys held up and Kay hit the rail in third place, which paid out $155,340.

When heads-up began, Adkins held a slight lead over Nguyen with a 7.2M to 6.7M stack. Adkins had 60 BBs.

Both players got it all-in with a classic cooler. Ace-King vs. Ace-Queen. It's a sickening feeling when you have Ace-Queen and your opponent tables Big Slick. But nothing is worst that holding Ace-King and losing to Ace-Queen with a river suckout.

Adkins trailed with Carte As de cœurCarte Dame de cœur against Nguyen's Carte As de trèfleCarte Roi de trèfle. The flop was Carte Dame de trèfleCarte Valet de piqueCarte 2 de carreau. Adkins flopped top pair, while Nguyen flopped a Broadway gutter draw. The Carte 2 de cœur: fell on the turn and the Carte 9 de trèfle hit the river. Neither card helped Nguyen, who missed the straight draw or a King. Adkins dragged the pot and won the tournament.

For a second place finish, Tan Nguyen banked nearly $211K. Not too shabby for the runner-up, eh?

Josh Adkins won the title and a stack of cash worth $331K. Adkins also won a freeroll into the end-of-season TOC at the Aria. That's valued at $15,000 and only open to WPT winners.

Among the notables who cashed and went deep at the WPT Jacksonville included... Joe McKeehen, Larry Greenberg, David Trager, Kyle Julius, Marvin Rettenmaier, Aaron Van Blarcum, Jessica Dawley, Sam Panzica, Brock Wilson, Stephen Song, Dan Shak, JJ Liu, Will Willoughby, Scott Stewart, Darrick McRay, Raj Vohra, Matas Cimbolas, Jamie Kerstetter, Jerry Wong, Ray Qartomy, Jake Schwartz, James Carroll, Mike Sowers, and Will Keith.

2019 WPT bestbet Jacksonville

Buy-in: $5,000

Entrants: 349

Prize Pool: $1,615,870

Payouts: 45


Final Table Results:

1. Josh Adkins $331,480

2. Tan Nguyen $210,988

3. Josh Kay $155,340

4. Jason Lee $115,692

5. Jonathan Cronin $87,170

6. Jeff Cunningham $66,457

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