Chance Kornuth Wins World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event
Chance Kornuth’s summary of poker tournaments is one of the most impressive in the world, with three World Series of Poker winning bracelets, big six-figure wins in high roller events and over $10 million in recorded cashouts. The 35-year-old poker pro and founder of Chip Leader Coaching today added another milestone achievement to his already long list by winning the 2022 World Poker Tour Choctaw $3,800 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event for $486,600 and its first WPT Title.
It was officially the sixth-highest salary of Kornuth’s career, bringing his total career earnings to $10,967,215. It was his third WPT appearance at the final table.
Kornuth also earned 1,368 card player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. It was his third title and fifth final table so far this year. He landed back-to-back events at PokerGO Tour Stairway to Millions series in January for over $130,000 collectively. He then made a pair of podiums at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, including a third-place finish in the $25,500 high roller for $522,571. With 3,136 total points and more than $1.2 million YTD POY gains, Kornuth moved up the rankings and into fifth place in the 2022 POY race, sponsored by Global Poker.
This tournament began on May 13 at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, OK. The strong attendance of 787 entrants created a prize pool of $2,754,500, blowing the $2 million guarantee. The survivors of the two starting flights combined into a single field on May 15, with the televised final table of six set late the following night. The remaining contenders then had a 10-day break, during which they traveled to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas to film the final table action for a TV broadcast.
Kornuth entered the final day in second chip position, but was only a few big blinds behind fivefold WPT final tablist Ray Qartomy.
James Mackey won this event even in 2016 for his single WPT Title. The WSOP The bracelet winner entered the day in fourth position but was ultimately the first to hit the rail. It was a classic pre-flop race situation that happened just after the start of the day, with Mackey holding AK while facing James Hundt’s pocket queens. A queen-high flop increased Hundt’s lead in the hand, which he held until the river. Mackey won $101,000 in sixth place, while Hundt passed chip lead.
Hundt was quickly passed by Kornuth, who pulled off a bluff from Qartomy to move into the top spot in the standings. Kristen Foxen entered the day as a short stack. She was soon all-in for her last five big blinds, having moved all-in on Kornuth’s button open with A-9 from the small blind. Kornuth paid with suited J-10 to put Foxen in danger. She flopped pocket aces, but Kornuth turned two pair and held from there to cut the field to four. Foxen, a three-time bracelet winner, took home $135,000 for her fifth-place finish. The score increased his recorded tournament earnings to over $5.9 million.
Despite taking the lead in the early hands of the day, Hundt was quickly the shortest stack on the board. On the 45th deal of the day, Steve Buckner pushed just under 16 big blinds from the small blind with K-10 suited. Hundt called with pocket sixes from the big blind and couldn’t win the run. Hundt finds himself with 13 big blinds. He survived twenty more hands, but was eventually all-in and at risk with flopped middle pair against a flush draw for Buckner. Hundt improved his sets on the turn, but Buckner hit his diamond flush on the river to win the pot. Hundt won a career-best $175,000 for his deep run in that event.
The three-handed game started with Kornuth far ahead, sitting on more than three times as many chips as his nearest opponent. Buckner doubled twice, first by Kornuth and then by Qartomy, leaving the latter with just over seven big blinds. Qartomy put those chips in with a pair of fives, only to run into Kornuth’s pair of jacks. The larger pair held out and Qartomy was knocked out in third place ($235,000). He now has over $4.7 million in lifetime cash to his name.
The heads-up started with Kornuth holding a more than 2.5 to 1 chip lead over Buckner, who had 43 big blinds to start. The two fought for over a hundred hands, with the winner not decided until more than four hours after Qartomy was eliminated. Early on, Buckner doubled once to almost close the gap. He then briefly took the lead, only for Kornuth to retire with a more than 3:1 chip advantage. About halfway through the one-on-one battle, Buckner scored a pair of back-to-back doubles. The first, who saw his A-8 hold against Kornuth’s K-8, brought him in with five even big blinds. The second, on the nest hand, saw all the chips come to the middle of the turn with QJseven4 on board. Chainsaw pushed with Q9 and Kornuth called with Q8. The 3 in the end, the huge pot was shipped off to Buckner, leaving Kornuth in smoke.
Kornuth scored a quick double up, then added some more before moving all-in with kings-up and beating Buckner’s pocket jacks to come back nearly even. Kornuth took the lead, only for Buckner to find his own brace as the swingy clash continued. Kornuth won the next all-in when his Q-9 combination made a flush to beat Buckner’s Q-10.
With betting limits having increased to the point that only around 40 big blinds were in play, there were still some big all-ins to come. Buckner called all-in with QJ and went all out to beat Kornuth’s 9-6 fit to retake the lead. The next hand, Kornuth called all-in with pocket sevens and held against Buckner’s A-5 to turn things around once again. Two hands later, the final hand was dealt. Buckner pushed with 96 for just under 6.5 big blinds. Kornuth called with Aten and the board missed K55A9 to lock the pot and the title for Kornuth. Buckner won $320,000 for his second place finish.
Here is an overview of the payments and POY points awarded during the televised final table:
|Square||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
Photo credits: World Poker Tour.