Dylan Drazen has won the 2019 Card Player Poker Tour bestbet Jacksonville $1,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, defeating a field of 329 total entries to take home $62,613. This was the second largest score of the 43-year-old poker pro’s career, and it brought his lifetime live earnings to more than $770,000.
“It’s completely vindicating,” said Drazen about coming out on top in this event. “You play enough poker, you’ll go through these droughts where nothing happens. You just think that nothing is ever going to happen again, and then it happens…. complete shock. It’s a very comforting feeling, I’ll put it like that.”
The bulk of Drazen’s prior tournament earnings came from a runner-up finish in the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship event. The Ft. Lauderdale resident took home $528,322 for that finish. Yi Li, who finished fourth in that event, was also at the final table in Jacksonville and finished ninth for $6,855.
Drazen came into the final table as one of the middling stacks, but quickly scored a double up through 13-time World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring winner Maurice Hawkins. Hawkins had raised to 60,000 from early position and Drazen called from middle position. Men Nguyen called from the hijack and the three saw a flop of J94. Hawkins bet 50,000 and Drazen raised to 135,000. Nguyen folded and Hawkins called. The turn was the 4 and Hawkins checked. Drazen bet 205,000 and Hawkins called. The river was the 2 and Hawkins checked again. Drazen moved all in for 315,000 and Hawkins called. Drazen showed 99 for a full house and doubled up against Hawkins’ J10.
Men Nguyen was the next player to hit the rail, running J9into the KQ of Thad McNulty. Nguyen failed to make the best hand and was eliminated in eighth place ($8,712).
Hawkins was never quite able to recover from losing the big pot against Drazen. He lost a preflop race with pocket jacks to be left short and was knocked out in seventh place not long after. The $10,611 payday brought Hawkins’ lifetime earnings to $3,692,728.
Talesh Patel was the next player out the door. He had slipped down the chip counts, while Mark Hodge had managed multiple double-ups in the early going. Patel ultimately got his last chips in with AA against Hodge’s 76. Patel flopped top set, but Hodge made a running straight to send him home in sixth place ($12,638).
John Sanchez has hung around with a short stack for a while, but his run came to an end when his pocket nines couldn’t hold up against the J10 of John O’neal. Sanchez was awarded $15,270 as the fifth-place finisher.
Thad McNulty started the final table out strong, but saw his stack dwindle during four-handed action. He got his last chips in with K5, only to run into the AA of Hodge. McNulty failed to come from behind and was eliminated in fourth place.
Just a few hands after McNulty was knocked out, Jacksonville cash game regular John O’Neal got all-in with 77 up against Drazen’s A10. Drazen flopped an ace and held from there to send O’Neal to the rail in third place ($30,898).
With that Drazen took a better than 3:1 chip lead into heads-up play and the negotiations between him and Hodge began. Eventually, a deal was struck that saw Hodge take home $54,000 as the runner-up, while Drazen secured the title and a $62,613 payout.
Drazen had plenty of positive things to say about his experience at bestbet Jacksonville. “I really like this room. It’s very comfortable, the people are really nice and the dealers are very friendly,” said Drazen. “I came for the first time back in January. In that tournament, I busted on the first bullet, and on the second bullet, I had 200,000 and busted on one of the last hands of the day, which was heartbreaking. This was my second time here, and I once again had 200,000 on my second bullet at the end of the day. I was like, ‘Oh my god, don’t give these chips away!’ So I didn’t, and here I am.”
Drazen earned 480 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. It was his first POY-qualified score of the year. Maurice Hawkins was awarded 120 points for his tenth final-table finish of the year. Hawkins climbed into 1st place in the 2019 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
Copy of Results
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