Greater Philadelphia’s Darren Elias managed to make World Poker Tour history this week.
Elias became the first player to capture four WPT titles after winning the Season XVI WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic for $387,580 at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday. The three WPT titles he previously won are:
- 2017 Fallsview Poker Classic
- 2014 WPT Caribbean (St. Maarten)
- 2014 Borgata Poker Open
Prior to this week, Elias was one of five players with three WPT titles. The other triple threats are:
- Anthony Zinno
- Carlos Mortensen
- Chino Rheem
- Gus Hansen
The new WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic
The $10,000 buy-in WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic is a new event on the tour’s schedule. It drew 162 entries, creating a $1,555,200 prize pool that paid the top 21 finishers.
The final table of six was livestreamed online by poker content subscription service PokerGO, which has a studio at Aria. Elias entered a stacked final six with a massive chip lead he never relinquished.
Two-time WPT champion’s Jonathan Little ($74,520) and Sam Panzica ($97,795) were the first to fall. They were soon followed by 2016 WPT L.A Poker Classic Champion Dietrich Fast, who finished fourth for $130,895.
2015 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Joe McKeehen had a chance to win the Hublot WPT Season XVI Player of the Year award by taking down the tournament. The WPT POY prize package includes a Hublot Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour Limited Edition watch and complimentary accommodations for all Season XVII WPT Main Tour events.
However, that package and POY honors will go to double WPT Season XVI title winner Art Papazyan after Philadelphia’s McKeehen finished third for $178,610.
Elias endured through a 103-hand heads-up match with tough Taiwanese pro Kitty Kuo to capture the title and vault his career tournament earnings up to $6,024,703.
Kuo was looking to become just the second female player to win an open WPT event. However, despite doubling up three times and nearly evening up the stacks, she was never able to wrestle the chip lead from Elias’ hands. Kuo had to settle for $248,380 in second-place money.
Four-time WPT champ Darren Elias
Elias, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts but spent most of his formative years in Erie, Pennsylvania. He now lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in the Greater Philadelphia Area.
In addition to more than $6 million in live tournament earnings, Elias has reportedly won more than $3.8 million playing online poker.
Elias told WPT staff his success on the tour can be attributed to his success against US players:
“It was cool to do something no one has ever done. I think I do well against the American pros and American recreational players who play in these more so than the European players. These WPTs are mostly in America with mostly American players, so I think that’s a lot of the reason for my success.”
Next up for the WPT is the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. It kicked off at Aria Thursday, drawing a field of 80 current and former WPT champions. Of course, the field includes the now four-time WPT champion Elias. His WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic haul included a $15,000 seat.
Photo by World Poker Tour / Joe Giron