The 2022 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Tampa $3,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event attracted 1,165 entries, blowing away the $1 million guarantee to create a final prize pool of $3,728,000. After two starting flights and four more days of action at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, that sea of players was narrowed down to just one champion: Corey Wade. For the win, the Arkansas resident took home $471,686 and had his name added to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup.
Wade now has more than $777,000 in career live tournament earnings to his name. This was his largest payday yet, topping the $179,010 he secured as the runner-up in a $1,500 pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better event at this year’s World Series of Poker.
This victory also saw Wade earn 1,440 Card Player Player of the Year points. With the 800 points he earned for his second-place showing in that PLO* event at the series, Wade now has 2,310 total points, which is good for 63rd place in the 2022 POY race standings presented by Global Poker.
The top 147 finishers made the money in this event, with plenty of big names cashing including two-time bracelet winner Ari Engel (93rd), two-time bracelet winner David Jackson (72nd), three-time bracelet winner Shankar Pillai (71st), two-time bracelet winner Loni Hui (33rd), two-time WPT champion and bracelet winner Daniel Weinman (31st), two-time WPT champion Aaron Mermelstein (26th), two-time bracelet winner Yuval Bronshtein (25th), poker vlogger and WPT ambassador Brad Owen (24th), and bracelet winner and WPT champion James Calderaro (14th).
The final day of this event began with Steven McKoy leading and just six players still in contention. It took more than 130 hands for the first elimination to take place. It took the most brutal preflop cooler possible in no-limit hold’em to finally send a player to the rail. David Tuthill ran pocket kings into the pocket aces of Fred Paradis. The larger pair held up and Tuthill was knocked out in sixth place ($130,000). This score increased Tuthill’s live tournament earnings to more than $2 million.
A couple of orbits later, Seth Berger shoved from the small blind for his last 9 big blinds with A-8. Wade had limped in from the button with pocket queens, and he made a quick call after the big blind got out of the way. Berger made a pair of eights, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in contention. He earned $170,000 as the fifth-place finisher.
A classic preflop coin flip spelled the end of McKoy’s run in this tournament. He three-bet shoved from the small blind with K-Q over the top of Wade’s button min-raise. Wade called with pocket sevens and added McKoy’s overcards and a turned straight draw to win the pot and narrow the field to three. McKoy took home $226,000 as the fourth-place finisher, increasing his career earnings to just shy of $1.3 million.
After playing for a bit, the final three players struck a deal that saw the payouts for the top three spots adjusted to the following:
1st – $471,686
2nd – $441,686
3rd – $411,678
The winner would also receive airfare and accommodations for the WPT World Championship to be held this December at Wynn Las Vegas.
Just one hand after agreeing to that deal, high-stakes tournament regular Brock Wilson was eliminated in third place. He had limped in for 500,000 from the small blind with 97 and then called when Wade raised to 1,700,000 with KQ. The J75 flop saw Wilson check-call a continuation bet of 2,200,000 with middle pair. The K on the turn drew another check from Wilson. Wade bet 5,100,000 with his turned pair of kings and Wilson check-raised all-in for just shy of 11,000,000 total. Wade quickly called and the 8 on the end secured him the pot.
Wilson was awarded $411,678 and 960 POY points for his third-place finish. This was his 12th final-table showing of the year. With 3,608 points and more than $1.6 million in year-to-date POY earnings, he now sits in 19th place on the POY leaderboard heading into the final third of the year.
Heads-up play began with Wade leading Paradis, but their roles were soon reversed. Wade was able to battle his way back on top in time for the final hand of the event. Paradis min-raised to 1,600,000 on the button with A5 and Wade three-bet shoved from the big blind with Q9. Paradis called for just shy of 20 big blinds total and the board ran out AQ105Q. Wade hit a queen on the end, improving to trips to win the pot and lock up the title. Paradis took home $441,686 as the runner-up finisher, the largest score of his career. He now has just shy of a million dollars in lifetime cashes to his name.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photo credits: World Poker Tour / Drew Amato.