The bestbet Jacksonville Winter Open crowned a champion in their $2,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event earlier this week when Justin Macella topped the field to win $122,017 and his first tournament title. The Georgia native made his third tournament cash his largest by far, and he now holds $151,889 in career earnings.
Despite the six-figure score, it doesn’t sound like the coach will be switching careers to play tournament poker anytime soon. “No, no, I’m a high school coach, an old football and baseball coach. I do this on the side just to try to add some extra pocket change and have some fun from time to time. No, I’m not going pro or anything like that,” Marcella told the PokerNews reporters after his victory.
The tournament had a prize pool worth $580,425 thanks to two starting flights that attracted a total of 327 entries. The top 41 players all cashed for at least $3,577 in prize money. There were just 48 players that returned for the second day of the tournament, and the money bubble burst close to the start of play. It took just eight hours to play down to the final table of nine that took place on Feb. 6.
The final table saw a talented collection of players, but two of the tournament pros among the final nine fell early when Maxwell Young exited in eighth, and David Tuthill was out in seventh. The final table took six hours to play out in front of the live stream cameras of bestbet Live.
The heads-up final came down to Macella and high-stake cash game player Russell Quick. The two had tangled multiple times during the course of the tournament, and Macella had this to say about the dynamic during the final match. “It was fun, we have similar styles in that we’re both fearless, it doesn’t matter what two cards we’re holding, we’re willing to mix it up and find spots, so that was a lot of fun,” said Macella.
In the final hand Macella’s J-9 found another jack on the turn to top the A-8 of Quick after all the chips got into the middle preflop. Quick was awarded $81,343 for his deep run in the tournament, and his career tournament earnings are now up to $128,477.
A few other notables that cashed in the event included Rodney Turvin (10th), Charles Campos (12th), Kelley Slay (15th), Clyde Maliauka (21st), Brett Feder (24th), Jacob Ferro (28th), Sean Conklin (29th), and Fred Paradis (35th).
Card Player has a long history of Card Player Poker Tour stops at bestbet Jacksonville, with nine events hosted together dating back to 2013.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded to the final table:
bestbet Jacksonville’s next large tournament series will take place from March 23-April 2, and it includes a $1,200 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event with a $300,000 guaranteed prize pool.
Photo credit: bestbet Jacksonville Twitter account.