BetMGM Poker Championship turnout surges as Leo Taffe wins main

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: June 15, 2023 6:12 am EDT

The BetMGM Poker Championship at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas has concluded its four-day run amid the ongoing ARIA Poker Classic, and the mini-series enjoyed a huge surge in turnout compared to its debut one year ago.

Buoyed by pumped-up promotional efforts, including brand ambassador Darren Elias doing advance work for the series, the BetMGM Poker Championship nearly tripled the number of entries from 2022. Leo Taffe, a BetMGM online player from Michigan, took down the event for a $560,442 payday. That more than tripled Taffe’s personal previous best. Taffe topped Mike Vanier, who earned $392,704 as the runner-up, to secure the win.

“It feels amazing,” said Taffe. “To be able to run deep in a tournament like this is really cool. I’m exhausted to be honest. It’s just starting to settle in. I’ll take a few hours to celebrate, but there is more I want to accomplish.”

The final table of the BetMGM Poker Championship was filmed at the PokerGO Studio, which sits just outside the ARIA’s main doors. Taffe was the final survivor of an event that drew 1,026 total entries and built a $3.2 million prize pool.

BetMGM Director of Poker Luke Staudenmaier said, “From online qualifiers through the exciting finale of the tournament, we were thrilled by the response. Congratulations to Leo, who plays online at BetMGM in Michigan, for taking the title. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with ARIA, one of the best high-stakes poker rooms in the United States, and PokerGO, to deliver one-of-a-kind omnichannel experiences to our poker players.” 

“Tripling the entries in one year is an extraordinary leap,” said Sean McCormack, MGM Resorts Director of Public Strategy. “We raised the stakes by doubling the guarantee and then shattered it by over a million dollars. I am immensely grateful for the players, the MGM team, and BetMGM for making this event such a success. We look forward to our ongoing partnership for future poker events.” 

Featured image source: BetMGM