Damian Salas is one step away from becoming the 2020 poker world champion after winning the WSOP Main Event final table at King’s Casino. And he’s also $1.5 million richer, with the potential to win another $1 million.
It’s good to be Salas right about now. He’s one heads-up match away from winning the most prestigious and important poker tournament in the world. On top of that, he’s close to avenging heartbreak.
In 2017, he finished 7th in the Main Event, the year Scott Blumstein won it all. Sure, he earned life-changing money ($1,425,000). But he came so close to becoming world champion, a crown that can never be taken away. There were more than 7,200 players in the field that year, and he was just six spots away from standing atop them all.
It isn’t often that a poker player gets a second shot at glory in the Main Event, not with the size of the field in that tournament each year. Salas has made the most of that second chance, thus far, and he’s one step from getting to the top of the mountain.
Salas was one of 674 players who entered the $10,000 buy-in tournament on GGPoker. He reached the final table, which was played on Tuesday at King’s Casino in Razvadov, Czech Republic.
As the winner of that final table, he received $1,550,969, the biggest score of his career. But he isn’t yet the Main Event champion. Over on WSOP.com, the American version of the Main Event has played down to its final table, which will be held at the Rio in Las Vegas on December 28.
The winner of that final table will meet up with Damian Salas at the Rio for a winner-take-all $1 million-added pot. And, just as importantly, the title of world champion is on the line, along with the coveted gold bracelet.
The 2020 World Series of Poker was canceled this summer due to COVID-19. But that didn’t stop Ty Stewart, Caesars’ Executive Director, from finding a way to crown a world champion.
Stewart and his staff created a hybrid version of the prestigious event. With travel a concern due to the global health pandemic, the WSOP began the tournament online at both GGPoker (for international players) and WSOP.com (for American players). Each separate but connected tournament played down to a final table, which was held at a land-based casino. And once both final tables have concluded, the two winners will meet heads-up for the bracelet.
Damian Salas ready for next challenge
Salas has already won his first heads-up match, as he defeated Bruno Botteon to finish off the GGPoker final table. Botteon lost the heads-up match, but still went home with $1,062,723 for 2nd place. Not a bad consolation prize.
Salas traveled from his home country of Argentina to the Czech Republic to compete. He’ll head home briefly before traveling across the pond to the United States, more specifically Nevada, to face the WSOP.com Main Event winner.
If he wins, he earns an additional $1 million, becomes world champion, and takes home the bracelet. But if he loses, he won’t earn another penny.
Many poker fans may remember Salas from the 2017 WSOP Main Event final table. He was heavily criticized that year by ESPN viewers for tanking. The Argentinian often spent an unnecessarily long time pondering his moves. Even ESPN commentators Norman Chad and Lon McEachern were critical of his slow playing habits.
Perhaps he will play at a faster pace this year after hearing the criticism from the poker community in 2017. ESPN will again be televising the WSOP Main Event final table beginning December 28, leading into the heads-up finale on December 30.
Featured image source: Twitter