Nick Schulman, Stephen Chidwick, Justin Bonomo bag $25k Poker Masters titles

Mo Afdhal
Posted on: September 25, 2023 13:10 PDT

The 2023 Poker Masters wraps up the action this week, but before the curtains close, there's still some high buy-in events left. The last of the $25,000 buy-in events concluded today, but the big one--the $50,000--looms on the horizon.

Schulman's first cash comes with a title

On Friday of last week, Nick Schulman earned his first cash of the series in style by winning Event #7: $25,000 No Limit Hold'em. Schulman entered the final table sitting fourth in the chip counts, but he didn't sit there for long. Back to back eliminations of Victoria Livschitz and Chris Brewer vaulted Schulman up the ranks. Livschitz, on a short stack of only seven big blinds, committed herself with ace-four suited. Schulman, in the big blind, found pocket nines and made the call. The pair held up and Schulman found himself right back in the thick of it.

Brewer's fourteen big blinds found their way into the middle after he called Schulman's jam with ace-queen. Brewer was well ahead of Schulman's nine-eight suited, but a pair on the turn for Schulman spelled disaster for Brewer. Brian Rast would follow Brewer out the door not long after and it was down to the two Nicks, Schulman vs. Petrangelo.

Schulman started heads-up play as a slight underdog in chips, but grew his stack quickly in a few small pots. The atmosphere was casual between the two veterans of the game and was reflected in their gameplay. It didn't take long to get all the chips in the middle in an ace vs. ace confrontation. Schulman was well out in front, holding ace-jack against Petrangelo's ace-four. Schulman paired his jack on the flop, leaving only runner-runner hopes for Petrangelo. The turn and river offered no improvement to Petrangelo and the two players shook hands before Schulman hoisted the trophy.

Event #7 final table payouts

Place Player Country Prize (USD) PGT Points
1 Nick Schulman USA $374,00 224
2 Nick Petrangelo USA $242,000 145
3 Brian Rast USA $165,000 99
4 Chris Brewer USA $121,000 73
5 Victoria Livschitz USA $88,000 53
6 Justin Saliba USA $66,000 40

Chidwick dominates final table

Stephen Chidwick entered the final table of Event #8: $25,000 No Limit Hold'em with an overwhelming chip lead. The oft-used phrase truly applied this time as Chidwick held over 60% of the chips in play and knew just how to leverage the big stack to his benefit. Chidwick raised nearly every hand dealt to him, leading to the quick eliminations of Chino Rheem in sixth place and Darren Elias in fifth.

Chris Brewer fell next, but, somehow, not at the hands of Stephen Chidwick. Instead, it was Alex Foxen who took out Brewer. Just a few hands later, Foxen ran ace-king suited straight into Chidwick's pocket aces. Foxen's holding failed to improve, ending his run in third place.

The heads-up match between Sam Soverel and Chidwick began with an eight-to-one chip advantage for the Brit. Soverel managed to close the gap slightly, but there was no overcoming Chidwick's massive lead. The final hand saw Chidwick make a flush against Soverel's two pair to take home the victory.

Event #8 final table payouts

Place Player Country Prize (USD) PGT Points
1 Stephen Chidwick UK $400,000 240
2 Sam Soverel USA $262,500 158
3 Alex Foxen USA $175,000 105
4 Chris Brewer USA $125,000 75
5 Darren Elias USA $100,000 60
6 Chino Rheem USA $75,000 45

Bonomo bags first-ever Poker Masters title

Much like Chidwick, Bonomo came into the final table of Event #9: $25,000 No Limit Hold'em at the top of the chip counts. Bonomo held nearly 45% of the chips in play and, despite a vicious fight from Daniel Rezeai, went wire-to-wire to claim his first-ever Poker Masters title.

The final table flew by, playing down to a winner in just over two hours. Bonomo wielded his chip advantage to perfection and was responsible for eliminating all five of the other players at the table. Chino Rheem fell first in a hand that saw both him and Bonomo make a full house by the river. Bonomo's house was bigger, though, and Chino's day ended with a sixth place finish.

The deck continued to smash Bonomo as he picked up pocket kings against the short-stacked Orpen Kisacikoglu, who held king-jack. The flop provided a faint glimmer of hope in the form of a pair of jacks for Kisacikoglu, but no further improvement ended his run in fifth place.

Again, Bonomo found a big hand at the right time when Andrew Lichtenberger shoved all-in from the small blind with pocket jacks. Bonomo, in the big blind, looked down at pocket queens and couldn't get his chips in fast enough. The runout came clean for Bonomo's ladies and Lichtenberger would have to settle for a fourth place finish.

In another blind vs. blind confrontation, and in keeping with the consistently good timing of his run, Bonomo found pocket kings against the pocket queens of Stephen Chidwick. The Brit could not find a third queen on the runout and his day ended with a third place finish.

Weathering the heads-up swings

The heads-up battle between Bonomo and Rezeai began with the former sitting on a four-to-one chip advantage. That lead would wither, however, after the very first hand between the two saw Rezeai double up with pocket sixes against Bonomo's pocket fours. Just two hands later, Rezeai stole away the chip lead when his pocket sevens held up against Bonomo's ace-two in an all-in showdown.

Now, it was Bonomo with his back to the wall, but his experience and skill in these of spots was on full display. Bonomo would claw back the lead by making an insane call down with just ace-high. There's a lot that can be said about this hand, it's world-class stuff, but perhaps it's best to watch it play out, it's worth the three minutes.

The final hand between Bonomo and Rezeai saw both players make two pair on the river, with Bonomo holding aces and queens while Rezeai held queens and deuces. The chips went in and Bonomo showed down the winner to claim the title.

Event #9 final table payouts

Place Player Country Prize (USD) PGT Points
1 Justin Bonomo USA $333,000 200
2 Daniel Rezeai USA $222,000 133
3 Stephen Chidwick UK $148,000 89
4 Andrew Lichtenberger USA $101,750 61
5 Orpen Kisacikoglu Turkey $74,000 44
6 Chino Rheem USA $46,250 28

As the series comes to a close, the race for the purple jacket remains solidly in Vladas Tamasauskas' favor. Tamasauskas' 506 points put him well ahead of both Chino Rheem and Stephen Chidwick, who are tied in second with 386 points apiece. Andrew Lichtenberger sits in fourth with 327 points and Ren Lin rounds out the top five with 325 points.

Can one of the other event winners find a miracle run in Event #10: $50,000 No Limit Hold'em?

The final event of the 2023 Poker Masters kicks off tomorrow at 6:00pm ET, streaming on PokerGO.

Feature Images Courtesy of PokerGO