WPT Prime Championship: Calvin Anderson takes it down for $1,386,280

Adam Hampton
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Posted on: December 20, 2023 6:16 am EST

The $1,100 WPT Prime Championship was a record-breaker, its field of 10,512 doubling the guaranteed $5 million prize pool to a huge $10,196,640. With over 10,000 entrants it’s gone into the books as the biggest field in WPT history, and Calvin Anderson topped them all to take home the trophy, over $1.3 million in prize money, and a seat in next year’s WPT World Championship.

Just two flights in, talk was already in the air that the pot for this special tournament could reach the $10 million mark. Rumors of first-place prize money approaching $1 million were soon confirmed, then outstripped. By Day 2 the reality of these record-busting numbers had begun to sink in, and US pro Anderson was already leading the pack of 128 survivors.

By the end of Day 3 they were down to just nine, led by Jon Glendinning with Anderson close behind. An extra Day 4 was required to get down to the final six for the TV table, which was delayed, as planned, until December 19.

Anderson floats with 5-high, hits the river hard

Uzbekistan’s Valeriy Pak was the first casualty from the final table, running into Anderson’s K-K and picking up $290k for sixth spot. Robert Buckenmeyer soon followed, collecting a career-best $380k for his fifth place finish.

Anderson then dispatched Jon Glendinning in 4th, for $505k, before a protracted three-way battle with Aaron Pinson and Jay Lu.

With Pinson stepped away from the table, the following hand went down between Lu and Anderson, no doubt dropping a few jaws among the many viewers watching the live stream.

Lu wouldn’t recover from that savage river, bowing out in 3rd when Pinson outkicked his top pair and collecting $675k for his epic run – by far the biggest score of his career to date.

Aaron Pinson and Jay Lu watch the cards play out at the WPT Prime Championship
Lu, right, kept a smile on his face even as he watched his KO hand play out alongside Pinson

Pinson loses heads-up lead

Maryland’s Pinson held a commanding 3-1 chip lead as he and Anderson began heads-up play, but the playing field was soon leveled by a straight-over-straight hand which went his opponent’s way.

Poker player Aaron Pinson, pictured at the WPT Prime Championship
Aaron Pinson had a healthy chip lead after eliminating Lu, but Anderson pulled it back

Anderson continued to apply pressure, eventually getting Pinson to commit the last of his chips pre-flop holding K-Q, ahead of Anderson’s Q-7. Two 7s on the board put paid to Pinson’s hopes of taking home the trophy, although the $910k he received for second place is greater than most would have expected the winner to receive when this record-breaking tournament started back on December 7.

Anderson, who has two WSOP bracelets – in Stud Hi/Lo and Razz – enjoyed his biggest live tournament cash of $1,386,280.

Calvin Anderson and Aaron Pinson compete for the 2023 WPT Prime Championship
Anderson and Pinson, the last men standing (sitting) from a field of 10,512

Final table results

PositionPlayerPrize Money
1Calvin Anderson$1,386,280
2Aaron Pinson$910,000
3Jay Lu$675,000
4Jon Glendinning$505,000
5Robert Buckenmayer $380,000
6Valeriy Pak$290,000

Images courtesy of the WPT