In 2017, Damian Salas navigated his way through a field of 7,221 entries to make the final table of the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in main event. He went on to finish seventh for more than $1.4 million, falling just a few spots shy of becoming the first-ever poker world champion from his home country of Argentina. In fact, he was the first Argentinian to even make the final table. Incredibly, just three years later, Salas has another chance to write his name in the poker history books.
Salas overcame a field of 674 total entries to win the ‘International Tournament’ of the 2020 WSOP $10,000 main event. Salas earned $1,550,969 as the champion of this event, and will now head to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to play the winner of the concurrently-running ‘Domestic Tournament’ in order to determine this year’s world champion. The eventual winner of that heads-up showdown will be awarded the championship bracelet and $1 million in added prize money. The US-facing tournament set its final table on Monday, Dec. 14.
This event began online, with three starting flights running on Nov. 29 and Dec. 5-6, drawing a total of 674 entries. Day 2 began on Dec. 7 with 179 players remaining. Over the course of around 10 hours of play, the field was narrowed down to a final table of nine, with Brazil’s Brunno Botteon bagging up the largest stack of 10,317,743. Salas entered the day in third chip position.
The final table was held live and in person at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, the site of the WSOP Europe festival in recent years. Only eight of the final nine players made the trip to the Czech Republic, as Peiyuan Sun opted to not attend the final table in person. As result, they officially finished in ninth place and earned $75,360.
Hannes Speiser was the first to be eliminated at the final table. He got his last ten or so big blinds in preflop with Q10 and ran into the pocket tens of Salas. The board kept Salas’ pocket pair ahead through the river, and Speiser was sent home in eighth place ($109,982).
Stoyan Obreshkov was the next player to hit the rail. He also found himself with around 10 big blinds when the hand began, all of which went into the pot preflop. He held K10 and was up against the A10 of Salas. The Argentinian made aces and tens by the river to take down the pot and knock Obreshkov out in seventh place ($160,512).
Dominykas Mikolaitis’ run in this event came to an end when he lost a preflop race with A-J against the pocket threes of Manuel Ruivo. A three on the flop gave Ruivo a dominant lead, and a blank on the turn left Mikolaitis drawing dead. The Lithuanian earned $234,255 as the sixth-place finisher. Ruivo continued his climb up the leaderboard by finding himself on the preferrable side of a preflop cooler against Marco Streda. Ruivo opened and Streda three-bet all-in for around nine big blinds with AK. Ruivo quickly called with AA and held through all five community cards. Streda was awarded for $341,879 for his fifth-place showing.
Salas built an early lead with his early knockouts at the final table, and he was able to extend that advantage during four-handed play. He held more than three times as many chips as the next largest stack when the final four took a dinner break. Botteon was able to close the gap somewhat by eliminating Ramon Miquel Munoz in fourth place. The short stack got his last few blinds in with A-6 and was unable to outrun the pocket threes of Botteon, who flopped a set and turned a full house. Miquel Munoz earned $498,947 for his deep run in this event.
Manuel Ruivo took his stand against the chip leader after the pair saw a flop of 942. Salas checked from out of position and Ruivo bet 750,000. Salas check-raised to 5,000,000. Ruivo only had around 6 million in total, and he announced that he was all-in. Salas called and revealed the 107 for a flush draw. Ruivo held 94 for two pair. The 8 on the turn gave Salas more outs with an open-ended straight draw. The 5 on the river completed Salas’ flush, and Ruivo was eliminated in third place ($728,177).
With that, Salas took roughly a 5:3 chip lead into heads-up play against Botteon. The Brazilian was able to overtake the lead in the early going, but Salas regained the advantage and never looked back. By the time the final hand was dealt, he held a nearly a 3:1 lead. Salas limped in from the button for 600,000 with K8 and Botteon checked holding 73. The flop came down K42 and Botteon checked. Salas checked behind with his top pair and the turn brought the 6 to give Botteon a flush draw and outs to a straight. He checked and Salas bet 1,000,000. Botteon check-raised to 2,800,000. Salas called and the river brought the 8. Botteon had missed, but he elected to move all-in as a bluff for around 6.6 million. Salas thought it over before making the call with his kings and eights to secure the pot and the title. Botteon earned $1,062,723 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts awarded at this final table:
|4||Ramon Miquel Munoz||$498,947|