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Darren Elias Becomes First Same-Season Back-to-Back Winner with WPT Caribbean Victory

Darren Elias

The 2014 World Poker Tour Caribbean Main Event at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino Royale in St. Maarten attracted 118 entrants that created a prize pool of $366,272. It’d take four days of play, but eventually history was made when Darren Elias, who had won the WPT Borgata Poker Open for $843,744 in September, overcame a four-to-one chip disadvantage to defeat Christophe Rosso heads up to capture the $127,680 first-place prize.

By doing so, Elias became the first player to win back-to-back WPT Main Events in the same season. The only other player to win back-to-back titles was Marvin Rettenmaier back in 2012, though he did so by winning the Season X WPT World Championship and the Season XI WPT Merit Cyprus Classic.

Elias, who now has a massive 803.04 points in the Season XIII Player of the Year race, also became the first player to win multiple WPT Main Events in the same season since both Tuan Le and Daniel Negreanu did it way back in Season III.

Final Table Results

1Darren Elias$127,680
2Christophe Rosso$64,900
3George Griffith$42,100
4Mike Linster$28,950
5Ziga Jamnikar$22,280
6Dan Murariu417,370

Notable Finishes: Will Failla (13th - $4,920), Anthony Zinno (12th - $5,790), Bruce Kramer (10th - $5,790), Jonathan Roy (9th - $7,012), Alain Medesan (7th - $13,680)

According to the WPT live updates, the final table began with Rosso holding 1.932 million in chips, which was more than half the chips in play; in fact, the other five players had a combined 1.609 million. With such a chip disparity, it didn’t take long for the short stacks to fall.

On Hand #15 of the final table, WPT Champions Club member Mike Linster opened for 17,000 from early position and then called when Dan Murariu shoved all in for 135,000 from the big blind.

Linster: {q-Clubs}{q-Hearts}
Murariu: {a-Spades}{9-Diamonds}

Murariu was in need of some help, but he was left wanting as the board ran out a dry {10-Spades}{5-Clubs}{4-Hearts}{k-Hearts}{4-Clubs}. Murariu took home $17,370 for his sixth-place finish.

Two hands later Ziga Jamnikar bowed out when his {a-Clubs}{a-Diamonds} were cracked by the {7-Diamonds}{7-Spades} of Rosso after the flop had come down {j-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{7-Clubs}. Neither the {2-Hearts} turn nor {10-Clubs} river helped Jamnikar, and he had to settle for fifth place and $22,280.

On Hand #25, Linster got his stack all in on an {a-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{7-Hearts} flop holding the {a-Diamonds}{10-Clubs} for two pair, but it was no good as Rosso once again flopped a set of sevens with the {7-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}. Linster failed to boat up and the 2013 WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open champ hit the rail in fourth place for $28,950.

Darren Elias Becomes First Same-Season Back-to-Back Winner with WPT Caribbean Victory 101
Christophe Rosso

Once George Griffith bowed out in third place on Hand #37 – a result of his {k-Hearts}{10-Hearts} failing to hold up against Rosso's {q-Spades}{6-Hearts} – heads-up play began with Elias a 4-1 dog. It’d take 108 hands before a winner was determined, and during that time Elias grinded his way back into contention and even pulled out to a near 2-1 chip lead.

In what would be the final hand of the tournament, Rosso shoved all in preflop holding the {7-Diamonds}{6-Spades} and was unfortunate enough to run into the {a-Clubs}{a-Spades} of Elias. The {10-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{5-Clubs} flop gave Rosso a sweat, and he took the lead when the {7-Clubs} turn delivered him two pair. Rosso’s rail went wild, but their enthusiasm was short lived as the {5-Spades} spiked on the river to counterfeit their man.

Rosso took home $64,900 for his runner-up finish while Elias etched his name in poker history.

The WPT continues this weekend with the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble in Jacksonville, Florida. PokerNews will bring you a recap of that event upon completion of play.

*Photos and data courtesy of WPT.

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