In the lead up to the 2022 PokerGO Tour Heads-Up Showdown event, the ARIA Resort & Casino hosted the first of a trio of high roller tournaments on Wednesday, Apr. 20. The $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event drew a field of 44 total entries, which resulted in a prize pool of $440,000 that was paid out among the top seven finishers. The last player standing was Ali Imsirovic, who earned $149,600 as the champion.
This was already the 27-year-old poker pro’s fifth title and 17th final-table finish of 2022. He was already the leader in both the Card Player and PokerGO Tour Player of the Year points races, but has now extended his lead as he looks to go back-to-back after winning both awards in 2021. He has cashed for more than $3 million in live tournaments so far in 2022.
Recent Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $50,000 buy-in champion Andrew Lichtenberger lost a key pot with pocket kings facing the A-J of Imsiurovic to fall to the bottom of the chip counts. He then got the last of his stack in with K-10, only to have Jamil Wakil wake up with pocket aces. Lichtenberger was unable to come from behind and was eliminated in seventh place ($17,600).
Lonis was the next to fall, with his pocket kings being coolered by the pocket aces of Wakil, who extended his chip lead after his larger pair held up. Lonis earned $26,400 as the sixth-place finisher. This was his eighth final-table showing of 2022. He now sits inside the top 100 in the POY standings.
Sean Winter also made a splash in the points races thanks to a deep run in this event. The recent U.S. Poker Open player of the series award winner finished fifth for $35,200 when his pocket threes clashed with the pocket jacks of Justin Saliba. With 11 final-table finishes, two titles, and $1,890,300 in year-to-date earnings, Winter now sits in seventh place in the overall POY rankings. He is seventh on the PGT leaderboard.
With that, heads-up play began with Wakil holding 2,320,000 to Imsirovic’s 2,080,000. Imsirovic quickly overtook the lead, and was able to extend to more than a 16:1 advantage by the time the final hand was dealt. Wakil shoved with 10-6 Suit and Imsirovic called holding 7-7. The board ran out K-4-4-9-3 and Wakil was knocked out as the runner-up ($96,800).
Final table results:
Ali Imsirovic – $149 600
Jamil Wakil – $96 800
Craig Mason – $66 000
Justin Saliba – $48 400
Sean Winter – $35 200
Jesse Lonis – $26 400
Andrew Lichtenberger – $17 600