Aleksejs Ponakovs was already an accomplished and respected player coming into the 2022 World Series of Poker, with millions in tournament earnings and a high roller bracelet he earned last fail on during the WSOP Online series. The 30-year-old Latvian poker professional’s success had primarily come online, though. In fact, he had not yet secured a title in the live arena before making his way to Las Vegas this summer. He crossed that goal off of his to-do list in style, defeating 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey heads-up to take down the 2022 WSOP $100,000 no-limit hold’em high roller event for his second career bracelet and a career-best payday of $1,897,363.
“I never had victory in live tournaments. Finally I did it. Nothing could be better at the moment.”
Even though he was up against a living legend of the game with the title on the line, Ponakovs was not afraid to square off against Ivey, who had 31 live titles and more than $35.4 million in career scores under his belt before entering this event.
“I’m battling the best players all over the world, all the time. It’s another legend, but still beatable,” he said.
2022 WSOP Event #42 Final Payouts