The international final table of the online/live hybrid 2020 WSOP $10,000 Championship Main Event, played at the King’s Resort in Rozvadov has been decided.
Eight of the nine finalists made the trek to the Czech Republic to battle for the mind-blowing $6,470,400 prize pool. Unfortunately, Peiyuan Sun of China could not travel, ultimately finishing in ninth place and collecting $75,360.
In the end, the two finalists with the longest road to travel met heads up, with Argentina’s Damian Salas trouncing Brazil’s Brunno Botteon, seizing the top prize of $1,550,969.
Salas proudly displayed the Argentinian flag during the final table. Salas is mostly active in the online poker community, managing to reach three final tables earlier in 2020, including two runner-up wins during the 2020 GGPoker WSOP Online Bracelet Events.
While coming in second, Botteon will certainly go home happy with a massive win of $1,062,723. This only further solidifies his status as one of the South American rising stars of the online poker world. Meanwhile, Salas was redeemed from a seventh-place finish at the 2017 WSOP Main Event
Salas now has the chance for a seat at the table at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, for a heads-up duel and a chance at the title of 2020 World Champion. Salas will play against the WSOP champion of the USA, which played down to the final nine between players in Nevada and New Jersey.
At the international table, Portugal’s poker master Manuel Ruivo finished third.
Salas Thankful and Overwhelmed at his Victory
During the post-victory interview, Salas remarked that he was happy with his performance but also pointed out that he “is not the best poker player.” He also said that being able to play against the best poker players in the world has definitely improved his game.
Salas had already played against Botteon many times over the years, describing him as a “very tough opponent with a winner’s mindset.”
When Salas called a check-raise on the river with just the top pair early on during the final table, during which he gained the lead over Botteon. “That hand was important, and I was very confident in my game,” he said. “It was tough, and I also knew Botteon is very capable of bluffing.”
Salas didn’t have any particular plan for the heads-up match, saying that he prefers to adapt along the way. It was an audacious bluff by Botteon that finally ended the tournament, when Salas called the top two pair.
Salas’ screen name, “Pampa,” means “the wild one, the country man.” He was given that title while playing soccer. Pampa has become a well-known name in the Argentinian poker scene and South America in general, and “Pampa” hopes to grow that scene even further.
Despite his success over the last few years playing online poker, Salas has no plans to stop working as a lawyer.
“I don’t want to spend all my time and energy playing poker,” he said. “I like to take spend time to do other things, not just play poker.”
Salas thrives on the support of his family and friends as a source of motivation and positive energy. He always carries a picture of his wife and three children, and his daughter Sol crafted him a homemade bracelet, which he wore proudly for the winner’s photos. He thanked everyone back home in Argentina for cheering him on.
“I was already a winner because I received all this positive energy,” he said. “I want to thank all of my friends, my family, my wife, and my children. I cannot say thank you enough for all of the support I’ve received.”
WSOP Final Day Action
In contention were several short stacks, causing the action in the first two levels to be intense. With very few showdowns, Speiser was the first to go after running queen-ten suited into the pocket tens of Salas. The next player to be dealt a final blow by Salas was Stoyan Obreshkov of Bulgaria.
Manuel Ruivo of Portugal next eliminated Mikolaitis of Lithuania and Marco Streda of Switzerland. Streda held aces over ace-king, but even so, Salas furthered himself ahead in the counts. Ramon Miquel Munoz of Spain eventually fell to his short stack, leaving the table in fourth place.
Once the table was down to three-handed play, Botteon almost closed the gap with Salas at the top, but Salas quickly took out Ruivo with a flush draw versus a top two pair.
Salas entered the heads-up play with a solid chip lead despite a few minutes, when Botteon pulled into a narrow lead. The match finally ended after around two dozen hands. Salas took the title with a top two pair on the river, catching Botteon in a bluff. Salas went home with more than $1.5 million.
While the final table of the international WSOP at the King’s Resort in Rozvadov is settled, the 2020 WSOP World Champion has yet to be crowned. The nine finalists of the US WSOP event will play down to a champion, who will then face Salas in a heads-up duel worth $1 million.