Dan Sepiol Wins WPT World Championship ($5.3 Million) w/ Brilliant Final Table Performance
One of the largest tournaments in poker history, the $10,400 buy-in WPT World Championship, came to its conclusion with Dan Sepiol finishing off Georgios Sotiropoulos to close it out for the $5,282,954 first place prize via a heads-up ICM chop.
Day 7 the final table began a bit after 4 p.m. PT Thursday afternoon from inside Wynn Las Vegas. A World Poker Tour (WPT) Champions Club spot and millions of dollars were at stake between the final six players from the 3,835 entrants who sought a piece of that juicy $40 million guaranteed prize pool.
WPT World Championship Final Table Results
Final Table First Half Action
When play began Lichtenberger had a sizable chip lead and Sepiol was among the short stacks. But the shorty pulled off the bluff of the tournament against the big stack early in the day.
Sepiol three-bet preflop with K10 in position against "Lucky Chewy" who had A10. On a flop of 433, Lichtenberger checked and then called a bet of 3,500,000, about one-fourth the size of the pot. When the 9 hit on the turn, it was bad news for Sepiol because he only had 29,000,000 behind and his opponent picked up a flush draw.
Still, he bet 8,000,000 and again received a call. But the 3 on the river was a blank, and with 38,000,000 in the pot, Lichtenberger checked one more time before releasing his hand the best hand to an all in wager of 21,000,000 chips.
Moments later, Sepiol showed some more aggression when he jammed preflop with 55 to force the shortest stack, Martirosian, off A10. He'd nearly doubled his stack at that point simply by being being the aggressor.
Coincidentally, an hour or so later, Martirosian would move all in with the pocket fives, and Sepiol would call with pocket sevens and hold up. The sixth place finisher took home $1,207,000.
Sepiol would then turn a straight against Heath, who rivered two air, and use that hand to move into the chip lead after starting the day with just 29 big blinds. He was finding the right mix of luck and well-timed aggression to dominate play.
Heath, who entered the tournament with nearly $20 million in The Hendon Mob cashes, was next to bust (fifth place for $1,583,100) moments after having his chip stack decimated by Lichtenberger. In his final hand, he raised to 12,900,000 with QJ, leaving just 5,000,000 behind. Sotiropoulos, with A7 in the big blind, put him all in and he made the call.
No help came for Heath on the board as Sotiropoulos hit top pair, and he was eliminated in fifth place for $1,583,100. Although he'd just doubled up, Sotiropoulos was still the short stack, but would soon after win a decent pot to jump ahead of Moorman.
Moorman would then call off his final 16 big blinds with QJ and run into a higher queen KQ that Sotiropoulos had in the hold. The board came out AA1097 and Moorman, one of the top tournament and online players in poker, busted in fourth place for $2,095,300.
Three-Handed Play Begins
Following the elimination of Moorman, Lucky Chewy held a slim lead over Sepiol, while Sotiropoulos was riding a "short" stack, although with 46 big blinds, he had plenty of dancing chips to make a run at the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup trophy.
Not long after, the tournament completely shifted in Sepiol's direction as he would win the biggest pot of the tournament and send one of the most accomplished poker pros in history home.
Lichtenberger limped in the small blind for 2,500,000 with AK before the big blind, Sepiol, made it 8,500,000 with JJ. A limp-raise to 32,500,000 was in store, followed by an all in jam and then a call for 142,300,000 effective. Off to the races the two poker pros went, and it was Sepiol whose pocket pair held up on the 7Q9210 board.
The high-stakes poker legend was out in third place for $2,798,700, and Sepiol would begin heads-up play with a huge chip advantage over Sotiropoulos.
Sepiol, a Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) and World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) champion, appeared to be moments away from a career-defining win. Just two years ago, he won a social media contest to compete in a WPT home game at Steve Aoki's house against Phil Ivey and Aoki, a WPT ambassador at the time.
On Thursday, he was competing for life-changing money and the biggest score in WPT Main Tour history, surpassing Eliot Hudon, who took down this same event last year for $4.1 million.
But the tournament win wasn't a guarantee for Sepiol when heads-up play began despite being up 4-1 in chips. Sotiropoulos, a Greek poker star with nearly $4 million in live tournament results prior to the WPT World Championship, is no slouch and wouldn't go away easily.
Following a lengthy break after Lichtenberger's elimination to film some interviews for television, the final two players returned to the felt to battle for the trophy and millions of dollars.
Sotiropoulos would give his heads-up opponent a battle, especially early on. But he wasn't able to make up much ground for quite some time as he couldn't seem to scoop a big pot. But after dropping back to around 10 big blinds, he'd win a 60/40 to double up. And then he'd double up a second time moments later, and then again into the chip lead after being down 11-1 in chips at one point in the match.
Sepiol would regroup and get it all back before long. The tournament would inevitably end with Sotiropoulos going all in with KQ but losing to K3 when a 3 appeared on the turn. For the runner-up, he took home $4,167,246 as a consolation prize after the final two players agreed to an ICM chop earlier on a break.
Sepiol, on the other hand, earned $5,282,954 for dominating a tough final table. In doing so, he moved into fourth place on Indiana's all-time live tournament earnings list, according to The Hendon Mob. He now has just over $6.6 million lifetime, less than $50,000 short of Mike Sexton, the longtime WPT announcer who passed away in 2020.
Like Sexton, Sepiol is a WPT Champions Club member and now an Indiana poker legend.
Dan Sepiol Plays Poker at Steve Aoki's House