SHAWN CUNIX WINS WPT® JACKSONVILLE BESTBET OPEN
Tony Dunst Makes WPT Final Table; Will Failla Retakes Lead for WPT Season X Player of the Year
Jacksonville, Florida (May 3, 2012) – The debut World Poker Tour® televised event inside Florida’s largest poker room, the brand new bestbet Jacksonville complex, came to its conclusion on Wednesday night. After a week of unparalleled action which reshuffled the WPT Player of the Year standings, Shawn Cunix conquered a stacked final table to etch his name onto the WPT Champions Cup and claim more than $400,000 in first-place prize money.
Shawn Cunix played through pain the entire tournament with a broken collarbone, which he suffered a couple weeks back upon saving his son’s life during an ATV accident. “This has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life,” said an emotional Shawn Cunix. “If you put passion into anything, you’re capable of the unbelievable.”
The $5,000 buy-in WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open attracted a talented field of 320 players and a total prize pool of $1.5 million. Many perennial poker favorites were in attendance for the penultimate WPT Main Event of Season X, including those in the race for WPT Player of the Year. Joe Serock’s hold on pole position for the prestigious honor lasted only eight days, as a surging Will "The Thrill" Failla refused to be denied in his quest to regain the lead. However his accomplishment did not come easily, as four of the final ten players in the WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open held a shot at vaulting atop the leaderboard.
“The race is so close, it’s going to be a tough fight at the WPT World Championship,” said Will Failla. “I’m hands-down eating this whole Player of the Year up alive and taking no prisoners!”
For the first time in WPT history, Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten and Tony Dunst all elected to buy into the tournament. While Sexton and Van Patten caught a few bad breaks on the felt, Dunst carried a strong run all the way to his first-ever WPT final table. Filling in for Dunst as the commentator during WPT Live Streaming was poker pro Darryll Fish, who cashed in 24th for $12,124, and Season X Champion James Dempsey, who became the bubble boy (37th - $0) two days earlier.
Although riding a wave of momentum, Failla never got going during the final table and bowed out in sixth to eventual Champion Shawn Cunix. Just eight hands later, Tony Dunst moved all-in pre-flop holding king-high suited only to get called and eliminated by poker pro Darren Elias with ace-high. Since Failla busted early, Daniel Buzgon briefly held a chance to take the POY lead with a win. However, Buzgon would fall short, busting in fourth to James Calderaro. After building up a sizeable chip stack, Elias lost three significant hands in a row which culminated with his elimination to Calderaro in a pre-flop race situation. Heads-up play between Calderaro and Cunix lasted nearly fifty hands. In the end, Cunix’s pocket threes defeated Calderaro’s jack-ten suited all-in pre-flop, crowning Shawn Cunix a venerable WPT Champion.
bestbet Jacksonville is the largest poker room in the state of Florida and played host to a variety of off-the-felt activities. A VIP Welcome Party, WPT Champions Club golfing excursion, entertaining dinners and a night of racing at bestbet’s Orange Park Kennel Club were all filmed by the World Poker Tour for the televised broadcast.
In less than three weeks, the Season X finale kicks-off from Bellagio. The $25,000 WPT World Championship runs from May 19 – 26 and is poised to attract the game’s top professionals for one of poker’s most prestigious titles. From May 23 – 25, this year’s event will also feature the televised WPT Super High Roller. This $100,000 buy-in WPT special event will be filmed for broadcast as three separate episodes to air on Fox Sports Net (FSN) as part of the Season X telecast.
Final Table Results
1. Shawn Cunix - $400,600
2. James Calderaro - $236,560
3. Darren Elias - $147,850
4. Daniel Buzgon - $94,624
5. Tony Dunst - $66,532
6. Will Failla - $54,704
Player of the Year Standings
1. Will Failla - 2,050
2. Joe Serock - 1,800
3. Daniel Buzgon - 1,750
4. Darren Elias – 1,600
5. Vitor Coelho - 1,500
6. Fred Goldberg - 1,450
WPT Media + Photos Contact:
Max Sloan - Press@WorldPokerTour.com
About World Poker Tour
World Poker Tour (WPT) is the premier name in internationally televised gaming and entertainment with brand presence in land-based tournaments, television, online and mobile. Leading innovation in the sport of poker since 2002, WPT ignited the global poker boom with the creation of a unique television show based on a series of high stakes poker tournaments. WPT has broadcast globally in over 150 countries and territories and is currently airing the all-new tenth season on FSN in the United States. Season X of WPT is sponsored by ClubWPT.com, a unique online membership site which offers inside access to the WPT as well as a sweepstakes-based poker club and is available in 35 states across the U.S. WPT participates in strategic brand license, partnership and sponsorship opportunities. WPT Enterprises Inc. is a subsidiary of bwin.party digital entertainment plc. For more information, go to WorldPokerTour.com.