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Shawn Cunix Proves Good Deeds Don't Go Unrewarded
Level 30: 50,000-100,000, 10,000 ante
Photo: Will Failla (center left, in black) retook the WPT Player of the Year lead tonight, and joins in the celebration for WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open champion Shawn Cunix (center, in blue).
If you don’t think poker has a physical element to it, you probably didn’t see Shawn Cunix at the final table of the Jacksonville bestbet Open Main Event. The longtime recreational player had to play his second career final table with a broken collarbone, fighting the pain all afternoon.
Battling with some pain and discomfort was well worth it for Cunix though. The reason he sported a sling throughout the tournament was because he broke his collar bone saving his son from an oncoming four wheeler. Cunix isn’t exaggerating when he says he saved his son’s life.
If Cunix is any indication, good deeds do get rewarded. Cunix has always taught his children to be passionate about what they do and he was able to show his son and his other children that theory in practice as he played his way to his first WPT title and a more than $400,000 payday.
When the final table began, Cunix was chip leader and he spent the early goings of the final table building his stack even bigger while the rest of his opponents struggled. As he chipped up to more than 4 million, everyone else save for James Calderaro dropped below a million chips.
These short stacks meant most players at the table were getting pretty desperate for a double up. Daniel Buzgon and Tony Dunst managed to find doubles early, but Will Failla was not so fortunate. He took a stand against Shawn Cunix on a 1097 flop holding QJ for an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw against Cunix’s J10 for top pair. Failla failed to catch and he was out in sixth, but did get a nice consolation prize as he regained the lead in the Season X WPT Player of the Year race with his second final table appearance of the season.
Tony Dunst got a bit of a consolation prize as well as the Raw Deal correspondent and WPT Live Strea Host managed to log the best finish of a WPT personality in a WPT Main Event. He amanged to get one spot higher than Mike Sexton did at Bay 101 back in Season IX, but exited in fifth place when he shoved the button with K3 only to run into Darren Elias A9.
Buzgon failed to improve upon his third place showing at the Borgata Poker Open earlier this season, but he did manage to improve his standing in the WPT POY race with his fourth place finish. Buzgon’s pair of final table appearance pushed him to third in the ranks with 1,750 point.
Once play got three-handed, Cunix started to lose momentum and it looked as though his shot at the title might be in jeopardy. He went from top of the counts to short stack after he made two pair and paid off Elias’ flush in a big pot early in three-handed play. Then it looked like Cunix might end up the third place finisher when he got in a preflop raising ware against Elias that resulted in them getting it all-in preflop with Elias holding AQ to Cunix’s J9. Cunix managed to river a flush to double up and then it was Elias who was the low man on the toem pole.
Things only got worse for Elias from there as a series of cold decks and frustrating beats whittled his stack down. The bad luck culminated in being on the wrong end of a coin flip against Calderaro and exiting in third place.
That left Cunix and Calderaro heads-up for the title—a spot both players were ecstatic to be in. The two celebrated their good fortune with a shot before play began and the tone of heads-up action was jovial and fast paced. The two battled back and forth with Cunix erasing Calderaro’s chip lead after just six hands of play. Eventually, Cunix began to pull and away and, after a while, Calderaro was in all-in or fold mode.
On the final hand of play, Cunix shoved with pocket threes and Calderaro called with J10. Cunix flopped a set and had to sweat a couple of backdoor draws for his opponent, but that was more than enough to give him the hand, the match, and his first WPT title.
As he was presented with his trophy and snapped photos with friends, fans, and the WPT crew, Cunix could not hide his emotion.
A few weeks ago, Cunix’s life could’ve taken a disastrous turn Instead, he is one of the happiest men in Jacksonville tonight with great friends, an amazing family, and a WPT title that validates his passion for the game.
Here are the final table results for the Jacksonville bestbet Open:
1st: Shawn Cunix - $400,600 (includes $25,500 WPT World Championship seat)
2nd: James Calderaro - $236,560
3rd: Darren Elias - $147,850
4th: Daniel Buzgon - $94,624
5th: Tony Dunst - $66,532
6th: Will Failla - $54,704
10:47 PM, 05/02/12