Las Vegas, NV (May 26, 2022) – Mark Davis won the 2022 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Wednesday night at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas, taking home over $1 million for the victory and denying Darren Elias’ attempt at a record-extending WPT victory in the process.
Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, and an 18-year Birmingham, Alabama resident, Davis defeated Elias after a grueling heads up battle — denying Elias’ attempt to add his name to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup for the fifth time. Elias’ four WPT victories remains the record as the most for any player in the history of the World Poker Tour, but Davis’ name will now join his on that trophy.
“This is huge,” Davis said shortly after his victory. “This is about as big as you can get outside of a couple other tournaments [in the world].”
It took only 53 hands to go from the six players who made the final table at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood back in April down to a heads up matchup between Davis and Elias. Each player recorded two eliminations, but Elias held a commanding early edge with over 50% of the chips in play when action was five-handed.
But after that quick playdown to two, it then took almost 100 more hands before Davis was crowned as the champion. In the meantime, they traded the chip lead several times, with Elias seemingly seeing his fifth title within reach on several occasions before Davis fought his way back.
Davis finally put Elias on the ropes late in their heads-up match when he called an Elias river bet with king-high () on a board, and won. Five hands later, on a board of , Elias pushed his last 9.3 million chips into the middle and Davis called with for two pair. Elias had an open-ended straight draw with , but the river failed to complete that straight — sealing Davis’ victory.
Wednesday’s final table was Elias’ 11th WPT final table appearance of his career. It was the first time he has ever finished second.
“I need to explain to you what a class act Darren is,” Davis said of his heads up opponent. “He is a phenomenal player – the best player I’ve ever played against. It took me running really good to be able to beat him, because everything his accolades say about him is what he is.”
This victory was the first cash of over $1 million for Davis, and just his second career tournament cash that cracked the six-figure mark – both of which have happened in 2022.
“I feel like my style is very conducive to tournament poker,” Davis said of his recent run of form. “I feel like I’m a very tough out, and everything’s just clicked this year.”
Final table payouts
1st: Mark Davis – $1,000,300
2nd: Darren Elias – $660,000
3rd: Marcos Exterkotter – $490,000
4th: Viet Vo – $370,000
5th: Andrew Barfield – $280,000
6th: Mike Laufer – $215,000
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