Over 20-plus seasons of the World Poker Tour, some of the biggest names in poker history have built their reputations on their successes in WPT events. Darren Elias holds two all-time records, with 13 final table appearances and four career WPT titles; six other players are tied in second on that list, with three wins. Carlos Mortensen has won $6.7 million in WPT main tour events, the most of any player and just over $100,000 more than Daniel Negreanu.
If you dig just a little bit deeper into the WPT record books, and scan through past and future Poker Hall of Famers, you quickly form a picture of some of the most accomplished players in tour history who haven’t yet had their names engraved on the WPT Mike Sexton Champions Cup. Two players have made seven WPT final tables without capturing a title – John Juanda and David Pham. Just beyond them, with six final table appearances, is a face you’re likely to see at any WPT event you might happen to attend.
Ray Qartomy cashed for the first time on tour in 2014, finishing 13th in the WPT Championship at Borgata. His next two cashes, also at Borgata in the 2014 Borgata Poker Open and the 2015 WPT World Championship, Qartomy recorded his first two final table appearances, finishing sixth and fifth.
Over the decade that followed, Qartomy has over $1.5 million in WPT cashes, and four more final tables. During WPT Season 20, Qartomy made the final table here at Choctaw, and he’d go on to finish third in that tournament, his best result to date. A few months later in Los Angeles, Qartomy again set a career milestone, reaching heads-up play at WPT Legends of Poker before finishing second to Joshua Pollock.
Qartomy is part of a group of players who follow the WPT wherever it goes, and at this point in his career winning a WPT title is a singular focus for Qartomy, beyond any other poker tournament or title.
“Honestly, I don’t play any cash games, no other tournaments,” said Qartomy. “I don’t play any other poker, not even online. I feel like I travel with my family on the WPT. A lot of the same players go to every stop, so we know each other well.”
With that familiarity comes something that Qartomy doesn’t find in other events. He’s a player who, like a few others including Elias, has had an outsized amount of success in these specific events.
“The more I play with the WPT, the more I know the players, and the more success I have,” said Qartomy.
When there isn’t a WPT main tour stop in the United States, work takes up a great deal of Qartomy’s time. In his day to day life, Qartomy is the president of Galaxy Stones, a supplier and distributor of granite, marble and other stone slabs. Choctaw is unique among all of the other stops on tour for Qartomy, as it’s the closest he gets to a hometown event.
It’s a five-hour drive from the greater Houston area, where he lives and works, and Qartomy’s previous results make it an even more attractive destination for him.
“Honestly, as for me, it’s a very soft field in Choctaw and it’s close my hometown,” said Qartomy. “And I feel really good coming here to play.”
There are still two full days of poker to be played before the 2023 WPT Choctaw final table is reached. And whether or not Qartomy makes magic in this tournament for the second year running, or his next success comes further down the road, he’s determined to check off that last empty box on his list of WPT goals.
“I gotta put my name on the cup, finally,” said Qartomy. “I will make it to the final table again, and I will put my name on that cup.”