For much of 2020 and early 2021, the only way to win a World Poker Tour title was online. The final such event during that stretch, WPT Montreal Online, took place in mid-January on partypoker, and when it got down to heads-up play it was Rayan Chamas against Jack Hardcastle for the title and $447,859.
On that day, Chamas fell one spot short of a WPT Main Tour title, settling for runner-up. On Wednesday, he’ll have his second shot at redemption as part of the final table of six in the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open. Eyes are, of course, on the top prize of $752,500, but there’s also the matter of rectifying a result that still hangs in the back of Chamas’ mind.
“One of my screen names, after I finished second, is literally ‘WinWPTthistime,’” said Chamas. “The reason for that is because when I made second in that in 2021, I played really badly heads up and I made a lot of mistakes. I actually misclicked a few times, and I’ll never forget it. And I’m friends with the guy that won, and he keeps needling me all the time.”
Chamas’ run in this tournament is, in his mind, a path towards balancing out that sour taste. To become a WPT champion, he’ll have to outlast five tough contenders, including online standout and chip leader Istvan Briski, WPT Champions Club member Darryll Fish, and old-school standout Fred Goldberg.
“This is a really tough final table,” said Chamas. “Not only are they very good, but they have extremely different styles. You have one of the best players online, the current chip leader, then you have some people that I watched on TV many, many years ago on the World Series and WPT stuff. They’re not playing the same style of poker.
“You always have to adjust and figure out what they’re thinking. I think it’ll be a very fun final table.”
Financially, a windfall this big would also balance out what’s been a tough year at the table for Chamas. In his life as a content creator and online streamer, Chamas has seen a difficult online downswing in 2023, with the majority of that action playing out for the world to see.
In a video posted in early October, Chamas – best known by his online handle ‘Beriuzy,’ – got into how he’s managed to find a strong life balance while trying to pull himself out of the toughest poker run of his career. His decision to come to this tournament could very well be the moment where the curve is completely inverted.
“I’ve been very open, and I’ve basically lost around like $700K this year playing poker online,” said Chamas. “I streamed most of it, so people got to really see the runs, the mistakes, when I was making punts. And I just never gave up.
“I came here just for this tournament,” Chamas continued. “I literally flew in for this, and I [was scheduled] to fly out tonight. I’m stubborn, and that’s how you have to be for poker tournaments. You can’t let it beat you. The only way you win is by never giving up.”
Coming into Wednesday’s final table, Chamas sits in fourth, but well within reach of everyone outside of Briski. He feels the weight of what’s ahead, and after fighting his way through some particularly difficult moments on Day 4, Chamas is intent on righting a lot of wrongs in a single swing.
“I really have a lot of redemption coming into this one now,” said Chamas. “I really want to win it.”