For the last eight years, when Jay Lee wasn’t at the poker table, you could find him working as a Chinese food delivery driver in his hometown of Austin, Texas. Tonight, after his outstanding performance at Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma, Lee delivered on a lifelong dream and will be bringing home $593,173.
Lee defeated James “Jeb” Hutton to win the Season XVI WPT Choctaw Main Event, topping a field of 924 entries to win his first World Poker Tour title.
“It’s amazing,” Lee said after the win, struggling to find words in the moment. “Amazing… Cooler hands, after cooler hands, but you know it’s a great feeling. A lot of ups and downs, and a lot of happy at the end. I’m glad I did it.”
In addition to the $593,173 top prize, Lee also won a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions and a luxurious Hublot Big Bang Steel watch.
Season XVI WPT Choctaw Main Event Final Table Results
1st: Jay Lee – $593,173
2nd: James “Jeb” Hutton – $366,895
3rd: Josh Kay – $270,801
4th: Michael Stashin – $202,617
5th: Paul Fisher – $153,508
6th: Eric Bunch – $117,761
Lee entered heads-up play against Hutton after he took out Josh Kay in third place. Lee spiked a queen on the flop with the against the for Kay, and he held from there. Entering heads-up play, Lee held 16.65 million in chips to Hutton’s 10.95 million.
Ten hands after heads-up play began, it was all over.
On the final hand, with the blinds at 125,000-250,000 with a 25,000 ante, Hutton raised to 550,000 on the button. Lee called, and the duo took a flop of . Both checked, and the dealer added the to the board on the turn. Again, both players checked.
The river was the , and Lee led with a bet of 750,000. Hutton put in a raise to 2 million, and then Lee three-bet shoved for more than 19 million, having Hutton well covered. Hutton had a little over 5 million behind and made the call with the for a diamond flush that he made on the river. Much to Hutton’s surprise, Lee had flopped a full house with the and it was all over.
Lee’s Rise from the Middle of the Pack
Lee began the final table third in chips and sort of just hung around at the table for the first bit while he saw Eric Bunch fall in sixth place and Paul Fisher hit the rail in fifth.
Then on Hand #89, Lee doubled through Michael Stashin when his pocket sevens held against Stashin’s .
With new life, Lee continued to build his stack. On Hand #101, he clashed again with Stashin, and this time he sent the 20-year-old New Yorker home in fourth place when his pocket queens held up against Stashin’s two eights.
Lee began three-handed play with a slight lead, and he and Josh Kay were basically tied with 12.825 million and 12.625 million, respectively. Hutton was on the other end of the spectrum with just 2.15 million.
Hutton doubled through Lee on Hand #103 when his pocket jacks came from behind against Lee’s kings.
Then on Hand #125, Hutton doubled through Kay, but he was still the shortest stack of the trio.
Just a few hands later, on Hand #128, a big shift happened when Lee doubled in a huge way through Kay. On the flop, both players found all the money in the middle. Lee held the for a flush draw, and Kay had an inferior spade draw with the . Kay did have a pair of deuces, though. The turn delivered the to give Lee the pot.
Things got worse for Kay when Hutton doubled through him again on Hand #142, and then Kay was done in on Hand #180 in the aforementioned clash with Lee.
Lee Leads Hublot WPT Player of the Year Race
With his WPT Choctaw Main Event victory, Lee earned 1,200 points in the Season XVI Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. Three events into Season XVI, Lee now sits atop this leaderboard and is 200 points ahead of Hutton, who he defeated in heads-up play to win the WPT Choctaw title, and Pete Chen, winner of the Season XVI WPT Beijing event.
Last season’s Hublot WPT Player of the Year winner was Ben Zamani, and he got his start to a massively successful Season XV in Oklahoma with a second-place finish in the WPT Choctaw Main Event. Will Choctaw prove the launching pad for the Hublot WPT Player of the Year once again? Only time will tell.
Next Up for the World Poker Tour
Coming up on Season XVI of the WPT Main Tour is the 16th edition of the famed WPT Legends of Poker. The Season XVI WPT Legends of Poker Main Event takes place August 25-31, 2017, at The Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Southern California. The Main Event features a buy-in of $4,000, and the full Legends of Poker schedule boasts a ton of great events.
Photography by Joe Giron of PokerPhotoArchive.com.
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