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Damian Salas Crowned Winner in the International Leg of the 2020 WSOP $10,000 Main Event ($1,550,969)
The first final table winner of the 2020 World Series of Poker $10,000 Championship Main Event has been determined, at the King's Resort in Rozvadov for the international leg of the online/live hybrid.
Eight of the nine finalists out of a field of 674 entries made the trip to the Czech Republic to battle for the lion's share of the $6,470,400 prize pool. Ultimately, the two finalists with the longest travels met heads up and Argentina's Damian Salas defeated Brazil's Brunno Botteon to claim the top prize of $1,550,969.
Salas beamed with pride and proudly flashed the Argentinian flag throughout the entire final table, in which he ultimately prevailed after dominating the duel with Botteon. The Brazilian is mainly active in the online poker arena and reached three final tables including two runner-ups during the 2020 GGPoker WSOP Online Bracelet Events earlier in 2020. While it was another close call, Botteon will certainly be consoled by a massive score of $1,062,723 to further cement his status as one of the rising stars of the South American powerhouse.
Salas, meanwhile, gained chance at redemption after finishing in seventh during the 2017 WSOP Main Event, and he will have the chance to return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas at the end of the year. The heads-up duel for the title of 2020 World Champion is currently scheduled for Dec. 30, and Salas now awaits the champion of the domestic leg, which has played down to the final nine last night on the WSOP.com client in Nevada and New Jersey.
Portugal's online and live poker wizard Manuel Ruivo finished third and the international final table line-up also featured Ramon Miquel Munoz, Marco Streda, Dominykas Mikolaitis, Stoyan Obreshkov, and Hannes Speiser.
|4||Ramon Miquel Munoz||Spain||$498,947|
*China's Peiyuan Sun has opted not to travel and finished in ninth place ($75,360) as per the rules
Salas Overwhelmed and Thankful
In the interview after victory, Salas said he was happy about the performance but also made sure to point out that he "is not the best poker player" but being able to compete against the best in the world has certainly improved his game.
The Argentinian had already crossed paths with runner-up Botteon on the virtual felt many times over the years and described him as a "very tough opponent with a winning mentality."
Salas recalled a pivotal hand early on the final table in which he gained the lead from Botteon when he called a check-raise on the river with just the top pair.
"I was very confident in my game and that hand was important," he said. "It was a tough spot but I also knew he is also very capable of bluffing."
The Argentinian didn't have any special plan for the heads-up duel and prefers to adapt along the way. It was another gutsy bluff by Botteon that ended the tournament as Salas called with the top two pair on yet another tricky board, in which many flush draws got there. Again, Salas credited his opponent's play on the hand.
Salas' nickname "Pampa," which he was given while playing football, means "the wild one, the country man" and he was initially going to use another nickname and that happened to not be available. Ever since, Pampa has stuck around and is a well-known name in the thriving poker scene in Argentina and South America in general, which he hopes can grow further.
Despite the success of the last few years and a very fruitful year 2020 in online poker, Salas plans to continue working as a lawyer in his home country.
"I don't want to spend all my energy playing poker," he said. "I like to take my time to also do other things and not just poker."
As a source of positive vibes and motivation, Salas thrived on the support of his family and friends back home and carried a picture of his three children and wife with him. His daughter Sol even created a handmade bracelet, which he wore for the winner's photos as he thanked everyone back home rooting him on.
"I was already a winner because I received all this energy," he said. "I want to thank all my friends, my wife, and my children. I cannot say enough thank you for all the support I have received."
The Action of the Final Day
With several short stacks in contention, the action in the first two levels was tense with very few showdowns about and Speiser was the first to bow out after running queen-ten suited into the pocket tens of Salas. The next player to bust was then Obreshkov and again, Salas dealt the final blow.
Ruivo eliminated Mikolaitis and Streda, the latter with aces over ace-king, but even as he did, Salas busied himself pulling farther ahead in the counts. Munoz eventually succumbed to his short stack, exiting in fourth place.
In three-handed play, start-of-the-day leader Botteon nearly closed the gap to Salas at the top but the Argentinian then knocked out Ruivo when his flush draw got there versus top two pair.
Heads-up play saw Salas with a solid lead at the start and despite Botteon pulling into a narrow lead for a couple of minutes, the match ended in a couple of dozen hands. Eventually, Salas had the best of it with top two pair on the river when he caught Botteon bluffing to secure a payday of more than $1.5 million.
While that wraps up the final table of the international leg at the King's Resort in Rozvadov, the 2020 World Champion is yet to be crowned. All nine finalists of the identical domestic WSOP.com event will play down to a winner, who then faces Salas for the heads-up duel with $1 million added.
That wraps up the live updates for now but stay tuned right here on PokerNews for the conclusion of the online and live poker hybrid.
A limped pot led to the flop on which Brunno Botteon checked his option and Damian Salas checked behind. The fell on the turn and Botteon checked once again, which led to a bet worth 1 million by Salas. Subsequently, Botteon check-raised to 2.8 million and Salas made the call.
The fell on the river and Botteon announced all-in. Salas asked for a count on the shove, which was deemed to be for 6.65 million and the Argentinian took off his sunglasses for the first time on the final table to study his opponent.
One minute passed without any decision, Salas then took some more time and eventually called. Botteon immediately tapped the table and turned over for a bluff gone wrong as Salas revealed for the top two pair.
Botteon's formidable run ends in 2nd place for a stellar payday while Salas has locked up $1,550,969 with the dream of adding another $1 million to that.
The winner ceremony is now being prepared, followed by the winner pictures and an interview with Salas. A recap of today's action is to follow.
After the action-filled last couple of hands, the excitement slowed down as Damian Salas chipped up by a mere two big blinds.
Brunno Botteon open-jammed once without picking up a call and they only saw two further flops. In the latest hand, Botteon limped and Salas checked. The flop fell and Salas check-folded to a min-bet of Botteon.
Brunno Botteon three-bet jammed into a raise worth 1.5 million by Damian Salas and forced a fold.
Botteon then raised to 1.3 million and Salas raised to 3.7 million. Botteon moved all-in and locked up the next pot.
Salas won the blinds and big blind ante with a raise to 1.5 million.
Up next, Botteon opened to 1.3 million and Salas came along to the flop. Salas opted to check-call a bet worth 2 million and the on the turn was checked by both players. Salas then bet the on the river for 1.4 million and Botteon sigh-called.
Salas turned over the for kings and treys to win the pot and claim all of Botteon's recent profit.
Damian Salas limped in and Brunno Botteon raised to 1.7 million in order to win the pot preflop.
Botteon then raised to 1.1 million and Salas defended. The flop brought and Salas check-folded to a bet worth 800,000.
Damian Salas raised to 1.1 million and Brunno Botteon defended the big blind to see a flop of . Botteon check-raised from 500,000 to 1,600,000 and Salas reraised to 2,800,000, which Botteon called.
They checked down the turn and river and Salas won the pot with versus ,.
In the next hand, Botteon made it 1,100,000 to go and Salas defended. The flop was checked by Salas, who then called a bet of 1,100,000. The turn was checked and Salas bet the on the river for 800,000. Botteon came along and mucked when he was shown the .
Damian Salas raised to 1.3 million and Brunno Botteon defended the big blind. The flop fell and both players checked, as they did on the turn. The fell on the river and Botteon check-raised from 1.6 million to 3.6 million, which Salas called.
Botteon tabled the and Salas had the jack-high straight with the to earn the pot.
Damian Salas won the third hand of heads-up with a raise and take it when he made it 1.1 million to go. Brunno Botteon returned the favor in the next hand and the fifth hand then saw a limped pot. They checked to the river on which Botteon led for 500,000. Salas folded and Botteon nearly evened out the stacks.
Botteon then raised to 1.1 million and won the pot uncontested.