Tag Archives: 2020 Feb WSOPC

Isaac Kempton Wins the WSOP Circuit Main Event in Just His Second Live Tournament

2020 WSOP Circuit – February
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Tampa, Florida
Event 10
$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)$1,000,000 Guaranteed
Entries:  1,162
Prize Pool:  $1,760,430
February 14-17, 2020

WSOP Circuit Main Event Champion Isaac Kempton
WSOP Circuit Main Event Champion Isaac Kempton

When Isaac Kempton stumbled across some poker videos on YouTube four years ago, he had no idea that it would lead to him winning $290,974 and a WSOP Circuit Main Event ring in only the second live tournament he had ever played.

“I saw some YouTube videos,” said Kempton, “probably through the auto-recommendation algorithm. It recommended some poker hands from the old High Stakes Poker days.” Kempton watched those videos, and then continued down the rabbit hole, consuming more and more poker content until he was ready to play it himself.

“This game looks really fun,” Kempton said, as he reminisced about his first exposure to poker. “And they’re playing for a ton of money. Maybe I should try this.” And try it he did.

“I just played for fun for two years,” said Kempton, who started out by playing free-money games online and little sit-n-go tournaments in his college dorm. “And then I decided, ‘Hey, this is really fun, and I think I’m pretty good at it. I’m going to try taking it seriously.’ So I started studying and trying to get better. And I was able to grind my way up, and now I’m here.”

Kempton has been primarily a cash game player, and if you don’t count the sit-n-gos from the college dorms, this WSOP Circuit Main Event was just the second live poker tournament that Kempton played.

Kempton was the overall chipleader after Day 1, and when the final 25 players bagged up at the end of Day 2, Kempton was once again atop the leaderboard. But when the final table was down to four players, Kempton found himself as the short stack.

Kempton doubled up with pocket sixes against Paul Balzano’s ace-nine, and then won a big three-way pot to eliminate Rob Manjura in fourth place and catapult into the chip lead. One hand later, Kempton eliminated Balzano in third place to get heads-up with David Jackson with a 2.3-to-1 chip lead.

Jackson was able to gain some ground on Kempton, but the tournament ended when Jackson shoved the river with Js9d (jack-high) on a board of 10s8h3d4dAs, and Kempton tank-called withQs8c to win the title with a pair of eights.

Along with the prize money and the coveted WSOP Circuit ring, Kempton receives an entry into the invitation-only WSOP Global Casino Championship. It won’t be easy, but if Kempton wins that event, he could have a WSOP Circuit ring and a WSOP Bracelet after playing only three live poker tournaments. And if that were to happen, you can bet that there would be a new generation of players inspired by watching videos of Isaac Kempton on YouTube.


Final Table Results:

1st:  Isaac Kempton  –  $290,974 + WSOP Circuit Ring
2nd:  David Jackson  –  $179,833
3rd:  Paul Balzano  –  $135,794
4th:  Rob Manjura  –  $103,434
5th:  James Calderaro  –  $79,480
6th:  Ioannis Patsourakis  –  $61,616
7th:  Francisco Gomez  –  $48,195
8th:  Brad Sailor  –  $38,039
9th:  Fares Santana  –  $30,297
10th:  John Ott  –  $24,353

Main Event: Isaac Kempton Wins ($290,974); David Jackson Finishes as Runner-Up ($179,833)

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 36:  200,000/400,000 with a 400,000 ante
Players Remaining:  1 of 1,162

Final Hand Between David Jackson and Isaac Kempton
In the final hand of the WSOP Circuit Main Event, David Jackson (left) shoves the river against Isaac Kempton.

After a flop of 10s8h3d, Isaac Kempton checked, David Jackson bet 650,000, and Kempton called.

The turn card was the 4d, Kempton checked, Jackson bet 2,500,000, and Kempton called.

The river card was the As, Kempton checked, Jackson moved all in for 8,900,000, and Kempton asked for an exact count and went into the tank.

Eventually, Kempton quietly put out a single white chip (1,000,000) to indicate a call, and Jackson reluctantly showed his Js9h for a missed straight draw — jack high.

Kempton turned over Qs8c to win the pot — and the WSOP Circuit Main Event — with a pair of eights.

David Jackson finished as the runner-up, earning $179,833.

Isaac Kempton won $290,974, a WSOP Circuit Championship ring, and a seat into the WSOP Global Casino Championship.

Stay tuned for a recap from this final table.

1st:  Isaac Kempton  –  $290,974 + WSOP Circuit Ring
2nd:  David Jackson  –  $179,833
3rd:  Paul Balzano  –  $135,794
4th:  Rob Manjura  –  $103,434
5th:  James Calderaro  –  $79,480
6th:  Ioannis Patsourakis  –  $61,616
7th:  Francisco Gomez  –  $48,195
8th:  Brad Sailor  –  $38,039
9th:  Fares Santana  –  $30,297
10th:  John Ott  –  $24,353

Final Hand of the WSOP Circuit Main Event, with J-9 bluffing against Q-8 on a board of 10-8-3-4-A.

Main Event: Paul Balzano – 3rd Place ($135,794)

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 35:  150,000/300,000 with a 300,000 ante
Players Remaining:  2 of 1,162

Paul Balzano
Paul Balzano

The next hand after Rob Manjura was eliminated in fourth place, Paul Balzano moved all in from the button for 5,700,000, and Isaac Kempton called from the big blind with Ah9d.

Balzano turned over Jh10h, and needed to improve to stay alive.

The board came Ac8h7c3d5s — Kempton paired his ace on the flop to Balzano’s gutshot straight draw, but Balzano improved no further. Kempton won the pot with his pair of aces to eliminate Balzano in third place.

Paul Balzano  –  Eliminated in 3rd Place  ($135,794)

There are less than 15 minutes left in the level, and the final two players ask to take their break now instead. Here are the official chip counts before heads-up play begins:

Isaac Kempton  –  24,350,000  (81 bb)
David Jackson  –  10,525,000  (35 bb)

And here is the final table prizepool:

1st:  $290,974 + WSOP Circuit Ring
2nd:  $179,833

3rd:  Paul Balzano  –  $135,794
4th:  Rob Manjura  –  $103,434
5th:  James Calderaro  –  $79,480
6th:  Ioannis Patsourakis  –  $61,616
7th:  Francisco Gomez  –  $48,195
8th:  Brad Sailor  –  $38,039
9th:  Fares Santana  –  $30,297
10th:  John Ott  –  $24,353

Main Event: Rob Manjura – 4th Place ($103,434)

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 35:  150,000/300,000 with a 300,000 ante
Players Remaining:  3 of 1,162

Rob Manjura
Rob Manjura

Rob Manjura got it all in from UTG/cutoff for 1,500 with 9d9c, and he needed his hand to hold to stay alive against the AcKs of David Jackson in the big blind.

The board came 8c3s2h3c6d, and the pocket nines held up for Manjura to win the pot and double up in chips.

Rob Manjura  –  3,450,000  (12 bb)
David Jackson  –  10,750,000  (36 bb)

Rob Manjura moved all in again from UTG/cutoff for 3,450,000, Isaac Kempton called from the button, and Paul Balzano called from the small blind. David Jackson asked for a good look at Kempton’s stack before he folded in the big blind.

The flop came Kd10h5s, Balzano checked, Kempton moved all in, and Balzano folded.

Manjura showed AsKh for a pair of kings, but Kempton turned over AhAc for a pair of aces. Manjura was drawing very thin, and he needed to improve to stay alive.

The turn card was the Ad, the river card was the 7c, and Kempton won the pot with a set of aces to eliminate Manjura in fourth place.

After the hand, Balzano looked at Kempton and said, “You asked for aces, and you got them.”

Kempton said, “I waited a long time for them.”

Isaac Kempton  –  16,250,000  (54 bb)
Paul Balzano  –  5,700,000  (19 bb)
Rob Manjura  –  Eliminated in 4th Place  ($103,434)

With three players remaining, the average chip stack is about 11,620,000 (39 big blinds), and the next player to bust will earn $135,794.

Main Event: David Jackson Doubles Thru Paul Balzano; Isaac Kempton Doubles Thru Paul Balzano

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 35:  150,000/300,000 with a 300,000 ante
Players Remaining:  4 of 1,162

David Jackson
David Jackson

Paul Balzano raised from the button to 600,000, David Jackson moved all in from the small blind for 7,750,000, and chipleader Balzano called with Kh9s. Jackson turned over 8h8d, and needed his hand to hold to stay alive.

The board came 10h6h3cJd7d, and the pocket eights held up for Jackson to win the pot and double up in chips.

David Jackson  –  16,100,000  (54 bb)
Paul Balzano  –  9,500,000  (32 bb)

Isaac Kempton
Isaac Kempton

The next hand, Isaac Kempton got it all in from the big blind for 5,025,000 with 6s6d, and he needed his hand to hold to stay alive against the Ac9d of Paul Balzano, who was UTG/cutoff.

The board came Ks7s5c10sJc, and the pocket sixes held up for Kempton to win the pot and double up in chips.

Isaac Kempton  –  10,500,000  (35 bb)
Paul Balzano  –  4,500,000  (15 bb)

With four players remaining, the average chip stack is about 8,725,000 (29 big blinds), and the next player to bust will earn $103,434.

Main Event: James Calderaro – 5th Place ($79,480)

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 34:  125,000/250,000 with a 250,000 ante
Players Remaining:  4 of 1,162

James Calderaro
James Calderaro

David Jackson raised under the gun to 600,000, James Calderaro moved all in from the big blind for about 2.55 million, and Jackson called with As7d.

Calderaro turned over Kc7c, and he was dominated and facing elimination.

The board came 8c8d3d6h2c, and Jackson won the pot with his ace to eliminate Calderaro in fifth place.

David Jackson  –  13,200,000  (53 bb)
James Calderaro  –  Eliminated in 5th Place  ($79,480)

With four players remaining, the average chip stack is about 8,725,000 (35 big blinds), and the next player to bust will earn $103,434.

Main Event: David Jackson Knocks James Calderaro Down to 4bb; Calderaro Bounces Back to 14bb

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 34:  125,000/250,000 with a 250,000 ante
Players Remaining:  5 of 1,162

David Jackson
Gloria Jackson (standing) sweats her husband David Jackson at the final table.

With the board showing Jd4d3c and about 3.9 million already in the pot, David Jackson got it all in from the big blind for 4,400,000 with JsJc for a set of jacks.

Jackson needed his hand to hold to stay alive against the Ad2d (flush draw, gutshot straight draw) of James Calderaro on the button.

The turn card paired the board with the 4s, the river card was the Ks, and Jackson turned a full house to win the pot and double up in chips.

David Jackson  –  12,700,000  (51 bb)
James Calderaro  –  950,000  (4 bb)

Two hands later, James Calderaro moved all in under the gun for 950,000, and Isaac Kempton called from the big blind with Jc2d. Calderaro turned over 9s9d, and needed his hand to hold to stay alive.

The board came Kd4d3hKc7d, and the pocket nines held up for Calderaro to win the pot and double up in chips.

James Calderaro  –  2,275,000  (9 bb)
Isaac Kempton  –  4,925,000  (20 bb)

A few minutes later, James Calderaro got it all in from the button for 1,525,000 with Qc8c, and he needed his hand to hold to stay alive against the 9c5c of David Jackson in the big blind.

The board came 7s3c2d4hQd — Jackson turned an open-ended straight draw, but Calderaro won the pot with a rivered pair of queens to double up in chips.

James Calderaro  –  3,425,000  (14 bb)
David Jackson  –  11,000,000  (44 bb)

With five players remaining, the average chip stack is about 6,975,000 (35 big blinds), and the next player to bust will earn $79,480.

Main Event: Paul Balzano Leads the Final Five at the Break with 11.25 Million

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 34:  125,000/250,000 with a 250,000 ante
Players Remaining:  5 of 1,162

Paul Balzano
Chipleader Paul Balzano

The final five players return from break to begin Level 34, with increased blinds of 125,000-250,000 and a 250,000 ante. The average chip stack is about 6,975,000 (28 big blinds).

Here are the official chip counts from the break:

Seat 1.  David Jackson  –  5,050,000  (20 bb)
Seat 2.  Rob Manjura  –  5,000,000  (20 bb)
Seat 3.  Isaac Kempton  –  7,025,000  (28 bb)
Seat 4.  James Calderaro  –  6,550,000  (26 bb)
Seat 5.  Paul Balzano  –  11,250,000  (45 bb)

Main Event: Ioannis Patsourakis – 6th Place ($61,616)

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 33:  100,000/200,000 with a 200,000 ante
Players Remaining:  5 of 1,162

Ioannis Patsourakis

Ioannis Patsourakis moved all in under the gun for 2,510,000, and Rob Manjura called all in from the hijack for 1,875,000 with Ad10c. Patsourakis turned over AcKc, and Manjura was dominated and facing elimination.

But the board came Qd5d3dKd3s, and Manjura turned an ace-high flush to win the pot and double up in chips.

Rob Manjura  –  4,250,000  (21 bb)
Ioannis Patsourakis  –  635,000  (3 bb)

The next hand, Rob Manjura moved all in under the gun for 4.25 million, and Ioannis Patsourakis called all in from the big blind for 435,000 with 8h5d. Manjura turned over KsQs, and Patsourakis needed to improve to stay alive.

The board came Js5s2d10h7s — Patsourakis paired his five on the flop, but Manjura rivered a spade flush to win the pot and eliminate Patsourakis in sixth place.

Rob Manjura  –  4,985,000  (25 bb)
Ioannis Patsourakis  –  Eliminated in 6th Place  ($61,616)

With five players remaining, the average chip stack is about 6,975,000 (35 big blinds), and the next player to bust will earn $79,480.

Main Event: Francisco Gomez – 7th Place ($48,195)

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 33:  100,000/200,000 with a 200,000 ante
Players Remaining:  6 of 1,162

Francisco Gomez
Francisco Gomez

Francisco Gomez got it all in from the hijack for about 2.5 million with AsKh, and he needed to improve to stay alive against the 5s5h of chipleader Paul Balzano, who was under the gun.

The board came Ah7h5d3c7s — Gomez flopped a pair of aces, but Balzano flopped a set of fives. The set held up for Balzano to win the pot and eliminate Gomez in seventh place.

(It had been nearly four hours since the last elimination, though there was a one-hour dinner break in there.)

Paul Balzano  –  12,900,000  (65 bb)
Francisco Gomez  –  Eliminated in 7th Place  ($48,195)

With six players remaining, the average chip stack is about 5,810,000 (29 big blinds), and the next player to bust will earn $61,616.