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Canadian poker pro wins WPT World Championship for $4.1M

As the stacks of hundred dollar bills were poured onto the table with two players remaining in the WPT World Championship, Eliot Hudon took one glance at the money and had to look away.

The professional poker player from Montreal wanted to avoid being distracted by the millions in cash sitting inches to his right.

“I didn’t want to think about it,” Hudon said. “Every time I had a thought that wasn’t positive, I would push it away and just keep being in the zone.”

After bossing the final table for the majority of play Tuesday at Wynn Las Vegas, Hudon kept his nerve and defeated highly-regarded British pro Benny Glaser in a brief heads-up match to secure the biggest cash of his short poker career.

Hudon earned $4.136 million, the largest prize awarded in the World Poker Tour’s 20-year history, to go with the Mike Sexton Champions Cup trophy.

The $10,400 buy-in No-limit Hold’em tournament featured a $15 million guaranteed prize pool, one of the largest in live poker history, and attracted 2,960 entrants.

“Part of me feels like I almost don’t deserve it because I’ve been playing for not that long,” Hudon said. “I’m not planning to do anything crazy with the money. I’m pretty minimalist in general. I like my life the way it is right now. All this does is allows me to play some more and bigger poker.”

Hudon, 25, grew up playing chess and video games before gravitating to poker 3½ years ago. Most of his success has come online, and his biggest career live cash was in the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event (63rd for $113,800).

Entering the final table, Hudon was second in chips to Glaser, a four-time WSOP tournament bracelet winner. But on the fourth hand, the tables turned as Glaser went all-in with ace-jack and Hudon held pocket kings to double up and take more than 50 percent of the chips in play.

“Winning that hand effectively won me the tournament, I would say,” Hudon said.

Hudon was responsible for three of the first four eliminations and held more than a 3-to-1 chip advantage over Glaser entering heads-up play, which lasted seven hands and a little more than 20 minutes.

On the final hand, Hudon called a check-raise from Glaser on the turn and then made a nine-high straight when the river card was revealed. Glaser continued with his bluff, sending all his chips in the middle, and Hudon quickly called.

Glaser, 33, earned $2.83 million for second place, the largest payout of his career. His previous top 14 cashes all came in events other than No-limit Hold’em.

“When he shoved I thought we would be chopping (the pot in half),” Hudon said. “But when I called and I saw his face, I knew it was over.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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