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Poker pro cools off, wins $604K in Wynn Millions

A few minutes into what ended up being a prolonged heads-up match, Michael Rossitto lost a sizable pot and the chip lead when his pocket aces were cracked.

Luckily for Rossitto, the $3,500 buy-in Wynn Millions No-limit Hold’em Main Event headed to a 15-minute break soon after that allowed him to regroup.

“I don’t really play heads-up very much,” Rossitto said. “I got some advice from some better players, and I adjusted my strategy. I played well.”

Rossitto controlled play after the first break and outlasted Andrew Esposito after nearly 2½ hours of heads-up play Saturday night at the Wynn poker room.

With the victory, Rossitto, a professional poker player from New York who now resides in Las Vegas, earned $604,637 after the final two players negotiated a deal. It was the largest career cash for Rossitto, who entered the tournament with more than $2.15 million in live tournament earnings, according to the Hendon Mob Poker Database.

“I came into this year kind of on a little downswing,” Rossitto said. “I just started making more runs here and there, close calls. Finally, I won some flips, won some all-ins, and it all came together.”

Rossitto held the chip lead after Day 2ab of the tournament, which had 1,314 entrants, and entered the final table in sixth place out of the nine remaining players.

However, it was Esposito who was aggressive early and held the chip lead for much of the final table. That changed during three-handed play when Esposito found himself with the short stack before doubling up through Mark Zajdner in an aces-versus-kings clash.

Rossitto went on to eliminate Zajdner in third place and started heads-up play with almost a 2-to-1 chip advantage. But Esposito found a quick double-up when he flopped two pair against Rossitto’s aces and appeared to be in control.

After the break, Rossitto recovered and quickly evened the match when he won a key pot with a straight. A few hands later, he wrested away the chip lead and never gave it back.

“I kind of just went with my own reads, and I think it went well,” Rossitto said.

The two traded pots for the next two hours before Esposito was eventually eliminated. On the final hand, Rossitto shoved all-in after the river. When Esposito said he didn’t believe his opponent and called, Rossitto showed the nut straight.

Esposito a rising star on the Texas poker scene, added to his impressive run of recent tournament results and took home $480,752 for his largest career payday.

“I just kept playing my game and whittled him down,” Rossitto said. “There were no big hands really. We just had to play a lot of postflop.”

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

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