It is official. After three days of intense play and one magical season, red-hot Mukul Pahuja finally secured the Season XII World Poker Tour Player of the Year award. He didn’t need to win the tournament, in fact, he didn’t even need to finish in the money. He was eliminated in the early stages of Day 2, leaving an open door for Shaun Suller.
Suller was the only player who could have caught him but he needed to win the WPT World Championship in order to dethrone the leader. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t happen. Suller was eliminated a while later by Dan Wach; he was short-stacked and had to make a move to survive so he went all-in with #qc#js. Wach accepted the challenge with pocket tens and the #7d#7c#2h#kh#5s board made it official.
Pahuja cashed five times this season and played three final tables, winning more than $1.4 million, according to the WPT Blog. Only Matt Salsberg had more cashes (6) in a single season than Pahuja in the history of the tour. Salsberg also held the record for most POY points earned in a season until Pahuja came along. The newly-appointed POY crushed his competition and earned a total of 3,450 points on the leaderboard with almost 1,000 points more than the previous record.
Congratulations to Mukul Pahuja on his impressive performance and his magical season:
— Mukul Pahuja (@MukulPahuja) April 23, 2014
But Pahuja’s POY trophy wasn’t the only story of Day 2. The other big story involved the player who stopped the American just one week ago from celebrating early, WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown winner Eric Afriat.
He finished the day with a big chip lead and a 250-big blind stack. To reach that number, Afriat had to eliminate 2010 PCA winner Harrison Gimbel, who decided to gamble with all his chips. He had a 45% chance to win the big pot with his #7s#6s hand on the #ks#10s#6h flop against Afriat’s #ac#as. The #8d turn and the #jh river brought doom for Gimbel and more chips for the current WPT Champions Club member.
Afriat also won another big pot later in the day three-barreling a #7c#4c#4d#3d#10c board and showing to his opponent, Loni Harwood, the best hand of trip fours.
Other notable players surviving Day 2 are two-time WSOP bracelet winner Athanasios Polychronopoulos, Season IX WPT Champion Scott Seiver, WPT World Championship Day 1B chip leader Jason Koon, WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown fifth-place finisher Matt Stout, WPT Raw Deal TV Star Tony Dunst, and the “Poker Brat” Phil Hellmuth.
Hellmuth will enter Day 3 with over 13 big blinds and will need some good fortune to get things going. He finished the day by doubling up through 2014 WSOPC West Palm Beach winner Maurice Hawkins. The Poker Brat also eliminated Borgata Poker Open 2013 Main Event winner Anthony Zinno earlier by catching a lucky ten in a #qc#10s vs. #ks#qs showdown.
Also, Chris Moorman, Marvin Rettenmaier, Matt Salsberg, Jonathan Little, Scotty Nguyen, Vanessa Rousso, Paul Volpe, James Carroll, Greg Merson, and Jared Jaffee followed Zinno to the rail during Day 2.
The action will resume today at 12 PM ET and as always, PokerUpdate will provide you with the latest stories from the Borgata Casino.