Allen Kessler, Esther Taylor & Sean Banahan Among WPT Wynn Side Event Winners

While all eyes are currently on the $10,400 World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas, it’s important to remember that it is just one tournament in a long festival that runs December 1-20.

During that time there are more than $22 million in guaranteed prize pools being offered across 23 events. Among those to win side event titles were Ethan “Rampage” Yau ($25K High Roller for $894,240), Calen “Big Wheel” McNeil ($600 Limit Omaha 8/B for $21,305), Sergio Grosso ($1,100 Seniors NLH for $130,806), Lawrence Berg ($600 PLO Turbo for $46,307), and Christopher Puetz ($1,600 NLH Bounty Turbo for $79,576).

Here are some other big winners from the series thus far.

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Allen Kessler Wins Limit Omaha 8B Championship

Allen Kessler
Allen Kessler

From December 13-14, the $1,100 Limit Omaha 8B Championship took place. With 228 entrants, the $100K guarantee was more than doubled as a $221,160 prize pool was on offer to the top 23 finishers.

Among those to cash but fall short of the final table were Esther Taylor (10th – $4,578), Nathan Gamble (11th – $4,578), Calen McNeil (16th – $3,178), Ari Engel (18th – $2,864), and Barry Shulman (22nd – $2,596).

Much to the surprise of poker fans worldwide, Allen Kessler, who has finished runner-up in four WSOP gold bracelet events, closed it out by besting Clyde Gaskins in heads-up play. The victory was good for $52,104 and a bit of redemption for the “Chainsaw” as he claimed a desired trophy.

It’s been a bit of a heater for the “Chainsaw” as back in October, Kessler topped a monster field of 41 runners to win the 2022 Orleans Fall Poker Open $400 Eight-Game Mix for $3,210. Prior to his recent victories, Kessler hadn’t had a tournament victory since 2015 according to the Hendon Mob.

$1,100 Limit Omaha 8B Final Table Results

Place Player Hometown Prize
1 Allen Kessler Las Vegas, NV $52,104
2 Clyde Gaskins N/A $42,500
3 Seth Anirudh Las Vegas, NV $23,377
4 Steven Weiler Tarzana, CA $16,167
5 Patrick Murphy Nashville, TN $11,898
6 Frankie O’Dell Las Vegas, NV $9,191
7 Kenneth Donoghue New Hampshire $7,409
8 Kham Xaythavone West Valley, UT $6,192
9 Ly Le Las Vegas, NV $5,286

Massive Opening Event Ends in Heads-Up Deal

Sean Banahan
Sean Banahan

The series actually kicked off with a $600 buy-in, $500K GTD No-Limit Hold’em event from December 1-4. That tournament attracted a massive 2,999 runners and more than tripled the guarantee by generating a $1,559,480 prize pool.

Among those to make deep runs were Eric Baldwin (14th – $13,800), Elvis Toomas (24th – $8,455), Thomas Middleton (34th – $7,430), Jose Barbero (43rd – $6,575), Dan Shak (52nd – $5,860), Mitchell Halverson (63rd – $4,743), and Ryan Riess (69th – $4,743).

The tournament ended in a heads-up deal between Jesse Lonis, one of the hottest players in tournament poker, and Idaho’s Sean Banahan. As part of the deal, Lonis finished in second place for $122,184 while Banahan was deemed champion for $136,220 and the tophy.

$600 NLH Opening Event Final Table Results

Place Player Hometown Prize
1 Sean Banahan Twin Falls, ID $136,220*
2 Jesse Lonis Litke Falls, NY $122,184*
3 Richard Alati Phoenix, AZ $84,433
4 David Chavez Carson, CA $82,900
5 La Sengphet Plano, TX $61,222
6 Jatinder Singh Lowell, MA $30,307
7 Lunique Petiote Woodbine, GA $25,915
8 David Yokoyama Wailuku, HI $22,852
9 Thomas Zanot Phoenix, AZ $20,227

*Denotes heads-up deal.

Esther Taylor Bests Benny Glaser to Win 8-Game Mix

Esther Taylor
Esther Taylor

Back on December 8, the $3,000 8-Game Mix $200K GTD attracted 131 entries, which created a $360,250 prize pool. That was paid out to the top 15 players, and among those to cash but fall short of the final table were Leonard August (10th – $8,538), Toby Lewis (11th – $8,538), Eita Sakai (12th – $7,475), Ken Aldridge (13th – $7,475), Nick Milgrom (14th – $6,621), and AJ Kelsall (15th – $6,621).

The final table was filled with recognizable and accomplished poker players, but after Brian Hastings bowed out in third place for $41,069, the title came down to Esther Taylor and Benny Glaser.

Taylor wound up closing it out for a smooth $100,000, while Glaser took $73,496 for his runner-up finish. Glaser would go on to make a deep run in the WPT World Championship and actually began Day 4 as the chip leader.

$3,000 8-Game Mix Final Table Results

Place Player Hometown Prize
1 Esther Taylor Pennsylvania $100,000
2 Benny Glaser United Kingdom $73,496
3 Brian Hastings St. Johns, FL $41,069
4 Ryan Leng Las Vegas, NV $28,100
5 Jon Turner Las Vegas, NV $20,714
6 Aaron Kupa Florida $16,572
7 Ryan Hughes Arizona $13,690
8 Yuval Bronshtein Flordia $11,492
9 David Litt California $9,849

Ethan “Rampage” Yau Fades the Jinx and Wins WPT $25K High Roller

WPT Wynn Side Event Winners

WPT Wynn side event winners

*Date Tournament Entries Prize Pool Winner Hometown/Country Prize*        
12/5/22 $600 HORSE $50K GTD 261 $134,415 Rafael Concepcion Las Vegas, NV $23,377        
12/4/22 $600 NLH $50K GTD 310 $161,200 Constantinos Psalidas Canada $27,179        
Dec. 1-4, 2022 $600 NLH $500K GTD 2,999 $1,559,480 Sean Banahan Twin Falls, ID $136,220        
12/6/22 $600 Limit Omaha 8/B $50K GTD 269 $138,535 Calen McNeil Los Angeles, CA $21,305        
12/7/22 $600 5-Card PLO $50K GTD 297 $154,440 Eric Hayes Moorestown, NJ $30,423        
Dec. 5-7, 2022 $600 NLH $200K GTD 1,243 $646,360 Gerard Morrell Castle Rock, CO $101,415        
Dec. 7-8, 2022 $1,100 Seniors NLH $200K GTD 708 $690,300 Sergio Grosso Toronto, CA $130,806        
12/8/22 $3,000 8-Game Mix $200K GTD 131 $360,250 Esther Taylor Pennsylvania $100,000        
12/9/22 $600 PLO Turbo $50K GTD 407 $211,640 Lawrence Berg Las Vegas, NV $46,307        
Dec. 12-23, 2022 $1,100 HORSE Championship $100K GTD 272 $263,840 Tyler Willse Hillsboro, OR $63,967        
Dec. 13-14, 2022 $1,100 Limit Omaha 8B Championship $100K GTD 228 $221,160 Allen Kessler Las Vegas, NV $52,104        
12/14/22 $1,600 NLH $500 Bounty Turbo $100L GTD 368 $351,440 Christopher Puetz Austria $79,576        
Name Surname
Chad Holloway

Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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