Once the 464-entry Moneymaker’s Road to PSPC – Seminole Main Event had reached the final table, it was obvious which one among the players left had the most specific vision of himself eventually playing in a PokerStars Players Championship — a trip to do so next year in Barcelona in the form of a Platinum Pass being a big bonus to the winner.
That would be the 35-year-old poker pro Scott Baumstein. Not only could the New Yorker imagine himself playing in the PSPC, he could see himself at the final table, too. Why? Because he’s been there already!
And now Baumstein is going back to the PSPC, having earned the title here today following a final-table deal.
Baumstein’s triumph here bookends a fantastic 2019 for him, as back in January he earned a career-high cash of $1,657,000 for taking fourth place in the first PokerStars Players Championship in the Bahamas. It also harkens back to his previous best cash right here at the Seminole Hard Rock in a WPT event last year for $220K just a short drive away from Ft. Lauderdale where he currently lives.
In other words, it’s a comfortable “home” stop for Baumstein, and for him this weekend went about as smoothly as a tournament can go.
“It was just one of those tournaments where it was easy for me the whole way,” said Baumstein after all was said and done. “I had piles — I think I was the Day 1 chip leader. I had a couple of small setbacks, but I was always able to keep going.”
“We were really shallow at the final table, so it was very gambly with a couple of quick bustouts,” he continued. “Things just went my way today.”
As soon as the 2020 PSPC in Barcelona was announced, Baumstein knew he’d be returning. “I’m a huge fan of the PSPC, obviously, having done well in it earlier this year. I was going to go anyway, but this makes it a little better!”
You’ve been reading our coverage the last three days of how the 464 entries played down to nine. Let’s finish things off with how they got from nine to four to the deal that ended it with Baumstein’s big win.
Baumstein led to start the final table, although it wasn’t that much earlier in the day that Mark Cannon had been enjoying the lead. But as the final table began Cannon become short-stacked, and soon he was dealt ace-eight suited and knew it was time to put his chips in the middle.
A lifetime of poker playing had taught him that, as he told us he’s played the game for 50 years, starting out as a “little kid for pennies.”
Cannon’s shove came over a Zoltan Czinkota early-position limp, and the latter called with ace-jack. Cannon flopped a flush draw but couldn’t get there, and soon he was wishing others well. “Everybody good luck,” he grinned. “Get as deep as you can.”
It was around then that Chris Moneymaker, having busted in 32nd, returned with last year’s champ Andy Risquez to rail a bit and give Wanlop Phonphornwithoon a little good-natured grief for having been the one to bust him.
“I’m rooting for him because he has all my chips, but I’m also rooting for him to bust because I hate him,” Moneymaker grinned.
The Venezuelan Daniel Socorro was the next to fall in eighth after a hard-luck final hand versus Baumstein. The 30-year-old lists watching Chris Moneymaker on ESPN as a primary inspiration for getting into poker. In addition to poker, Socorro likes soccer, tennis, and traveling, and in fact this is his first time playing poker in the United States.
The table had folded to Baumstein who pushed his big stack in from the small blind, and Socorro called off for his last nine big blinds or so with king-jack. The hand was good versus Baumstein’s queen-four through the turn, but a four on the river sent Socorro railward. Still, quite a nice showing for his American debut!
Within minutes two more players were out, the first being Edgardo Rosario of Puerto Rico in seventh. It was another battle of the blinds with Rosario shoving from the small and Matt Suarez calling from the big.
It was also a battle between the two youngest players at the final table, as both are just 21.
They had similar hands, too — ace-trey for Rosario and ace-deuce for Suarez — and seemed destined to chop. But a 4-2-2 flop put Suarez in front and after being unable to complete his wheel draw, Rosario was done.
Two minutes later Jorge Gomez jammed his last eight-and-a-half bigs from the button with jack-trey off, but Czinkota had ace-ten in the small blind and was more than willing to compete. The 48-year-old Gomez managed to pick up a straight draw on the turn but couldn’t do better than that, and they were down to five.
The torrid pace settled thereafter, and the remaining five battled for more than an hour before Fred White finally put his short stack at risk from the small blind preflop with a pair of treys. After Baumstein called from the big blind, White saw he’d need to fade ace-ten suited.
The oldest of the final table competitors at 79, White lists racquetball as a favorite hobby besides playing cards. Alas his small pair wasn’t agile enough to outrun the overcards as a ten came on the turn, and after wishing all well the amiable White left to collect fifth-place prize money.
The final four played onward. Czintoka had been the short stack when the final table began, but the 55-year-old who lists magic as a hobby had conjured up enough positive momentum to move into the chip lead as four-handed began.
Baumstein was able to wrestle the lead back, however, and soon after that point the final four decided to talk about a possible deal.
At that point Baumstein had 3.53 million, Czinkota 2.75 million, Suarez 1.725 million, and Phonphornwithoon 1.38 million. The ICM-based chop numbers were produced and it didn’t take too long before the handshakes began and the card-playing ended.
“It was a great tournament — a nice price point, got people here with the extra $30K added,” said a smiling Baumstein afterward. “It was a great way to start and end my year!”
Hear more from the champ following his victory:
Congratulations to Baumstein for the win and the other three making it to the four-handed deal. Thanks for following our coverage, and hope to see you back on Moneymaker’s Road soon.
Until then, good night from the Seminole Hard Rock!
Moneymaker’s Road to PSPC – Seminole $360 Main Event
Dates: December 13-15, 2019
Prize pool: $139,200
1 – Scott Baumstein, USA, $22,311* + Platinum Pass
2 – Zoltan Czinkota, USA, $20,398*
3 – Mathew Suarez, USA, $17,216*
4 – Wanlop Phonphornwithoon, USA, $15,945*
5 – Fred White, USA, $7,935
6 – Jorge Gomez, USA, $6,610
7 – Edgardo Rosario, Puerto Rico, $5,290
8 – Daniel Socorro, Venezuela, $4,035
9 – Mark Cannon, USA, $2,785