Alex Foxen looked like he was going to run away with the title in the first-ever PokerGO Cup event. He came into the final day as the chip leader and knocked out the fourth and third-place finishers to take more than a 35:1 chip lead into heads-up play. But in just the first 17 minutes of the final showdown, Sean Perry mounted a furious comeback to overcome that gigantic chip disadvantage and move into the lead. Foxen, who had more than $18 million in career tournament cashes before this final table started, was somehow able to maintain his composure despite seeing his seemingly insurmountable lead vanish in an instant. Foxen retook the lead and then managed to close out the victory, earning $178,200 for his 12th career title.
“Just trying to take every hand one at a time is really the only way to go through it or otherwise you’ll be on an emotional roller coaster,” Foxen told PokerGo reporters when asked about his heads-up battle with Perry. “It’s just trying to solve every hand individually and assess everything at the completion of each hand and move on from there. This was a crazy one, with a lot of action and a lot of big pots. It was fun.”
This was Foxen’s first title and his 11th final-table finish of the year. He earned 360 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win, moving into 15th place on the 2021 POY race leaderboard sponsored by Global Poker. Foxen has accrued 2,218 points and $812,257 in year-to-date POY earnings.
Foxen also scored 178 PokerGO Tour points for his victory in this tournament. With 780 total points, he now occupies the 9th-place spot on the PokerGO Tour leaderboard. Perry earned 132 points for his runner-up finish, bringing his point total in this race to 1,553. As a result, he now sits just 344 points behind leader Ali Imsirovic.
Event no. 1 at the inaugural PokerGO Cup was a $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’ tournament. A turnout of 66 entries built a prize pool of $660,000 that was paid out among the top 10 finishers. Daniel Negreanu was eliminated on the money bubble late on day 1 of the tournament, with recent U.S. Poker Open champion David Peters (10th – $19,800), Sam Soverel (9th – $26,400), Steve Zolotow (8th – $26,400), and Vanessa Kade (7th – $33,000) all busting before the action was halted for the night.
Foxen was the only player to bag more than 2 million in chips heading into the final day. Kristina Holst was the short stack to start the day, and her run came to an end when Perry’s pocket fours flopped a set against her pocket jacks in an all-in confrontation. Holst took home $39,600 for her third final table finish of 2021.
World Poker Tour main event winner Jordan Cristos was the next to fall. He ran KQ into the AK of David Coleman and was unable to come from behing. Cristos, who had taken a pot-limit Omaha event at the U.S. Poker Open earlier this summer, settled for $52,800 as the fifth-place finisher.
Coleman and Foxen were the largest stacks during four-handed play, with the other two players having less than 20 big blinds between them. The two leaders ended up clashing in a massive pot that dramatically shifted the balance of power. Foxen picked up pocket kings and min-raised from the button. Coleman three-bet shoved with pocket eights and received a snap call from Foxen. The board was of no help to Coleman and he went from the chip leader to the shortest stack in an instant. Coleman battled for a while but ultimately hit the rail in fourth place ($66,000) when his AQ couldn’t hold up against the 76 of Foxen, who flopped a pair and held from there.
Just moments later, Spanish poker pro Sergi Reixach got all-in with Q-7 and found himself dominated by the K-Q of Foxen. Neither player improved and Reixach was eliminated in third place ($85,800), setting the stage for the wild ride that Foxen and Perry were about to go on.
Perry began with 225,000 to the 8,025,000 of Foxen. Perry got all-in the very next hand with K-8 against 4-2 for Foxen, who flopped a deuce to take the lead. Perry rivered a king to double up and then won another all-in to climb above a million in chips just a few minutes after heads-up play had begun. Perry then earned a double up when he shoved the river for value on a 874Q8 board with Q10 and Foxen made a hero call with 104.
Perry’s comeback effort culminated in him taking the lead when he made a correct hero call with Q3 on a Q106KJ board. Foxen had been bluffing with 74. Foxen was able to erase all of Perry’s progress in one big hand. Foxen raised from the button with the KJ and Perry defended his big blind with Q6. The flop came down Q82 and Perry check-raised Foxen’s 175,000 continuation bet to 600,000. Foxen called and the J hit the turn. Perry checked and Foxen bet 450,000. Perry called and the K completed the board, giving Foxen kings up to overtake the advantage in the hand from Perry’s pair of queens. Perry checked and Foxen moved all-in. Perry went deep into the tank before making the call to see Foxen take a 7:1 lead.
In the final hand Perry called all-in with 108 on a 843Q board for his last 4.5 big blinds. Foxen had shoved with 99. The river was the K and Perry was knocked out in second place ($132,000). The 300 Card Player Player of the Year points he earned for his run in this event kept Perry in fifth place in the 2021 POY race, with three titles, 12 final-table finishes, and $2,206,378 in POY-qualified earnings for the year.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points points awarded at the final table:
Winner photo provided by PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.