The three largest scores of Arthur Conan’s poker tournament career have all come in 2021. The French poker pro latest big victory in what has become his breakout year on the circuit saw him defeat a field of 161 entries to take down the World Series of Poker Online $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em heads-up championship. Conan was awarded $466,167 and his first WSOP gold bracelet for the win.
This was the 24-year-old’s second-largest career payday, behind only the $733,320 as the champion of the $50,000 buy-in high roller event held at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown series in April. He now has more than $2.1 million in career tournament earnings to his name.
Like all of the other players in the final four, Conan received a bye in the round of 256. He then overcame Shota Hirao, Ben Maya, Roman Hrabec, and Stuart Wallensteen to setup up a quarterfinal showdown with Miguel Capriles. Conan made a full house against the trip threes of Capriles in the final hand of that match to secure his spot in the semifinals.
Conan squared off against Adrian Mateos, the youngest player ever to win three WSOP bracelets. Mateos, who won the live version of this tournament in 2017, got off to a slow start. He then lost a sizable pot to the turned trips of Conan to fall to behind by more than a 5:1 chip deficit.
The final hand of that match saw both players hit a flush on a 873 flop. Mateos had defended his big blind with 102, but was up against the AQ for the nut flush. All of the chips got into the middle on the after the 4 turn and the A river, and Mateos was eliminated as a semi-finalist ($279,700).
On the other side of the bracket was Aleksejs Ponakovs. Ponakovs had beaten Blaz Zerjav, Dan Smith, Renan Bruschi, Yen-Liang Yao, and Aliaksei Boika to move into the final four. He then defeated Daniel Soltys ($155,389) to set up a final-round showdown with Conan.
Ponakovs jumped out to an early lead, making the top end of a straight against the bottom end for Conan. The roles reversed when Conan won a healthy pot with bottom pair. Conan took more than a 2:1 lead with a flopped top pair of aces winning a sizable pot against a multi-street bluff from Ponakovs. Conan remained ahead by the time the final hand was dealt. With blinds of 1,500/3,000, Ponakovs min-raised to 6,000 on the button holding the 55. Conan three-bet jammed with J9 and Ponakovs called off his stack of 69,194. The board ran out K9377 and Conan made nines and sevens to secure the pot and the title.
Ponakovs took home $279,700 as the runner-up finisher in this event. This was his second-largest recorded score, with the biggest being the $719,700 he earned as the fourth-place finisher in the 2020 WSOP Online $25,000 high roller event. The Latvian player now has more than $1.7 million in career earnings.
Here is a look at the payouts awarded to the top eight finishers:
Conan photo credit: PokerNews.