HYBRID HEROICS: Argentina’s Damian Salas Conquers GGPoker Portion of WSOP Main Event

One down, one to go. Half of the online/live hybrid World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event final table wrapped up on Tuesday at GGPoker with Argentina’s Damian Salas coming out on top.

For his efforts, Salas takes home almost $1.6 million. Family was close to his heart as he played. Salas carried a photo of his wife and three children throughout the final table.

His daughter Sol also made him a bracelet, which he wore at the table. Friends and family followed the updates back home in Argentina, where he works as a lawyer.

“I was already a winner because I received all this energy,” he told WSOP.com. “I want to thank all my friends, my wife, and my children. I cannot say enough thank you for all the support I have received.”

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Salas locks up a trip to Las Vegas for a heads-up battle against the winner of the WSOP.com half of the Main Event. Those two will play for $1 million on Dec. 30 at the Rio. The championship bracelet will also be on the line in Vegas

Returning to the WSOP Main Event spotlight

A spot at the Main Event final table is nothing new for Salas. In 2017, he took seventh in the Main Event for $1.4 million. He’s now topped that with a shot to add another nice chunk to his total. 

While the WSOP.com half has reached the final table, play won’t resume at the Rio until Dec. 28. Salas entered the final table third in chips. Brazil’s Brunno Botteon came in as chip leader, followed by Portugal’s Manuel Ruivo.

Those were all still in contention when play was whittled down to three players. The final began with only eight players when China’s Peiyuan Sun declined to make the trip.

After Ruivo was sent to the rail, heads-up play commenced between Salas and Botteon. Salas began with 24 million in chips to Botteon’s 14 million.

Botteon scored two quick pots to bring the matchup close to even and then later took a small lead. However, Salas later won a nice pot with a straight to regain the lead and added more pots as well.

The final hand saw both players see a flop of K♣4♣2♥. After checking, the turn brought the 4♥. Botteon checked and Salas bet 1 million.

However, Botteon raised the action to 2.8 million and his opponent called. The river brought the 8♣ and Botteon moved all in for his last 6.65 million.

Salas thought quite a bit before making the call with K♦8♥ for top two pairs. Botteon tabled 7♥3♥ for an unsuccessful bluff. He took home almost $1.1 million as runner-up.

Here’s a look at the complete final table payouts.

GGPoker WSOP Main Event 2020 Results

PlaceWinnerCountryPayout
1st*Damian SalasArgentina$1,550,969
2ndBrunno BotteonBrazil$1,062,723
3rdManuel RuivoPortugal$728,177
4thRamon Miquel MunozSpain$498,947
5thMarco StredaSwitzerland$341,879
6thDominykas MikolaitisLithuania$234,255
7thStoyan ObreshkovBulgaria$160,512
8thHannes SpeiserAustria$109,982
9thPeiyuan SunChina$75,360
* Plays heads-up in Las Vegas Dec. 30 for $1 million.
 

A look at the GGPoker final table winner

The lawyer from Argentina showed plenty of patriotism at the final table. Salas showed off the flag of his home country throughout play.

The win comes as a bit of vindication after finishing seventh in the Main Event three years ago. He also finished runner-up twice this summer during the WSOP Online at GGPoker.

Those scores plus a sixth-place finish already totaled more than $1 million from that series. He now has a considerable addition to that.

Damian Salas celebrates after winning the GGPoker half of the WSOP $10,000 Main Event. (photos courtesy WSOP)

With the top two finishers both from South America, the performance exemplifies poker’s growth on the continent. That includes more winners in the online poker realm in recent years.

Salas has been a big part of that. Despite the success on the felt, he’ll continue working as an attorney – just one with quite a poker bankroll.

“I don’t want to spend all my energy playing poker,” he said afterward. “I like to take my time to also do other things and not just poker.”

With a big heads-up battle looming, however, some of those plans might have to wait until the new year.

What’s ahead now for the WSOP Main Event?

With the GGPoker half wrapped up, the Main Event focus now shifts to the US. American players battled it out online at WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey on Sunday and Monday.

Louisiana’s Joseph Hebert leads that final table with twice the chips of the player closest to him. Three-time bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva, of Texas, may be the biggest name remaining in the field.

De Silva has $3.1 million in live tournament winnings. However, he sits on a short stack in eighth and will need to get some traction early when play resumes.

Here’s a look at the final table in the WSOP.com half of the Main Event:

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WSOP Main-Event 2020 US Final Table

PositionNameChipsHometownResumé
1stJoseph Hebert13,052,534Metairie, Louisiana• $668,000 in live tournament winnings
• Biggest cash (2013) – 2nd in WSOPC New Orleans Main Event for $140,932
2ndShawn Stroke5,252,000Lawrence, New York• $68,175 in live tournament winnings
• Biggest cash (2013) – 2nd in $365 WSOP.com Online event for $94,265
3rdRyan Hagerty5,071,572Somerset, New Jersey• $341,128 in live tournament winnings
• WPTDeepstacks winner (2019) – $70,865
4thYe Yuan4,829,459Madison, Wisconsin• $6,774 in live tournament winnings
5thMichael Cannon4,408,847Harrisburg, Pennsylvania• $184,584 in live tournament winnings
• Took 9th in WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in 2019 for $ 72,842
6thGershon Distenfeld3,475,481Bergenfield, New Jersey• $10,375 in live tournament winnings
• 7th in a WPTDeepstacks event in 2019
7thRon Jenkins2,476,746Los Angeles, California• $388,819 in live tournament winnings
• Won $225 event at the Bicycle Casino in 2010 for $70,012
8thUpeshka De Silva2,151,969Katy, Texas• $3.1 million in live tournament winnings
• 3 WSOP bracelets
9thHarrison Dobin1,581,392West Long Beach, New Jersey• $101,125 in live tournament winnings
• 8 cashes in recent WSOP Online at GGPoker

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