February 17th, 2020 (Tampa, FL) - Isaac Kempton just stepped into the spotlight at the World Series of Poker after taking down the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Circuit Main Event in his second ever live tournament. He battled through a field of 1,162 players and earned $290,974 in addition to his first Circuit ring and a seat into the 2020 Global Casino Championship.
The newly crowned winner got introduced to poker four years ago while watching youtube videos and quickly became passionate about the game.
“I probably got into poker four years ago right as I was heading off to college. I saw some youtube videos of the old high stakes poker days, and once you watch one, you start watching more, and then you get drawn into the rabbit hole, you just want to keep watching,” Kempton commented.
Just like many big names, Kempton first got started by playing play money games online and sit and goes in college before pursuing poker more seriously.
“I played for fun for two years, and since I was pretty good at it, I decided it taking it seriously, so I started actually studying and trying to get better instead of just playing on the weekends without much thought. I was able to grind my way up and now I’m here,” he explained.
Kempton was sitting atop the leaderboard during most of the tournament. He was the overall chip leader heading into Day 2, and he carried it over to Day 3. It wasn’t all smooth for him on the final day though as he encountered multiple bumps and got close to being eliminated multiple times. In fact, despite the big pay jumps, Kempton proved at multiple times that he wasn’t afraid to put his chips in the middle and that he was going for the title.
“It was intense each all-in, but honestly, I didn’t worry too much about it. My focus was more on getting as much chips as possible and not worry too much about the pay jumps. Obviously, it’s a consideration if I have a close spot, but the main focus was always just to win the tournament.”
Kempton defeated Circuit ring winner David Jackson as his last opponent to win it all.
Final Table Action:
Fares Santana was the first casualty of the final table. He three-bet jammed his last five big blinds with king-queen and Francisco Gomez reshoved with kings. The board was of no help to Santana and he was eliminated in ninth place.
Short stack Brad Sailor bowed out next when he shoved king-nine and got called by James Calderaro with ace-nine. Calderaro improved his hand to sixes full of aces ending Sailor's run in 8th place.
Play slowed down considerably after this and a few hours later, Francisco Gomez headed to the payout desk in seventh place. He shoved fourteen big blinds with ace-king into Balzano’s pocket fives and Balzano improved his hand to a full house to send him to the rail.
Soon after, Ioannis Patsourakis fell in sixth place when he moved all in with ace-king suited and got called by Robert Manjura-Boody’s ace-ten. Patsourakis was dominating, but the flop gave Manjura a flush draw and the turn was just what he needed for a flush to take down the pot and eliminate Patsourakis.
James Calderaro headed to the exit next. After a raise from David Jackson with ace-seven, Calderaro three-bet shoved ten big blinds with king-seven suited. Jackson stuck around with a call and his ace kicker played to bust Calderaro in fifth place.
Manjura-Boody lost his final crumbs when he ran his ace-king into Kempton’s aces and headed to the rail in fourth place.
Balzano was Kempton’s next victim. He shoved with jack-ten suited and got called by Kempton who held ace-nine. Kempton fopped a pair of aces and that was it for Balzano’s tournament life.
David Jackson was eliminated as the runner-up. He bluffed all in with jack-high and Kempton made the right call with third pair to win it all.
Final Table Results:
1st place: Isaac Kempton - 290,974
2nd place: David Jackson - $179,833
3rd place: Paul Balzano - $135,794
4th place: Robert Manjura-Boody - 103,434
5th place: James Calderaro - $79,480
6th place: Ioannis Patsourakis - $61,616
7th place: Francisco Gomez - $48,195
8th place: Brad Sailor - $38,039
9th place: Fares Santana - $30,297
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