Two of the greatest performers in World Poker Tour history — Chino Rheem and Darren Elias — reached the finals of the $25 000 buy-in PokerGO Tour Heads-Up Showdown Saturday, with the former coming out victorious for $400 000.
The two finalists were joined by Isaac Kempton and Justin Young in the semifinals. Elias clipped Young and then Rheem took out Kempton to set up the fifth and final round. Both semifinalists received $100 000 as a consolation prize.
The win saw the 42-year-old poker pro increase his lifetime live tournament earnings to more than $12 million. He has accumulated five separate seven-figure scores in his career, including a nearly $1.8 million payday as the seventh-place finisher in the 2008 World Series of Poker main event. He also won the 2019 European Poker Tour PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event for more than $1.5 million.
“I’m feeling good,” Rheem told PGT reporters after coming out on top. “It’s a really good feeling. Honestly, it’s just a privilege and an honor to play in these events, especially given where I was at less than a year ago. I’m really grateful. It just feels good to be able to come and play and actually win.”
“It’s no secret in the poker world that I’ve had my ups and downs,” Rheem continued. “At one point in my life, I was in a really dark place. I’m just really, really grateful to have been shown the light and find god and the people that he’s put in my life to help me sustain a much more healthy, sober life. I owe it all to that, really.”