Arizona Poker Player Takes Runner-up for $6.5 million at World Series of Poker Main Event

Arizona Poker Player Takes Runner-up for $6.5 million at World Series of Poker Main Event
Fact Checked by Blake Weishaar

An Arizona player came up just short of winning the World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event on Tuesday. Steven Jones ultimately finished runner-up after 10 days of action at the Horseshoe Las Vegas and took home $6.5 million.

The event drew a record 10,043 entries and $93.4 million prize pool with Georgia’s Daniel Weinman finding the win for $12.1 million along with the championship gold bracelet. Jones is a real estate broker and was one of the few part-time players remaining in the field.

Despite not winning the top prize, Jones was positive about the experience in coming so close to the pinnacle of the game.

“Right now I’m a little upset, but I think tomorrow I’m going to be very happy and very grateful,” he told PokerGO afterward. “Obviously you’re got to get pretty lucky to get here too.”

A Massive Run at the WSOP

Originally from Flint, Michigan, Jones now lives in Scottsdale and holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Arizona State University. The 35-year-old began playing poker at a young age after his mother taught him the game. That progressed to home games with friends as a teenager.

Reaching runner-up in the biggest event in the history of the WSOP is no easy accomplishment. Players battled for up to 12 hours a day for 10 days. Coming into the final table, Jones had only $245,000 in live tournament winnings. His previous top cash came in the 2018 WSOP Colossus, a ninth-place score for $57,425. He now adds a massive highlight to his poker resumé.

When play reached the final nine players, Jones stood second in chips to Adam Walton. While he may not be a pro, he looked in control at the final table – betting aggressively at times with a strong chip stack. Jones also eliminated two of the final nine players before moving on to the final three on Monday as chip leader.

Jacks Outkicked for the Championship

Three-handed play saw some interesting developments including Walton getting all his chips in with pocket eights to Weinman’s pocket Aces. That left Weinman holding about 75% of the chips left in play and a distinct advantage over Jones.

The Arizona poker player found a few pots early but couldn’t mount too much of a charge to level the chip stacks. In the final hand, with blinds at 1.25 million and 2.5 million, Jones put in a raise to 7 million with Jc8d. That brought a call from Weinman with KcJd.

The flop produced Js5s3d and Weinman checked. Jones bet 6 million and his opponent then raised to 18.5 million. Jones called and the 4c was then dealt on the turn. Weinman put out a bet of 38 million, which brought considerable contemplation from Jones. 

After about four minutes, Jones moved all in for the last of his 146 million chips. That received a quick call and Jones faced a tough reality. He needed an eight on the river but instead got the Ah. Despite the result, Jones was pleased with how he played throughout the tournament and was complimentary of his opponent.

“It wasn’t the way I wanted it to turn out, but it was pretty tough to fold there,” Jones said. “I was back and forth in my head so many times. It was such a tough decision. But kudos to him, he played a great game. I had a great time, it was fun.”



Sean Chaffin is a longtime freelance writer, editor, and former high school journalism teacher. He has covered the poker and gaming industry for many years. Follow him on Twitter at @PokerTraditions.

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