The 2022 WSOP Circuit Caribbean stop at the Casino Royale on Sint Maarten has crowned the first champion. Canada’s Fraddy Gonzalez overcame Aleftina Didier in heads-up to claim his first gold ring and biggest score of the career so far. Hailing from Quebec, most of Gonzalez’ live poker cashes were recorded at the Playground Casino in Montreal including two WSOP International Circuit cashes in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The third time was a charm as he came out on top of a 216-entry strong field to claim the biggest slice of the $43,200 prize pool. For his efforts, Gonzalez earned a payday of $10,500 while Didier had to settle for a consolation prize of $6,500. It would have been the first female victory in the opening event during the series on the friendly island.
Among the finalists were also three Americans including Sean Small, Benjamin Perez and WSOPC ring event winner Karthik Ramakrishnan with the latter finishing in seventh place for $1,500.
Final Table Result Event #1: $250 NLHE
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in USD)|
|3||Sean Small||United States||$4,700|
|4||Benjamin Perez||United States||$3,470|
|7||Karthik Ramakrishnan||United States||$1,500|
After a strong turnout of 216 total entries, the ring event was extended by one day in order to play down to a winner. Only 31 players returned to their seats and it didn’t take long for the money bubble to burst. Cedric Adam was among the casualties before the money and local resident Ramses Bislick became the bubble boy when a move with nine-trey went wrong, as he ran right into the pocket kings of Luca Sebastiani.
The Italian had won two WSOP Circuit rings during the previous edition of this very stop back in 2019 but was denied a third when he bowed out in 12th place. Among those cashing were also the WSOP bracelet and WSOPC ring winners Ethan “Rampage” Yau (25th place for $370) and Jean-Luc Adam (23rd place for $420).
Reaching the nine-handed final table turned out to be a tense affair after the elimination of Sebastiani, which then suddenly accelerated by the eliminations of Richard Figiel and Sebastien Montout in the span of a minute. Thibaut Martin and eventual winner Gonzalez entered the final table atop the leaderboard and the former drew the first blood when he knocked out Damien Granchi. Didier scored her first knockout when her ace-jack remained ahead of Nicolas Brochot’s king-queen.
Ramakrishnan also sent the chips over to Martin, who then also claimed the chips of Felix Sang when the latter ran a gutsy bluff with just four-high. Down to the final five players, Didier went on a rush to become the run-away chip leader after she doubled through Gonzalez and Martin. She also finished the job she had started by coming out on top against Martin once more before Perez and Small lost the fight with their short stacks.
However, Didier could not seal the victory in a short-lived heads-up battle when Gonzalez doubled with ace-six versus king-ten for most of the chips in play. It was all over a few hands later and just half an hour after the event had wrapped up, Gonzalez already jumped into the next WSOP Circuit ring event. With at least 160 entries, Event #2: $400 Bonus Stack once again convinced with very solid numbers and indicates a successful return for the WSOP Circuit to Sint Maarten.