The 2018 WPT DeepStacks Johannesburg R13,500 ($940 USD) no-limit hold’em main event attracted a total of 387 entries to the Emperors Palace Hotel Casino in South Africa, building a final prize pool of R4,649,800 ($323,787 USD). In the end, the lion’s share of that money was awarded to Maria Ho, who emerged victorious with the trophy and the top prize of R1,000,000 ($70,000 USD). This was the third live tournament title of the American poker pro’s career, and the score saw her career earnings grow to over $2.7 million.
In addition to the title and the money, Ho also earned 300 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was her fifth POY-qualified final table of the year, and with 974 total points earned she now sits in 385th place in the overall rankings.
Ho came into the final day of this tournament as the chip leader with 29 players remaining. She navigated her way to the final table, maintaining the lead along the way. From there she scored three knockouts on the way to getting heads-up against Riyad Khan for the title. The final two players began on a relatively even footing, and they traded the lead a bit before Ho won a key pot to earn a commanding advantage. With a flop of 5Club Suit3Heart Suit3Diamond Suit Ho check-called a bet of 700,000 and the turn brought the 6Heart Suit. Khan bet enough to nearly put Ho all-in, and eventually she opted to jam the last of her stack in. Khan had bet 3.1 million and Ho had shoved for 3.6 million, so Khan had to call off a half million. He did so with just A-7 for ace high with the threes on the board. Ho held the 8Diamond Suit5Heart Suit for fives and threes. The river was the QHeart Suit and Ho doubled up to surge to over 10 million in chips, leaving Khan with just under 1.5 million.
Not long after Ho moved all-in from the button with the KHeart Suit5Spade Suit and Khan called with the JClub Suit8Spade Suit. The board ran out QHeart Suit9Diamond Suit7Heart SuitQDiamond Suit5Club Suit and Ho made queens and fives to secure the pot and the title. Khan earned R712,000 ($49,840 USD) as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at this final table:
Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Maria Ho $70,000 300
2 Riyad Khan $49,840 250
3 Justin Uys $32,060 200
4 Joe Abreu $20,300 150
5 Rob Fenner $15,610 125
6 George Levine $12,950 100
7 Shadley Abrahams $10,850 75
8 Steven Radloff $8,890 50
9 Jarred Solomon $7,126 25
Winner photo via WPT’s Twitter account: @WPT