A total of 510 entries were made in the 2021 Winter Open $2,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event at bestbet Jacksonville, building a massive prize pool of $918,000 that was paid out among the top 64 finishers. The lion’s share of that money was ultimately awarded to Scott Stewart, who earned $177,817 as the champion. The five-time World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring winner from Lakewood, California now has more than $2.4 million in career tournament earnings to his name.
This was the third-largest cash of Stweart’s career, behind the $535,000 he earned as the 13th-place finisher in the 2017 WSOP main event and the $202,400 he took home for a 17th-place showing in the $25,000 PokerStars Players Championship.
In addition to the title and the money, Stewart was also awarded 840 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This was his second POY-qualified score of the new year, having finished sixth in a $1,100 buy-in event at the Lucky Hearts Poker Open for $21,350 and 280 points in January. With these two scores, Stewart now sits in fourth place in the overall 2021 POY race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.
This event featured two starting flights on Jan. 29 and 30. From the 510 entries, 78 players survived to day 2 on Sunday, Jan. 31. The money bubble burst early in the day, with plenty of big names cashing but failing to survive to the final table, including WSOP bracelet winner Justin Liberto (62nd – $3,213) and Byron Kaverman (57th – $3,213), Jacksonville resident David Jackson (52nd – $3,580), TK Miles (48th – $4,131), 2010 WSOP main event sixth-place finisher John Dolan (46th – $4,131), Justin Zaki (30th – $5,508), and bracelet winner and World Poker Tour champion James Calderaro (16th – $9,364).
Matt Mauldin held the chip lead when the final table began, with Ken Stacy in second and Stewart essentially tied for third place with Thad McNulty. Stewart earned the first knockout of the final table, picking up A-K against the K-J of Card Player’s National Sales Manager Barbara Rogers. Stewart ended up with aces full by the river to secure the pot and eliminate Rogers in eighth place ($22,491).
Matt Mauldin busted the next two players at the final table, sending Chuck Tabor (7th – $28,917) and Luan Nguyen (6th – $37,454) packing to add to his stack. Thad McNulty got the last of his short stack in with Q-4, only to run into the pocket sevens of Stewart. A flopped set gave Stewart a huge lead, which he maintained through the river to eliminate McNulty in fifth place ($49,113).
Stewart added to his stack during four-handed play, but Mauldin kept pace by eliminating Chris Perry in fourth place ($65,178) and Ken Stacy in third place ($87,394). Stewart took 7,490,000 into heads-up action against the 5,260,000 of Mauldin. He was able to extend that lead, building roughly a 5:1 chip advantage by the time the final hand arose. Mauldin shoved from the button for 1,920,000 with A8 and Stweart called with 99 in the big blind. The board ran out QQ75J and Stweart secured the final pot and the title. Mauldin took home $118,422 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photos via bestbet Jacksonville’s Twitter account.