Ali Imsirovic, a newcomer to the high-stakes tournament scene, is a Poker Masters champion. The Washington native picked up his biggest score ever ($462,000) for winning Event #5, $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em. And he did so by defeating a brutal final table.
Imsirovic only began playing high stakes tournaments in the past year. Prior to that, his Hendon Mob record shows results for tournaments mostly in the $200 to $1,500 that have totaled $1.14 million.
His career earnings are now above $1.6 million after winning a high-stakes event against a difficult field. He beat a final table that included some of the best players in the world such as Daniel Negreanu and Brian Rast.
Imsirovic began the final table of six players on Wednesday in third position. Jake Schindler and Ben Yu, two pros with $28 million in lifetime earnings combined, started with the biggest stacks.
A half-hour into the session, after Negreanu had already been eliminated in sixth place ($99,000), he flopped top two-pair and busted Jason Koon in fifth place ($132,000), who was holding top pair.
The 1.5 million chip pot moved Imsirovic into the chip lead at over 2.5 million. But it didn’t hold for long. Rast and Yu began stacking chips while Ali lost nearly half his stack over the next hour.
Moments later, Schindler shoved his remaining 440,000 in from the small blind with 8-6 and got snap-called by Imsirovic in the big blind with A-9. The best hand held up and the eventual champion won a crucial flip.
Schindler was out in fourth place, taking home $165,000 for his second cash of the series.
Early on in three-handed play, Imsirovic won the largest pot of the tournament up to that point. Against Rast who was holding A-5, he went all-in with pocket jacks and won a 4.5 million chip pot to become the chip leader again.
That lead wasn’t squandered this time around. He sent the short-stacked Rast to the rails in third place ($214,500). Shortly after, he won a race against Yu (second place for $330,000) to polish off the biggest win of his poker career.
“I’m really surprised it came this fast,” Ali Imsirovic told Maria Ho on PokerGo about his early success in high-stakes poker. “I’m super fortunate and just want to take one second to dedicate this win to my dad. Growing up, we played all these strategy games and he taught me poker, so I’m very happy with how I played, so this one’s for him.”
Poker Masters Purple Jacket Standings
With their top two finishes, Yu and Imsirovic move into a third-place tie in the chase for the 2018 Poker Masters Purple Jacket. At 360 points, both are now within striking distance of Isaac Haxton (480) and Brandon Adams (510).
Adams began the series on a heater, final tabling the first three events. That includes a title in Event #2, $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em, for $400,000. But he’s cooled off since then, and will likely need a deep run in the $100,000 series finale, which begins Thursday, to hold off the competition.
Keith Lehr and David Peters, both 2018 Poker Masters champions, are within striking distance at 300 points.
Last year’s purple jacket winner Steffen Sontheimer has been a no-show this week. He’s busy competing in and streaming the PokerStars WCOOP online series.