Ali Imsirovic won his 14th title of the year on Tuesday, defeating a field of 102 entries to take down the 2021 Rock’N’Roll Poker Open $25,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em high roller event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
The 26-year-old earned $695,355 for the win, while also extending his record for most Card Player Player of the Year qualified live tournament victories in a calendar year. Prior to Imsirovic’s incredible run this year, the record for the most titles was held by Justin Bonomo, who came out on top in ten events back in 2018. Imsirovic broke the record back on Sept. 26 when he emerged victorious in a $50,000 buy-in high roller at ARIA for his 11th title of 2021.
Imsirovic only had to wait three days for his next win on the live circuit.
With this latest victory, Imsirovic has not only extended his record of titles won in a year, but also put himself on track to break the record for POY-qualified final tables made in a year as well. He now sits with 30, just one short of the record 31 set by 2018 POY award winner Jake Schindler. If he were able to maintain his pace so far this year, he would set the record with 32.
In addition to the money and the title, Imsirovic also added 840 POY points for the win. He now sits with 8,058 total points, which gives him a lead of 2,978 points over second-ranked Qing Liu. To put that in perspective, the amount of points representing the gap between Imsirovic and the nearest competition is just slightly more than the total points accrued by the current 29th-ranked player, Jeremy Ausmus, who has won two bracelet events and made 10 final tables so far this year.
The victory also saw Imsirovic extend his lead in the inaugural PokerGO Tour points race. The 417 points he scored for the win helped extend his lead over second-ranked Michael Addamo on that leaderboard.
Imsirovic has cashed for $5,909,155 across his 30 final-table finishes this year. This latest win was his largest score of the year so far, and the third-largest of his career.
Imsirovic came into the final table of this event as the chip leader, with bracelet winner Martin Zamani in second chip position. Zamani busted fellow bracelet winner Gal Yifrach (9th – $70,540) to take the lead, but Imsirovic quickly responded by eliminating Adam Hendrix in eighth place ($73,065) thanks to a preflop race with A-Q outrunning pocket jacks.
Anthony Hu’s run in this event came to an end when he got all-in with pocket sevens and found himself up against the pocket kings of Imsirovic. The bigger pair held up and Hu was sent to the rail with $85,660. Imsirovic continued to play the reaper, busting short-stacked bracelet winner Stephen Song in sixth place ($103,295) with pocket sevens holding against the A-2 offsuit.
Defending champion of this event Bryn Kenney entered the final table as one of the shorter stacks, but had battled his way up the leaderboard as the day continued. He took two sizable pots off of Zamani, including winning a pot of more than 200 big blinds with trip jacks. Zamani was left on fumes after the hand, and got all-in soon after with AJ facing the K9 of Kenney. The board gave Kenney a nine-high straight on the river to eliminate Zamani in fifth place ($141,085).
Kenney was picking up steam, but Imsirovic was able to score another knockout to keep within reach of the lead. His J-9 suited ended up making two pair to beat the K-7 offsuit of Vikenty Shegal, who earned $216,670 for his strong showing in this event.
Less than ten minutes later Kenney sent a short-stacked Anton Wigg home in third place ($314,925) to take more than a 2:1 lead into heads-up play. The two battled it out for nearly three hours. Imsirovic was able to overtake the lead early on thanks to his pocket queens holding in the preflop all-in confrontation against the pocket eights of Kenney. Imsirovic was able to extend his lead to the point that Kenney was left with just five big blinds, only to have Kenney win five consecutive all-ins to get himself back in contention.
By the time the final hand was dealt, Imsirovic had once again built a sizable chip advantage. All of the chips went in preflop with Kenney holding K2 up against the K6 of Imsirovic. The board came down Q10675 and Imsirovic made a pair of sixes to lock up the pot and the title.
Kenney earned $503,880 as the runner-up finisher, increasing his career live tournament earnings to more than $57.1 million.
Here is a look at payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points||PokerGO|