Dapo Ajayi made Viet Vo a bridesmaid once again at WPT Choctaw. (WPT photo)

In 2018, Viet Vo made his way through 753 other entrants in the World Poker Tour Choctaw event only to finish second to eventual champ Brady Holiman. On Tuesday, Vo was back at the same final table with the chip lead and just five other players standing between himself and some personal redemption.

Dapo Ajayi had other plans. While Vo had the chip lead when play began, Ajayi rose from the middle of the pack and was the dominant force three-handed and wound up adding his name to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup to avenge a runner-up performance of his own.

Michael Perrone arrived at the final table with 22 big blinds but made it to just the third hand of the day. With blinds at 50,000/100,000 (100,00 BBA), Albert Calderon raised to 250,000 from the hijack. Ajayi called from the small blind before Perrone moved all in from the big blind for his last 2,125,000. Calderon moved all in over the top and Ajavi folded. Perrone showed AhJc but was given bad news when Calderon tabled AcQc. The board ran out As7d2d3c6h to give both players top pair with Calderon out-pipping Perrone to eliminate him in sixth place.

During the two hours that followed Perrone’s elimination, Will Nguyen saw his stack dwindle to less than nine big blinds before he opted to take a stand. From UTG, Nguyen shoved his 1,255,000 stack into the middle with Ad3c and Hunter Cichy called from the big blind with 9c9h. The As9s7h flop gave Nguyen to pair but Cichy made middle set. The 2h turn left Nguyen drawing dead and he was eliminated in fifth as the 3d completed the board.

Despite building his stack with that pot, Cichy only stuck around another 30 minutes. Calderon raised to 400,000 from the cutoff with Ah9s. Cichy moved all in for 4,450,000 with 7d7s. Calderon considered his options and called. The 8c3d3s flop was a safe one for Cichy and the 4c was harmless. The Ad river however gave Calderon the winning hand and eliminated Cichy in fourth place.

A massive limped pot not only led to the next elimination, but it swung the momentum swiftly in Ajayi’s favor. Calderon called from the small blind and Ajayi checked his option. The flop came AhAs8h and Calderon bet 200,000 and then called when Ajayi raised to 650,000. Calderon then checked the Js turn and Ajayi bet 2,300,000. Calderon shoved for 12,825,000. Ajayi, who finished runner-up to Geoff Hum at the 2019 WPT Montreal Main Event, took a moment and eventually called to put Calderon at risk. Calderon showed Qh5h while Ajayi showed Ac2s. The 5d failed to fill Calderon’s flush draw and he was eliminated in third place.

Thanks to that pot, Ajayi started heads up play against Vo with a nearly 3-1 chip lead. An hour into the final battle, Vo took the lead from Ajayi only to see it disappear 15 minutes later. From that point, Ajayi continuously applied pressure and eventually had Vo down to less than six big blinds before the final hand. Vo moved all in with Qs3s and Ajayi looked down at KcKd and called. Vo was left in terrible shape and the Td5h2h flop made things even more dire. Ajayi improved to top set on the Kh turn. Vo was left drawing dead as the Qd fell on the river and Ajayi claimed the title and $558,610.

WPT Choctaw Final Table Payouts

  1. Dapo Ajayi – $558,610
  2. Viet Vo – $372,415
  3. Albert Calderon – $275,085
  4. Hunter Cichy – $205,330
  5. Will Nguyen – $154,885
  6. Michael Perrone – $118,090