Sunday, May 26, 2024

Michael Liang Wins 2024 Lodge Championship Series Main Event

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The 2024 Lodge Championship Series $2,000,000 guaranteed $3,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event is in the books, with Michael Liang capturing the title and the top prize of $428,000.

This was the third-largest score of Liang’s career, trailing only the $606,890 he earned as the runner-up in the 2021 World Poker Tour Venetian main event and the $515,014 he scored for a second-place showing in a $25,000 high roller at the 2021 World Series of Poker. He now has more than $3.1 million in career tournament earnings to his name.

In addition to the money and the hardware, Liang was also awarded 1,260 Card Player Player of the Year points for coming out on top in this event. With 1,500 total points, he now sits in 83rd place in the 2024 POY race standings presented by Global Poker.

This event drew 581 entries, resulting in a $416,775 overlay. The top 63 finishers made the money, with a min-cash worth $7,600. The final day began with 13 players still in contention, with Liang tied for third place in the chip counts and bracelet winner Nicholas Pupillo out in front.

Pupillo had pulled even further ahead of the rest of the pack by the time the final table was set. The first knockout saw WPT champion Ryan Van Sanford lose a preflop race against Eitan Sternlicht to finish ninth ($36,000). He then won another preflop all-in showdown, with his pocket nines turning a straight against the pocket queens of Ebony Kenney (8th – $47,000).

2023 Lodge Championship Series main event winner Preston Duron made an impressive run at defending his title, but ultimately bowed out in seventh place ($62,000) when his 6-4 suited was unable to best the 7-6 of Pupillo.

Andrew Ostapchenko then got all-in with Q-J facing Pupillo’s A-10. Neither player improved on a king-high runout and Ostapchenko was sent packing in sixth place ($82,000). With that, the final five all ensured themselves a six-figure payday.

Casey Diener’s final stand came with A10 facing A-Q suited for Liang, who was the second-shortest stack at the time. Liang flopped aces up and held from there to eliminate Diener in fifth place ($109,000).

Liang lost a big all-in during four-handed play that left him with just a few big blinds remaining. He managed a couple double-ups to get out of the danger zone, though. Justin Carey (4th – $145,000) was ultimately the next to fall, with his pocket sevens losing a rae against Pupillo’s A-K suited. Pupillo made aces and kings by the river to score the knockout, extending his already sizable lead.

Sternlicht called off the last of his stack with A-4 in a battle of the blinds against Liang, who had shoved from the small blind with pocket kings. The big pair held up and Sternlicht finished third for $197,000.

Heads-up play began with Pupillo holding 18,640,000 to Liang’s 10,380,000. Liang nearly pulled even after winning a healthy pot with the turned nut flush against Pupillo’s second-nut flush. Liang had overtaken the lead and built a sizable lead of his own in time for the final hand of the tournament. Liang raised to 1,000,000 from the button with ASpade Suit8Club Suit. Pupillo three-bet shoved for 7,350,000 with KDiamond Suit5Diamond Suit. Liang made the call and the board ran out 10Diamond Suit7Spade Suit2Club Suit9Club Suit8Spade Suit to earn him the pot and the title. Pupillo earned $277,200 as the runner-up, growing his lifetime total to more than $5.8 million.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Michael Liang $428,000 1260
2 Nicholas Pupillo $277,200 1050
3 Eitan Sternlicht $197,000 840
4 Justin Carey $145,000 630
5 Casey Diener $109,000 525
6 Andrew Ostapchenko $82,000 420
7 Preston Duron $62,000 315
8 Ebony Kenney $47,000 210
9 Ryan Van Sanford $36,000 105

Photo credit: Lodge Card Club / 8131 Media.




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