Joshua Adkins has won the 2019 World Poker Tour bestbet Bounty Scramble. The 26-year-old poker pro from Tallahassee outlasted a field of 349 total entries who came out to bestbet Jacksonville for the $5,000 buy-in main event. Admkins managed to win the very first WPT main event he ever entered, securing the title and the top prize of $331,480. Adkins focuses primarily on cash games as a professional player and had just $25,405 in prior tournament scores before coming out on top in this event.
“Playing my first WPT and to win it, I don’t have words,” Adkins told WPT reportes after emerging victorious. “This means a lot to me, obviously, not because of the money, but just for me. I’ve worked really hard at this game for the last seven years, and to just have this win and how tough this field was – it’s just incredible. It’s a funny story, I kind of called my shot in this. I have text messages of me saying, ‘I’m going to go win the $5K in Jax.’ And now it just happened. It’s indescribable.”
Adkins was awarded 960 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was his first POY-qualified score of the year, but it alone was enough to see him move inside the top 500 in the 2019 POY race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.
The final day of this event began with Adkins sitting in second chip position with six players remaining. The shortest stack belonged to Jeff Cunningham, who began the day with 17 big blinds. On the fourth hand of the day he got all-in with A8 and was called by the AJ of chip leader Josh Kay. Cunningham failed to come from behind and was sent to the rail in sixth place ($66,457).
Adkins won a big pot during five-handed play with pocket kings to surge into the lead. Start-of-day leader Josh Kay also picked up KK in a key spot, calling the all-in shove of Jonathan Cronin. Kay flopped top set and Cronin’s AK failed to catch up by the river. Cronin was awarded $87,170 as the fifth-place finisher.
Kay continued his knockout spree, calling the short-stack shove of small blind Jason Lee with Q2 from the big blind. Lee had the best of it with A9, but the KKJ25 runout gave Kay kings and deuces to earn the pot. Lee took home $115,691 for his deep run.
With that Kay took a strong chip lead into three-handed action. He, Adkins and Tan Nguyen battled it out for 106 more hands before the next elimination took place. Adkins managed to double through Kay twice to jump out into a massive lead. He first won a preflop all-in with A7 against Kay’s pocket queens, then managed to pick up AA just a few deals later. Kay attempted a three-bet all-in bluff on the flop against Adkins, but he quickly called with his overpair. The aces held up and Kay was left with less than a big blind. He managed a couple of double ups but was eliminated a few hands later. Kay cashed for $155,340 as the third-place finisher.
Heads-up play began with Adkins holding a small lead of just a few big blinds over Tan Nguyen, but Adkins was able to quickly extend to more than a 2:1 advantage. On just the eighth hand of heads-up play all of the chips got into the middle with Nguyen holding AK against the AQ of Adkins. The board ran out QJ229 and Adkins came from behind to secure the pot and the title. Nguyen earned $210,988 as the runner-up.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photo credit: Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive / WPT.