Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau is one of the most popular poker content creators in the game, with nearly 200,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. In the past few years, Yau has been steadily adding big wins to his tournament resume. In the early morning hours of Dec. 13, Yau secured the largest win of his career by topping a field of 108 entries in the 2022 World Poker Tour World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas $25,000 high roller event. He was awarded $894,240 for the victory, by far the biggest score of his career.
Before this win, his largest payday had been the $230,379 he earned as the winner of a Mid-States Poker Tour main event at Venetian. His other top scores include a $197,600 win in a $10,000 buy-in high roller at this year’s Poker Masters and his $164,494 victory in the 2020 World Series of Poker Online $500 buy-in no-limit hold’em event. Yau now has more than $1.9 million in recorded earnings to his name.
In addition to the money and a trophy, Yau was also awarded 840 Card Player Player of the Year points for this high-stakes victory. He now sits just outside the top 200 in the overall standings, with three titles, four final tables, and $1,161,925 in POY earnings accrued this year.
While Yau ultimately came away with the title, he at one point was convinced that he would be knocked out on the bubble of this event.
I’m gonna bubble this 25K and it’s going to suck, preparing for it now. 12 left, 11 pay. I’m last in chips
— Rampage (@rampagepoker) December 13, 2022
He managed to survive and rebuild his stack to enter eight-handed play in second chip position following the elimination of two-time bracelet winner Justin Salibi (9th – $81,000).
Justin Zaki’s run concluded when his A-3 was unable to come from behind against the A-7 of Aram Oganyan. Zaki took home $92,880 as the eighth-place finisher. Tobias Schwecht’s (7th – $109,890) pocket queens couldn’t hold against the A-J of WPT champion and two-time bracelet winner Taylor Paur, who spiked an ace on the flop and held from there to narrow the field to six.
Aram Oganyan lost a race with K-Q facing the pocket tens of Elijah Berg to finish sixth ($133,920). Four-time bracelet winner Ben Yu got the last of his very short stack in preflop with Q-8 and was called in two spots. Paur bet out Kevin Rabichow on the turn and revealed two pair, which had Yu drawing to a chop to keep his hopes alive. The river was of no help, though, and he was sent to the rail in fifth place ($168,750). He now has just shy of $9 million in career earnings after this result.
Eli Berg, who won the Wynn Winter Classic main event for $626,499 last year, lost a big all-in with A-Q against the 9-8 suited of Yau, which made a flush on the turn after all the chips went in preflop. Berg then lost a preflop race with A-10 suited against the pocket sevens of Rabichow to finish fourth ($226,260).
Yau doubled through Rabichow with A-4 besting A-9 to swap positions on the leaderboard. Yau then worked his way into the lead in time for the next big hand. Paur limped in from the small blind with A9 and Yau shoved from the big blind with J8. The flop brought two clubs to give Paur the higher flush draw, but a jack on the turn gave Yau the lead with a pair. The river was an eight, giving Yau jacks up for the win. Paur was eliminated in third place, earning $328,320 for his strong showing in this event.
With that, Yau took roughly a 3:1 lead into heads-up play with Rabichow, who was a semi-finalist in this year’s $25,000 heads-up championship at the World Series of Poker. The pair battled for roughly half an hour before the final hand of the event was dealt. With Yau’s lead reduced to roughly 2:1, Rabichow limped in for 300,000 on the button with QJ and Yau moved all-in with KJ. Rabichow called and the board came down 982A4 to see Yau dodge a backdoor flush draw to secure the pot and the title. Rabichow earned $518,940 as the runner-up, the second-largest score of his career.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photo credit: Wynn Poker Room Twitter account.