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Hundreds of thousands of Formula 1 fans gathered on the Las Vegas Strip on Saturday night for the long-anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix as three-time world champion Max Verstappen of Oracle Red Bull Racing picked up his 18th win of the season.
The race capped off an exciting and event-filled weekend in Las Vegas for racing and poker fans alike, all thanks to the PokerStars x Oracle Red Bull Racing partnership that has produced Red Spade Pass winners, life-changing experiences and epic charity event prizes.
Red Bull Dominates Las Vegas Grand Prix
The race kicked off at 10 p.m. time after a US national anthem performance by Las Vegas legend Donny Osmond and a music set by soul artist Anderson .Paak.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez had a rough start and needed front wing replacements less than ten minutes into the race. Not long after, McLaren’s Lando Norris hit a bump on Turn 11 and spun into an outside wall in a crash that sent him to the University Medical Center.
Perez would make a comeback and finished third behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in second and his teammate Verstappen, who secured another victory after overcoming a five-second penalty early in the race.
Seventeen-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth was among the poker personalities at Saturday night’s race as he hung out with Olympic legend and poker enthusiast Michael Phelps.
Brunch At Alexxa’s
With the race not getting underway until 10 p.m., PokerStars’ Red Spade Pass winners had plenty of time to kill before the marquee sporting event that earned them all a trip to Sin City. They did so by being treated to a full-course brunch at Alexxa’s inside Paris Las Vegas Hotel Casino.
As they were served mimosas, espresso margaritas and top-notch charcuterie boards, the Red Spade Pass winners mingled with Next Gen Poker’s Frankie Cucchiara and Jack before getting their main courses that included massive buttermilk pancakes and savory huevos rancheros.
The Red Spade Pass winners at the brunch included New Zealand’s Paul Hunn, who earlier in the weekend took down the PokerStars x Oracle Red Bull Racing VIP Invitational at Resorts World Las Vegas to win a race suit signed by Red Bull’s Perez.
After the hour-plus brunch, Hunn and other qualifiers took some time to explore the Las Vegas Strip casino and pose with an F1 Las Vegas sign.
Haverkamp Denies PokerNews Back-To-Back Charity Event Victories
Back over at Resorts World, there was yet another $200 buy-in PokerStars Charity event, which again featured two Red Bull VIP Suite tickets up top for the winner, as well as a signed PokerStars x Oracle Red Bull Racing Las Vegas Grand Prix Wheel reserved for the runner-up.
PokerStars commentators Joe Stapleton and James Hartigan were once again in the charity event action, as was Friday’s runner-up, Sergio Aido. The high-stakes pro’s girlfriend ended up making the final table alongside former and current PokerNews employees Jesse Fullen and Connor Richards (the author of this article).
Richards made it to heads-up play against the Netherlands’ Ronald Haverkamp to come within inches of back-to-back PokerNews victories after Social Media Manager Brad Whitehouse shipped Friday’s Charity event to win two VIP passes.
However, it was the Dutchman who came out on top after Richards open-jammed with seven-five suited before getting called by the ace-six of Haverkamp. A seven on the flop gave Richards the lead, but it was short-lived as a rivered ace brought Haverkamp the victory for $1,440 to earn the VIP passes and PokerStars Spade — which he took with him as he watched the race from the Red Bull suite.
*Photos courtesy of Danny Maxwell via PokerStars