Phil Ivey, Brad Owen, and World Poker Tour showed up and showed out for WPT’s first-ever trip to Mexico. But in the end, it was Mexico’s Ian Shaw who was the star, hoisting the trophy of WPT500 Mexico City and taking home the first-place prize of $88,690.
The inaugural event was a unique one for WPT. The tournament, dubbed “OnLive,” allowed players to qualify for Day 2 through a series of Day 1 flights via the WPT Global online client or show up in person at the Fronton Mexico casino for live Day 1 action. After all the Day 1 action was complete the advancing online and live players came together under the same roof for the first time to battle live for a piece of the $500,000 prize pool.
WPT looked to make a good impression for its first trip to Mexico City and they brought out some big names to do so. WPT ambassadors Phil Ivey and Brad Owen, the latter fresh off his fourth-place finish in the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, arrived for a meet-and-greet with fans as well as to play a little poker. Joining the pair as an emissary was longtime pro Angel Guillen, husband of WPT anchor Lynn Gilmartin, who was on hand in support of the WPT coming to his hometown.
In order to take home the WPT500 title Shaw bested Juan Jose Cepeda Dirzo in head-up play when, on the final hand, Shaw’s outpipped Dirzo’s to seal the victory.
“We’ve had a large and vibrant community for a long time,” Shaw said after his win. “We’ve never really had a big stop here, definitely not in Mexico City so there’s this hope that there’s going to be more WPTs here. A lot of players, kind of on the fence, supported it. I think there’s a big untapped market here.”
For his runner-up finish, Dirzo walked away with $59,000. Joining Shaw and Dirzo at the final table were Santiago Gonzales (3rd place, $44,000), Jonathan Miguel Aburto Solis (4th place, $33,000), Guillen (5th place, $25,000), and Cesar David Reynoso Arrendondo (6th place, $18,700).
At the same time as WPT500 was playing to a winner, the WPT Mystery Bounty side event was providing extra action for players on hand. Ivey, Owen, and Gilmartin were all in the mix hoping for a shot at the $75,000 top bounty. Owen and Gilmartin fell short of the money, but Ivey put on a bit of a show by making a deep run, ultimately finishing in fourth place adding $19,000 and $7,500 in bounties to his more than $38 million in career earnings.
The WPT Mystery Bounty did the job of injecting the arena with extra excitement on top of the main event. That was especially true for local sports commentator Jean Duverger, who captured a bounty and asked Guillen to help him pull a lucky envelope. Guillen, perfecting the sweat, pulled the top bounty of $75,000 for Duverger and the celebration began.
Luis Gonzalez ended up winning the WPT Mystery Bounty to take home the $62,100 first-place prize plus $47,500 in bounty money.