The youth revolution continues on the World Poker Tour, as 23-year-old Internet marketing entrepreneur Gregory Brooks of Wyckoff, N.J., crushed a final table featuring a former online player of the year and two WPT champs.
Brooks outlasted an LAPT field of 681 players to win $1,654,120 of the $6.5 million prize pool.
Hosted at Commerce Casino in Commerce, Calif., the LAPC is widely considered among the toughest fields at any WPT event. This year was no exception with poker superstars such as Phil Ivey, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Hellmuth, Michael Mizrachi, Faraz Jaka, Daniel Negreanu, Maria Ho, and Jason Mercier taking a seat on the felt.
Brooks follows in the footsteps of 22-year-olds Randal Flowers (Festa al Lago) and Jeff Forrest (Foxwoods World Poker Finals), as young stars continue to make their mark on Season IX.
At one of the fastest, most aggressive and highly contentious final tables in WPT history, Brooks and Vivek Rajkumar made quick work of their opponents and started their heads-up battle on Hand 62 of the night. Play slowed considerably as former WPT Borgata Open winner Rajkumar, 24, tried to overcome Brooks’ more than 2-to-1 chip lead. In the end Brooks came out on top when his 8-7 beat Rajkumar’s J-10 and the board fell 7-3-2-2-A.
“My strategy throughout the entire tournament was really to play aggressively in spite of whether or not my chips allowed me to,” Brooks said. “But I was lucky enough to have a lot of chips and I was able to play a lot of hands. I was a little surprised. No one else seemed like they wanted to take the reins. So I decided that I would do so.”