Florida Poker Player Finishes Third At 2022 WSOP Main Event

Written By Steve Schult on July 18, 2022 - Last Updated on July 20, 2022
Florida poker pro Michael Duek finishes third in World Series of Poker main event

A Florida poker player was one of three people to survive to the final day of the 2022 World Series of Poker main event.

Last Saturday, Fort Lauderdale resident Michael Duek finished third in the $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold ’em event. Prior to the 2022 WSOP, the 23-year-old poker pro was a relative unknown. But his third-place finish for $4 million capped off a spectacular summer that likely put his name on the map.

Pre-WSOP success in Florida

Despite his age and relative lack of results, there are clues indicating that Duek already has high-stakes experience.

Firstly, Florida poker rooms allow anyone over the age of 18 to play. This is three years before Duek could compete in most other markets, one of those being Las Vegas.

Prior to this year, the Buenos Aires native had four recorded cashes to his name, all at the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. One of those was a sixth-place finish for $34,929 in 2019. That’s quite the bankroll for what was then a 20-year-old aspiring pro.

Those four cashes came in events with buy-ins of $360, $1,100 and $2,200. Those are typically small and mid-stakes buy-ins as opposed to the high-stakes events in Las Vegas.

But how many 19 and 20-year-olds have the bankroll to play those events? Without legal online poker available in the state, my guess is not many.

Additionally, it’s important to look at his massive jump in stakes this year. The first event he cashed at the WSOP was the $25,000 pot-limit Omaha high roller event.

The only logical way for Duek to make the jump from small and mid-stakes tournaments to high-stakes events in Las Vegas is to have either a backer or a large bankroll. Both require him to be beating high-stakes cash games in the Sunshine State.

Even if he found someone to front his buy-ins for him, nobody would want to put him in a $25,000 buy-in event without a sustained track record of success.

Duek’s 2022 WSOP success

Before this year, Duek had never cashed in a WSOP event. Given his age and the recent COVID-19-related restrictions of the last two years, he hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to play them.

In 2020, when Duek turned 21, the traditional version of the WSOP was canceled in response to the virus. Instead, it was played online and featured a hybrid main event that was played online outside of the final table.

Last year, there was a vaccine mandate in place to play events. And people were less willing to congregate in large groups than they are today.

Duek cashed in a handful of events before really turning up the heat in July. He finished third in the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha championship for $548,015. The final table wrapped up on July 5 and he hopped into the final starting flight of the main event the next day.

The two scores were worth $4.548 million, which make up most of his career tournament earnings. Here’s a look at all his results for the 2022 WSOP:

Start DateBuy-InEventFinishCash
June 9, 2022 $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller31st$44,253
June 21, 2022$1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha 35th$7,810
June 25, 2022$5,000Mixed No-Limit Hold'em/Pot-Limit Omaha82nd$8,761
July 2, 2022$10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship 3rd$548,015
July 3, 2022$10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event3rd$4,000,000

Duek’s finish is among Florida’s best in the WSOP main event

There hasn’t been a single main event champion from Florida. But several have made it close. Duek’s performance on Saturday at Bally’s Las Vegas was one of the best main event performances in Florida poker history.

It also catapulted him to 18th on Florida’s all-time money list with $4.65 million in earnings. Sean Winter sits atop that list with $21.6 million. Poker legend Jason Mercier is the only other Florida native with more than $20 million in earnings.

Here are the top finishes by a Florida poker player in the WSOP main event:

NameYear FinishPayout
John Racener20102nd$5,545,955
Tony Miles 20182nd$5,000,000
Michael Duek 20223rd$4,000,000
Michael Mizrachi 20105th$2,232,992
Zhen Cai 20196th$1,850,000
John Dolan 20106th$1,772,959
Bob Bounahra20117th$1,314,097
Leif Force200611th$1,154,527
Dewey Tomko 20012nd$1,098,925
Jason Lester20034th$440,000

Duek’s swingy path to Day 9

Duek did a good job making it through the first day before really separating himself from the pack on Day 2. He started the day with 61,500 in chips and finished it with 509,000, which was good for 24th of the 1,757 survivors.

He chipped up steadily on Day 3 and 4 before hitting a downturn on Day 5. Duek came into Day 6 103rd in chips of 123 but rallied to finish ninth out of the final 35 players. Heading into Day 8, he was seventh of the final 10 with 49,775,000.

At the final table, he stayed in the middle of the pack for the early portions of it. But hit a speed bump when he doubled up British pro John Eames. He trended downward after that and at one point was the short stack with nine players left.

Later on, his luck changed. He scored a double through Matija Dobric and went on to eliminate Aaron Duczak in seventh and won a big pot against eventual runner-up Adrian Attenborough to briefly move into the chip lead with six left.

Espen Jorstad, the eventual winner of the event, scored the final few knockouts to take the chip lead into Day 9. Of the final three players who returned on Saturday, Duek was the shortest stack. After just a few hands into the final day, Attenborough eliminated him.

2022 WSOP Main Event Final Table Results

1st: Espen Jorstad – $10,000,000
2nd: Adrian Attenborough – $6,000,000
3rd: Michael Duek – $4,000,000
4th: John Eames – $3,000,000
5th: Matija Dobric – $2,250,000
6th: Jeffrey Farnes – $1,750,000
7th: Aaron Duczak – $1,350,000
8th: Philippe Souki – $1,075,000
9th: Matthew Su – $875,000
10th: Asher Conniff – $675,000

Photo by AP / John Locher
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Written by
Steve Schult

As Managing Editor of PlayFL, Steve will stay on top of all things related to the Florida gaming industry. He is also a veteran of the gambling world. The native New Yorker started covering high-stakes tournaments in 2009 for some of poker's most prominent media outlets before adding the broader U.S. gaming market to his beat in 2018.

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