Jason Acosta Become First Ever PokerStars Festival Main Event Champ

In August, PokerStars announced the restructuring of two of its live tournament events, with the PokerStars Championships scheduled to get underway in the Bahamas in January 2017, but its inaugural PokerStars Festival launched at the end of October in New Jersey.
The Garden State is home to PokerStars’ online operation in the US, with the brand having formed a strategic partnership with the Resorts Casino. The PokerStars Festival subsequently featured fifty events spread over an eight-day period, and culminating with its $1,100 buy-in Main Event. By the end of day 3, Jason Acosta then managed to triumph over a field of 208 players to become the first ever PokerStars Festival champion.
Jason Acosta collected $38,220 for his famous win, representing his biggest ever score, whilst tripling his live career earnings. Furthermore, the player only qualified for the event via an online satellite on PokerStarsNJ, and commenting on his victory stated:
“I usually don’t get to play live tournaments too much. Obviously, when you can get into an $1,100 event for a couple of StarsCoin, it’s going to make it worth the trip. I don’t know if I would normally drive down here to play an $1,100 event that would take me from Tuesday to Friday. But, since it’s basically a freeroll, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
The PokerStars Festival proved a popular affair, with many pros entering the series’ inaugural main event in Atlantic City. Amongst those subsequently booking a money spot was Darren Elias in 23rd ($2,331), Jackduyph Duong in 22nd, Randy Lew in 20th, David Vamplew in 16th, Chris Dombrowski in 11th ($3,562), and Matt Affleck in 5th ($11,193).
Jason Acosta eventually progressed all the way through to heads-up play where he faced a huge 7-1 chip deficit against his remaining opponent, Michael Gagliano. Soon after, though, Acosta managed to redress the balance and eventually the deciding hand was played with Gagliano (6-6) and Acosta (A-K) all-in preflop. The dealer then laid out a J-Q-9-J-9 board to hand him the win, and later commenting on his tough final opponent, Acosta stated:
“It’s gonna be tough to outplay somebody like that. He’s not gonna make any mistakes, so I pretty much had to wait for spots were I had better hands than him.”
Final Table Results:
1: Jason Acosta – $38,220
2: Michael Gagliano – $28,116
3: Eli Kim – $20,683
4: David Johnston – $15,215
5: Matt Affleck – $11,193
6: Sridhar Sangannagari – $8,234
7: Rocco Dicondina – $6,057
8: Peter Smyth – $4,455

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