James Mackey Captures Second WPT Choctaw Main Event Title

The final table of the 2024 World Poker Tour Choctaw $3,800 no-limit hold’em main event was brimming with high-profile players, all vying for a major victory. The final six reconvened at the HyperX Arena in the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, more than three weeks after Vladyslav Shovkovyi was eliminated in seventh place at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma. After a grueling seven hours, James Mackey triumphed, securing the top prize of $361,600 and his second WPT title.

Remarkably, this was Mackey’s second victory in this very tournament. His first WPT win occurred in the 2016 edition, where he outlasted a field of 1,066 entries to claim $681,758. Mackey, a poker professional from Kansas City, now boasts nearly $5 million in lifetime earnings. His largest live score remains the $730,740 he won in a $5,000 buy-in event at the 2007 World Series of Poker.

“It feels so good, it’s hard to describe how good it feels, honestly,” Mackey shared with WPT reporters after his win. “In poker, you lose and lose and lose, so getting that win… it’s special.”

Mackey was one of three players at the televised final table who already had a WPT title. He entered with the chip lead, while three-time WPT champion Eric Afriat was in the middle of the pack, and two-time WPT champion Erick Lindgren was at the bottom.

Lindgren, the winner of the 2003 Ultimate Poker Classic and 2004 PartyPoker Million II, was the first to be eliminated. He moved all-in with A-9 suited against Sebastien Aube’s K-J, but the board brought two kings, giving Aube trips and the knockout. Lindgren finished sixth, earning $75,000 and increasing his career earnings to nearly $10.3 million.

Next to go was Danny Marx. He went all-in with 10-7 suited against Aube’s K-7. Although Marx flopped a ten, a king on the river sent him home with a career-best payday of $99,000 for fifth place.

Aube then slid to the bottom of the chip counts during short-handed play. He eventually went all-in with A-Q against Afriat’s 8-7 suited. Despite leading after a jack-high flop, Afriat turned and rivered two pair, eliminating Aube. Aube, a bracelet winner from Montreal, cashed for $131,000.

When three-handed play began, Mackey held a significant lead. His preflop aggression paid off, as evidenced in a key hand where he shoved from the button and Adam Hendrix called from the big blind with Q♥9♥. Mackey revealed A♣5♥. The A♠6♣5♠Q♠ runout gave Mackey aces up, knocking out Hendrix. Hendrix earned $175,000, pushing his career earnings to over $6.6 million.

Heads-up play started with Mackey holding a roughly 5:1 lead over Afriat. Despite multiple double-ups for Afriat, who was aiming for his record-tying fourth WPT title, Mackey extended his advantage. In the final hand, Afriat moved all-in with K♠J♦, and Mackey called with K♥5♦. The board ran out 9♠5♠5♥J♣6♦, giving Mackey trip fives and the title. Afriat was awarded $235,000 as the runner-up, increasing his lifetime earnings to over $5.6 million.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

PlacePlayerEarningsPOY Points
1James Mackey$361,6001260
2Eric Afriat$235,0001050
3Adam Hendrix$175,000840
4Sebastein Aube$131,000630
5Danny Marx$99,000525

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