Poker News Roundup: Tony Ruberto, Mike Takayama, Wendy Freedman

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This week’s poker news hones in on a number of winners from this past week. We’ll start off in Maryland where Tony Ruberto has now earned more than a million in winnings during his poker career thanks to his latest victory. 

Ruberto Wins Second World Poker Tour Championship In Maryland

The jump from a one-time champion to a two-time champion on the World Poker Tour is significant, and Tony Ruberto has made it with his championship victory at the WPT Maryland event. Ruberto picked up a handsome prize of $344,755, topping the field of 554 entrants. His other WPT win came at the Jacksonville stop in 2011. 

Ruberto’s win added to his impressive 2018 poker season, which has now exceeded $1 million in earnings. He collected over $781,000 at the partypoker Millions North America Main Event with a third-place finish. When you add that win to his others, he’s now crossed the million-dollar mark for his career.  

At the WPT Maryland event, Ruberto defeated Shankar Pillai to finally seal the deal. The final confrontation lasted through 179 hands of heads-up poker before Ruberto prevailed. Pillai walked away with $220,780. Rounding out the top five were Jeremy Ausmus, who was third and won $162,597, Will Givens, who was fourth and won $121,112, and Aaron Pinson, who was fifth and won $91,230. The tournament paid out the top 70 finishers.  

Mike Takayama Becomes First Filipino To Win Asia Player Of The Year 

Mike Takayama has become the first Filipino to win the Asia Player of the Year Award after he was named the 2018 winner. Not only was he recognized for the award, he also collected a nice $20,000 prize that goes with it. Takayama, a former billiards pro, said he plans to invest in a billiards-themed café.  

He had a number of successes this calendar year but the biggest might be the 2018 World Series of Poker Event #59: $1,000 NLH Super Turbo Bounty. He collected $198,568 along with a coveted gold bracelet. In doing so, he became the first-ever player from the Philippines to win a WSOP bracelet. 

Takayama has won just over $936,000 in poker tournaments since 2010. He is third on the all-time Philippines money list.  

Freedman Wins Black Hawk Main Event

The Heartland Poker Tour’s Black Hawk Main Event in Colorado has mostly been dominated by men but that wasn’t the case this past week. For just the second time ever, a female won the event when Wendy Freedman outlasted the field. Freedman won the largest prize of her career by taking the Black Hawk title and winning $167,696. With the win, she topped the $1-million career earnings mark.  

Mark Morris was the runner-up to Freedman at the final table. He won $102,514. Paul Richardson was third and won just over $67,000. Alex Greenblatt was fourth and took home just over $47,000. Corey Zedo was fifth and won slightly more than $35,000.  

While we’ve rarely seen a female win this event, it’s not surprising to see Freedman have success. She’s had plenty of it in her career with a couple of Circuit rings and a pair of WSOP final tables.