Alabama’s Mark Davis became a millionaire earlier this summer when he won the World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Event at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas at Luxor for $1,000,300.
Davis, who boasts $1.5 million in Hendon Mob-reported earnings, had already made a name for himself earlier in the year when he took down the World Series of Poker Circuit Cherokee Main Event for $334,678, a short-lived career-best before getting his seven-figure score just a few months later.
Now, Davis is looking for his next big score as he competes in the WPT Venetian $5,000 buy-in Main Event, which offers a guaranteed prize pool of $4 million and got underway on July 12. Davis took a few minutes during the first break of Day 1a to chat with PokerNews about winning his first WPT title and how Chance Kornuth helped him prep for the biggest spot of his poker career.
Davis and Goliath
The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown took place in Hollywood, FL in April and drew a field of 2,010 players. Action paused for a few weeks once the field reached six players, who returned in May to compete at the televised final table in Las Vegas.
The break gave Davis an opportunity to study and prepare for the final table showdown. He was second in chips and told PokerNews he imagined, should he get heads-up, his most likely opponent would be Darren Elias, the chip leader and the all-time WPT title holder.
“It was kind of what I was expecting for the month and a half leading up to it,” said Davis. “I was expecting that battle, so I was preparing for him (Elias) basically every single day. And when it got down to heads-up play with me and him I was ready for that battle.”
When he did get heads-up against Elias, a formidable opponent, to say the least, the two battled “back and forth … for four and a half hours” before Elias got it in with a gutshot and couldn’t improve against the two pair of Davis.
“I got the best of him that day,” Davis reflected. “But today’s another day, so I know he’s ready to get at it again.”
As Davis competed in the WPT Venetian Main Event on Tuesday, Elias was seated at an adjacent table just a few feet away from the player who denied him a record-extending fifth title. The two shared a laugh as Davis was involved in a three-way all-in on just the first level of play.
“We’ve become friends in the time since then,” Davis said about Elias. “We talk occasionally, try to do some friendly bets with each other, and he’s become a friend of mine.”
Training With Kornuth
When he made the final six of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, Davis enlisted none other than Chance Kornuth to give him personal coaching leading up to the final table. The top-ranked GPI player is not only a good poker player, he also happens to be the founder of Chip Leader Coaching.
“As far as a poker coach, my style mimics his style without even knowing anything about him or me,” Davis said. “So it’s just a perfect marriage. I know exactly what he’s talking about when he’s telling me some things to do and he’s talking in his own little lingo, and I know exactly what he means, I know exactly where he’s coming from.”
The hired coaching paid off and Davis took home the million-dollar prize and found another ally in the poker community.
“I’ve got a friendship that’s developed with him (Kornuth), too,” said Davis. “That’s what I love about poker. You take a chance encounter with somebody and then they become a friend, and then it’s way more than that. We’ve got little babies the same age, me and Chance do, so it goes way beyond the poker part.”
To tie a neat bow on things, Kornuth went on to win the WPT Choctaw Main Event the same month for his first WPT title and $486,600.
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Seeking Another Score
Davis told PokerNews he hopes to continue his breakout year. He’s played a handful of WSOP events and made Day 3 of the Main Event before falling short of the money.
With the summer winding down, Davis said he plans to keep a busy schedule, including playing the WPT Venetian Main Event and later the WSOP Tournament of Champions.
“So my next week and a half is packed to the rim and I’m going to be playing them (tournaments) every day,” he said.
Follow the action in the WPT Venetian Main Event with updates from the WPT reporting team.