High Stakes WSOP Review: Did Sam Soverel Angle Shoot During Ben Heath’s $50k Win?

The poker world should be talking about Ben Heath winning his first gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). It wasn’t any old bracelet. It was the one handed out for winning the $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em, and it came in the same carrier bag as $1,484,085 in cash, but it’s become a secondary talking point.

Say what you like about Twitter (I think it’s a place where cowards play knock-a-door-run), but it does allow people to tell you how they feel, without the fear of getting punched in the face, and this leads to the slipping of a few masks. 

Take Ike Haxton, for example. 

sam soverel mucks out of turn
Image from Poker Central Youtube video

During a crucial hand on the 50th Annual High Roller $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em final table, with the action four-handed, and the blinds at 100k/200k/200k, first to act, Sam Soverel raised to 400,000, Dmitry Yurasov shoved for 4,930,000, and then the action ground to a halt at the fingertips of Ben Heath in the big blind. 

Heath had a critical decision because he had AhQh. He asked Soverel for a count and received a reply. Then after a pause, Heath flicked a time extension chip towards the dealer. Soverel immediately looked at his cards, and then mucked out of turn, thinking Heath had made the call. 

The move outraged Yurasov because, with Soverel out of the way, Heath had an easier decision. Heath called, and his AhQh beat Yurasov’s AdTd to send the Russian to the rail in the fourth position, and Soverel earned an additional $182,786 due to the knockout. 

At the time, Soverel was extremely apologetic over his mistake, but it seems some of his peers, including Ike Haxton and Justin Bonomo, didn’t believe it was a mistake at all. 

Haxton vented on Twitter, declaring that after watching the replay, he was ’99% certain’ that Soverel intended to muck out of turn to give Heath an easier decision, even going as far as to say that Soverel has a ‘reputation’ for having less than stellar ethics when it comes to his behaviour at the table, a line that Bonomo backed up. Soverel, who went on to finish third for $640,924, is keeping his powder dry on this one.

The hand hasn’t only raised suspicions over Soverel’s morals, but it’s also created a debate on the efficacy of using time bank extension chips, as flicking one in the general direction of a dealer, is no different than someone throwing in a single chip to denote a call. 

Here’s the hand in question.

What’s your view?

And what are your thoughts on the use of time extension chips?

After Heath eliminated Soverel, the man from the U.K. went on to face Andrew Lichtenberger, heads-up, for the $1.48m first prize, and it was a short shrift affair with Heath coolering LuckyChewy AcJs>AdKh after flopping a Jack when all-in pre-flop for all the pigeon pellets. 

It’s the fourth live tournament win of Heath’s career and his first for two and a half years. Heath’s first seven-figure score takes his total live tournament earnings to $4,531,448, and Heath’s not playing life-raft poker, finishing 4/58 in a €50,000 at the European Poker Tour (EPT) in Monte Carlo, and 7/521 in the partypoker MILLIONS North America.

Final Table Results

  1. Ben Heath – $1,484,085
  2. Andrew Lichtenberger – $917,232
  3. Sam Soverel – $640,924
  4. Dmitry Yurasov – $458,138
  5. Nick Petrangelo – $335,181
  6. Chance Kornuth – $251,128

The event attracted 110-entrants.