In a recent poll run by CardPlayer 61 high-stakes poker players chose the best poker player in the world, and Stephen Chidwick picked up more than 3x the votes of his nearest rival.
Chidwick is the most successful live tournament player in England with more than $24.7m in earnings, but until a few days ago, each time he had spun his fishing reel over the rich waters of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) he had never caught anything other than a few old boots.
All of that changed when Chidwick won the $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller, beating 278-entrants, to capture the $1,618,417 and his first gold bracelet. Ironically, after trying so hard to win one for so long. Chidwick, a new father, arrived at the WSOP late, after a family trip to Paris, and took down the bracelet in his first event, not even his strongest, after late-regging on Day 2.
It’s a well-deserved victory after 52 WSOP cashes and 13 final tables, and it comes three months after winning $1,128,685 for finishing runner-up to Jason Koon in an HK$ 1m No-Limit Hold’em event at the Triton Super High Roller Series in Jeju. It’s his 17th live tournament win and his sixth seven-figure score since March 2018.
While Chidwick is a No-Limit Hold’em genius, he’s not exactly rolling the dice when he has four cards in his hands. Chidwick won the $25,000 PLO event at the US Poker Open in February, beating a much smaller field of 39-entrants to claim the $351,000 first prize. He made the final table of a 78-entrant AUD 5,000 PLO event in the 2016 Aussie Millions, finishing eighth. And, in 2014, he finished 10/1128 in a $1,000 PLO event at the WSOP.
Chidwick beat James Chen, heads-up, to claim the bracelet. It was Chen’s third final table, and the closest he had come to claim one. The final table also housed the 12th place-finisher in the $50,000, Matthew Gonzales, four-time bracelet winner, Robert Mizrachi, the recent $10,000 Short-Deck winner, Alex Epstein, and the legend Erik Seidel.
A pivotal moment in the final table came when Chidwick took out Alex Epstein in the fifth position. Until that hand, only Epstein had led, outside of Chidwick, during the Day 4 shenanigans.
With blinds at 150k/300k, Epstein raised to 1,050,000 from under the gun, and Chidwick was the only caller from the small blind. The Dealer dunked As5d3s onto the table like the dregs of the deck, and Chidwick check-called a 1,200,000 Epstein c-bet. The 4d produced a dizzying array of draws on the turn, and after Chidwick checked, Epstein moved all-in for a smidgen more than 4 million, and Chidwick called. Epstein was chasing a flush draw with KsQcTc2s, and Chidwick was ahead and held with AdQdTs9c.
After that hand, Chidwick never surrendered the chip lead despite Chen pushing him all the way.
Final Table Results
- Stephen Chidwick – $1,618,417
- James Chen – $1,000,253
- Matthew Gonzales – $699,364
- Robert Mizrachi – $497,112
- Alex Epstein – $359.320
- Erik Seidel – $264,186
- Wasim Korkis – $197,637
- Ka Kwan Lau – $150,483
Three other stars of the game that pressed most of the right keystrokes in this one included online legend Ben Tollerene (11th), three-time bracelet winner, Paul Volpe (15th), and the incredible Sean Winter (16th).