The 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP), Player of the Year Leaderboard, has a new mug sitting at the top of the rogue’s gallery.
The mixed-game specialist overtook fellow mixed-game supremo, John Hennigan, as the favourite to replace Chris “Please Forgive Me” Ferguson as the most consistent player at the most iconic festival in poker, after taking down Event #42: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller.
The event goes down as the most significant $25,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) event in history, but the introduction of a single re-entry clause for the first time in the game’s short four-year history gave it a bunky over that particular wall.
Day 1 attracted 192 entrants.
101 remained, parachute intact, at the end of ten hours of play.
The man of the moment, Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi was one star that ran out of nuclear fuel on Day #1. Joining him was the three-time World Poker Tour (WPT) Champ, Anthony Zinno, and the man who last year won more live tournament dollars than anyone alive, Bryn Kenney.
Konstantin Beylin was the overnight leader.
Daniel Negreanu was third.
Day 2 Belongs to Ben Yu
By the end of registration, the total field size had increased to a record 230 entrants. 49 players bought-in twice, meaning the actual picture was 181 entrants, making it the second lowest unique field size in history, down 12% on last year’s record field size of 205 entrants.
After 14 levels of play, it was Ben Yu leading the way. The man who set the Triton Poker Tournament alight in Montenegro, Jason Koon, sat in second and Deeb was in third. Other contenders included the former WSOP Main Event Champion, Scotty Nguyen, Jason Mercier, Erik Seidel, and the defending champ, James Calderaro.
Here is how the final table looked heading into the last day.
- Scotty Nguyen – 7,010,000
- James Calderaro – 6,445,000
- Shaun Deeb – 6,305,000
- Ben Yu – 4,775,000
- Jason Koon – 2,905,000
- Ryan Tosoc – 1,300,000
It was interesting to see Nguyen make the final table. This year, the former champ must have hired a publicist, because he landed two very public sponsorship deals: an online cryptocurrency poker room, and a company that creates shit that you smoke to get high.
Last year, Calderaro outlasted 205 entrants to win the $1.3m first prize, so it was a stunning success for him to make back-to-back final tables. Koon once again showed that if you give him a game, any game, he will beat it.
But neither Calderaro, Koon or a spliff smoking Nguyen could get within touching distance of the bracelet. The only two players to cast eyes on the sliver of gold were Ben Yu and Shaun Deeb.
Interestingly, the pair clashed in last year’s $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Ball final, which Yu won.
But Deeb was unperturbed.
“I made a joke to him at the unofficial final table,” Deeb would later tell PokerNews. “I said we both missed the $10K 2-7, the event we got heads-up in last year. I go, ‘We might be able to do it again, another game I’m a favourite on you heads-up.’ Ben’s a great poker player, but I have so much experience playing mixed games longer.”
There wasn’t much separating these two concerning form.
Deeb was making money in his tenth event of the summer, appearing in his second final table. Yu had cashed in nine games and was also appearing in his second final table.
There was a degree of separation in the chip counts.
Once Yu had eliminated Nguyen in third place, he took an 18.1m v 10.6m chip lead into his heads-up clash with Deeb. Two hands into their little tete-a-tete and Deeb had evened things up. One hand later he took the lead. Another hand and he was a 21.3m v 7.4m leader, and then before he had a chance to create a few Leaning Towers of Pisa he had won.
Yu opened up with a pot-sized raise to 900,000, Deeb three-bet pot to 2.7m; Yu called. The dealer placed the lowly looking 5h4c2h onto the flop, Deeb bet pot to put Yu all-in, and Yu made the call.
On your backs gentlemen.
Deeb’s pocket aces were ahead, but Yu had plenty of outs, hoping for either a flush or straight draw. Neither came. Deeb had revenge, $1.4m and his third bracelet.
A dominating final table performance wins @shaundeeb his 3rd @WSOP bracelet! Beats @benyupoker for the $25K PLO High Roller title and $1.4 million!
▶ https://t.co/wtwTU6NmGw pic.twitter.com/gorc8xqt9g
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) June 24, 2018
Here are the final table results:
Final Table Results
- Shaun Deeb – $1,402,683
- Ben Yu – $866,924
- Scotty Nguyen – $592,924
- James Calderaro – $414,134
- Jason Koon – $295,606
- Ryan Tosoc – $215,718
35 players made enough money to buy a medieval torture rack in this one including David Benjamin (7th), Jason Mercier (12th), Robert Mizrachi (15th), Craig Varnell (16th), Sam Soverel (24th), Mike Leah (25th), Erik Seidel (26th), Tom Marchese (29th) and Paul Volpe (32nd).
Deeb has now earned more than $5.5m playing live tournaments. It was his tenth career title. His previous best score was a million bucks, collected in a controversial $25,300 Mega Satellite for the 2012 Big One For One Drop when Deeb dumped his stack to Gus Hansen during heads-up because the Dane wanted the seat, and Deeb wanted to see if he could build a house out of one million tournament Lammers.
The History of the $25k Pot Limit Omaha High Roller
In 2015, 175 players created a $4,156,250 prize pool, and Anthony Zinno capped off an excellent summer with the win for $1,122,196.
In 2016, the field rose to 184 entrants, and the Finnish high stakes player, Jens Kyllönen took $1,127,035 from the $4,370,000 prize pool after an excellent win.
Then last year, James Calderaro earned $1,289,074 for besting a record field of 2015 entrants. The prize pool was $4,868,750.
Remaining WSOP High Roller Events
July 13-15 $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller.
July 15-18 The Big One For One Drop $1,000,000 No-Limit Hold’em.
So far, 30 players have paid a non-refundable deposit to appear in the 48-player cap event. Here are the names of the ones that aren’t shy at letting you know about it.
- Daniel Negreanu
- Antonio Esfandiari
- Christoph Vogelsang
- Bryn Kenney
- Nick Petrangelo
- Rainer Kempe
- Dominik Nitsche
- Steffen Sontheimer
- Jason Koon
- Phil Ivey
- Adrian Mateos
- Phil Hellmuth
- Rick Salomon
- Talal Shakerchi
- Leon Tsoukernik