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One of the toughest annual tournaments, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Global Casino Championship returned to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina, USA for the fifth year in a row earlier this week. There were many reasons for players to make it to the event given that the stop offered the last bracelet of the year, not to forget the mouth-watering $1 Million prize pool guarantee.
After three days of intense poker action, American pro Ryan Eriquezzo (cover image) topped the star-studded field that comprised of heavyweights like the undisputed WSOPC ring holder Maurice Hawkins (3rd for $119,555). Eriquezzo ultimately defeated Eric Salazar heads-up to win the shiny bracelet and the $279,431 up top.
The invitation-only event was open only for previous WSOP Circuit Main Event winners this season. The only other way to get an invite to the event was to place in the top 50 on the season leaderboard. The top 100 players on the WSOP Player-of-the-Year standings had the option to buy in for $10,000, and only four players from the list opted to do so.
In all, a star-studded field of 129 entries entered the event, and the $1,040,000 prize pool was distributed among the top 20 finishers.
Notables who made it in the money were Aaron Mcevoy (11th for $19,787), Paul Sokoloff (12th for $19,787), Gabriel Muzzio (13th for $19,787), Michael Marder (14th for $19,787), Martin Ryan (15th for $15,580), Vincent Moscati (16th for $15,580), Marius Conan (17th for $14,545), Thomas Kornechuk (18th for $14,545), Jake Bazeley (19th for $14,545), and Will Berry (20th for $14,545).
The final table got going after the 10th place elimination of Stephen Song.
Final Table Chip Counts
Final Table Recap
The nine-handed final table got off to a slow start, and the first elimination took almost two hours coming. Josh Reichard first doubled up Paulius Vaitiekunas and then lost the remainder of his short stack with pocket sevens to Ryan Eriquezzo’s . Eriquezzo peeled an ace on the river eliminating Reichard in ninth place.
20 minutes later, short-stacked Jarod Minghini got knocked out by Vaitiekunas. Another half-hour later, Jordan Piva was eliminated in seventh place by Ryan Eriquezzo.
After Pivo’s elimination, the bags were brought out, and the six remaining players were given some time off before resuming play on Day 3.
End of Day 2 Chip Counts
Final Day Recap
The first casualty on Day 3 was Adam Cedric who open-shoved and got one caller in Eric Salazar who tabled . The board ran , and Salazar raked in the pot with his higher kicker busting Cedric in sixth place.
Soon after that, Paulius Vaitekunas moved all-in holding but unfortunately for him, Maurice Hawkins woke up with aces behind him. Hawkins hit a set on the turn that sent Vaitekunas packing.
Joshua Turner then lost a massive pot to Ryan Eriquezzo to come down to just one big blind. As expected, he was dispatched to the rail by Hawkins.
During the three-handed play, Maurice Hawkins ended up becoming the shortest stack after his attempt to bluff Ryan Eriquezzo went wrong, and he was soon forced to exit in third place. On his final hand, Hawkins limp-called Eriquezzo`s 3-bet to see the flop open . Both players checked through to the turn. Here Hawkins led out with a bet and Eriquezzo called to see the river pairing the board. Hawkins announced all-in holding , and Eriquezzo made the call with delivering the former the bad news.
The heads-up battle was a long-drawn affair that saw both the finalists starting out with almost identical stacks. Eriquezzo came in with 4 Million chips against Eric Salazar’s 3.7 Million chips, and the former immediately got down to work as he swept several pots to his side in quick succession.
However, Salazar soon doubled-up to get on top. Eriquezzo recovered fast by doubling up on the very next hand and won the title after an ill-timed move by his opponent. On the final hand, Eriquezzo led out holding , and Salazar defended his big blind with . Eriquezzo hit a flush on the flop and made a c-bet. Salazar check-called the bet to see the turn card open . This time, Salazar decided to check-raise all-in, and Eriquezzo made the easy call. The river was insignificant, and just like that Eriquezzo claimed the bracelet, adding $279,431 to his bankroll!
Final Table Results (USD)
Content & Images Courtesy: World Series of Poker