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The 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) has awarded a total of 70 gold bracelets till now but only a couple of them were prehaps as special as the one that was presented to one of the most prolific faces on the circuit. Yes we are talking about the winner of Event #71: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em (30 minute levels) – Phil Hellmuth (cover image)! A living legend, Hellmuth has bettered his own past record by winning his 15th career WSOP gold bracelet.
The tournament that began with 452 runners saw only 39 players returning on Day 2. Hellmuth topped the remaining players in style and panache, even though he was short-stacked through most of the day! When the event was down to three-handed play, Hellmuth (1,725,000) was well behind the other two finalists Alan Sternberg (4,955,000) and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Steven Wolansky (4,620,000), but he steadily worked his way to the front and claimed the top prize worth $485,082.
When asked about his record-breaking 15th bracelet win during the post-event interview, Hellmuth said,”I'm humbled. It's humbling.”
"It means everything to me, because my life is poker, number one. Number two, I'm trying to spread positivity to the world. I want to be remembered in two ways: one, having 24 bracelets and number two, starting the positivity movement and having a lot of influence on people lives. Every day, people tweet I read your book, it changed my life. That's what I want the spotlight that I have becomes a responsibility. Once I realized I could inspire people — yes, I'm still the poker brat — I took that seriously." he added.
Hellmuth has been entangled in several controversies throughout his poker career, with the latest one happening at Event #65: $10,000 MAIN EVENT – World Championship when he ranted out of turn during a three-way hand against tablemate James Campbell, eventually leading to the latter’s elimination. A lot has been said about his antics in the past and his recent actions were also heavily criticized on social media, but Hellmuth not only quietened his critics, he also proved to all and sundry why he is one of the best in the business. With 15 WSOP bracelets to his name, his already staggering winnings in the tournament series has swelled to $12,590,808.
Day 2 witnessed many eliminations which included Petar Kalev (11th for $24,147), Markus Gonsalves (13th for $19,280), Chance Kornuth (18th for $15,726), Shawn Daniels (19th for $13,110), Indian origin players Nitesh Rawtani (22nd for $13,110) and Ajay Chabra (25th for $13,110) along with Liv Boeree (31st for $11,176), and Anthony Zinno (37th for $9,747).
Eric Hicks (9th for $30,881) bubbled the final table.
PokerStars Team Pro Aditya Agarwal was among the few Indians in attendance at the event but he was unable to make the cut for Day 2.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Alan Sternberg – 2,610,000
2. Phil Hellmuth – 1,925,000
3. Paul Hoefer – 1,560,000
4. Aliaksei Boika – 1,435,000
5. Matt Glantz – 1,400,000
6. Ken Fishman – 1,040,000
7. Ralph Wong – 670,000
8. Steven Wolansky – 530,000
Final Table Recap
Short-stacked Ralph Wong was the first to be eliminated from the eight-handed final table. He shoved all-in from the button with and was called by Steven Wolansky from small blind holding . The board fanned out and Wolansky hit a flush on the turn while Wong’s run finished in eight place.
Sometime later, Matt Glantz raised from middle position, Alan Sternberg shoved from hijack and Paul Hoefer called from big blind prompting Glantz to fold. Hoefer’s were up against Sternberg’s pocket kings. The flop fell and Hoefer hit a pair of jacks. The turn and the river on the remaining two streets were no help to Hoefer who found himself on his way to the cashier`s desk to collect his seventh place prize money.
Immediately after Hoefer’s elimination, Aliaksei Boika raised from the button and Matt Glantz defended to see the flop open .. Boika bet 125,000. and Glantz check-raised all in for 1,070,000 causing Boika to tank for some time, following which he called. The tabled hole cards revealed that Glantz had for a flush draw and Boika held for pair of sixes. Even though the turn gave Glantz a pair of fours, the river bricked and he was sent packing in sixth place.
On the 47th hand, Ken Fishman went head-to-head against Boika when he moved all-in from cutoff and was called by the latter. With the board running , Fishman’s failed to defeat Boika’s and he was eliminated in fifth place.
About an hour later, Aliaksei Boika’s tournament life was on the line as he open-shoved for 2,090,000 with and received a call from Wolansky from the big blind holding . The flop missed both players, but the turn kept Boika alive in the game with a flush draw. However, the on the river was not what he needed and he was done at fourth place.
The 76th hand turned out to be the last one for Alan Sternberg who finished in third place. Hellmuth raised from the button as Sternberg 3-bet shoved from small blind. Wolansky reshoved and Hellmuth folded. Sternberg held against Wolansky’s . Sternberg flopped a pair of jacks on the flop , but the turn put Wolansky in the lead with a pair of queens while the river missed both players. Wolansky raked in the pot as Sternberg departed to set up the heads-up match between the remaining two finalists.
The heads-up play between Steven Wolansky and Phil Hellmuth lasted for 57 more hands. As level 35 began, the blinds were at 150000/300000 and ante at 50000, Hellmuth was leading the chip count with 8,300,000. Even though both finalists won several pots, Hellmuth kept moving up.
On the 133rd hand, which was the final hand of the event, Wolansky shoved his remaining 3,650,000 from the button with and Hellmuth quickly called holding . The flop brought a pair of nines for Wolansky but Hellmuth hit a set. Wolansky had outs with a back-door straight draw and was looking for a four to open on the turn, but unfortunately the next street brought and his hopes were dashed. The river was a mere formality as Wolansky was drawing dead and just like that Hellmuth was crowned the winner,bringing his WSOP bracelet tally to an unprecedented 15 gold bracelets!
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Phil Hellmuth – $485,082
2. Steven Wolansky – $299,807
3. Alan Sternberg – $204,789
4. Aliaksei Boika – $142,458
5. Ken Fishman – $100,956
6. Matt Glantz – $72,911
7. Paul Hoefer – $53,682
8. Ralph Wong – $40,309
Content and image courtesy: WSOP.com.
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