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Six hours into Day 3 play in Event #70: $3,000 Limit Hold ‘em 6-Handed at the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP), Yaser Al-Keliddar (cover image) emerged the champion and picked up his maiden bracelet along with the grand prize of $154,338.
The American pro who had WSOP earnings to the tune of $15,797 before this win had come off a 15th place finish in the 2018 The Wynn Summer Classic where he had pocketed $19,842. With this win Al-Keliddar has propelled himself straight to the hallway of poker celebrities.
On the final day of the tournament, Keliddar started out holding a stack of 927,000 that equaled what Juha Helppi had carried forth to the day. The duo was far ahead in chips held by the next nearest rival. No wonder then, that they began with an advantage that saw them through to the top where they finally confronted each other in a raging heads-up battle.
“I'm relieved because I was tied for the chip lead heading into the day, so to have blown it would have been rough. I had a lot of friends from back home who were really supportive, cheering me on, and that helped a lot. I didn't want to let anyone down. Apparently my home casino back in the D.C. area is excited for me, which is great. First bracelet. I wasn't gonna play this thing until an hour and a half before.” Kelidar said.
England-born Keliddar is a businessman engaged in rental properties and spends a lot of his time playing poker. He’s been to law school and has even done a few stints as a stand-up comedian.
"I like to have a lot of fun at the table and joke around, especially if my chip stack is doing well. I just like to have fun at the table I think it's important to stay loose. If you make your opponents laugh, that's good. It helps you get people to play with you over and over again," Keliddar added.
A total of 221 players made their way into the tournament and 69 returned on the second day to battle it out for the top spot. There were many notables who didn’t make it to the final Day 3 and the money bubble burst on Alex Torry after his nines were beaten by Joshua Mitchell’s ace-jack.
Subsequently, Rep Porter (32nd for $4,449), Jeff Lisandro (31st for $4,449), Mike Matusow (23rd for $5,805), Chris Tryba (22nd for $5,805), Ryan Hughes (19th for $5,805), Nicholas Seiken (15th for $6,990), Benny Glaser (14th for $6,990) and Ronnie Bardah (13th for $6,990) were eliminated and only eight players remained as the chips were bagged for the day, and all of them were in the money for a minimum $14,871.
Day 3 Recap
The elimination of Joao Vieira (8th for $14,871) moved the action to the unofficial final table of seven.
Early on, Al-Keliddar won a pot against Helppi to then hold a third of the chips in play. Helppi lost to Schneider as well following which Greenstein doubled up against him.
After a lot of back and forth action, Won Lee (7th for $14,871) was busted in a hand against Thurlow who raised from the hijack and Lee who was on the button, 3-bet. Action folded back to Thurlow who called. The flop opened , Lee bet and Thurlow check-called. The turn brought and Lee fired another bet. Thurlow check-raised this time and Lee called all-in, putting himself at risk. Thurlow held while Lee revealed . On the river, Thurlow won the pot, bringing an end to Lee’s innings in the event as he bounced out in seventh place.
Final Table Recap
Within minutes of the action taking off on the final table, three-time bracelet winner Barry Greenstein was eliminated. Greenstein raised from the hijack and Al-Keliddar 3-bet from the button. Greenstein 4-bet, putting his tournament life at risk and Keliddar wasted no time in calling. Keliddar who held against Greenstein’s was leading and his victory was sealed on the runout while Greenstein left for the rail in sixth place.
After several limped pots and a lot of back and forth, three-betting, raises and folds, Mike Schneider faced the heat when he raised from the button and found Helppi 3-betting from the big blind. Schneider called putting his entire stack in the pot. Helppi revealed and Schneider held . The board ran and Helppi scooped the pot showing the door to Schneider who finished in fifth place.
What followed was a tussle for the chip lead between Helppi and Al-Keliddar though Andrew Yip also started rebuilding his stack. However he lost out to Thurlow when the latter raised on the button and he in the small blind, 3-bet. Thurlow 4-bet here with and Yip called.with . The board spread out and this was enough to send Yip out in fourth place.
In the three-handed play, Justin Thurlow raised from the button and Al-Keliddar and Helppi in the blinds, called. The flop was , Al-Keliddar checked, Helppi bet while Thurlow called putting himself at risk. Al-Keliddar folded and the two remaining players tabled their cards. Helppi held vs. Thurlow’s . The turn and the river completed the board and Helppi won the pot, eliminating Thurlow in third place.
Heads-up, the chip leaders at the start of the day confronted each other over a series of give and take hands until the final hand when Al-Keliddar raised in the small blind and Juha Helppi called all-in from the big blind. Al-Keliddar held against Helppi’s . The board ran , and Helppi was relegated to the rail in second place while Al-Keliddar won his first WSOP bracelet.
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Yaser Al-Keliddar – $154,338
2. Juha Helppi – $95,380
3. Justin Thurlow – $62,187
4. Andrew Yip – $41,665
5. Mike Schneider – $28,708
6. Barry Greenstein – $20,358
Content and image courtesy: WSOP.com
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