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After five marathon days of tournament poker, Long Ma (cover image) was the last player standing in Event #4: $500 The Reunion No-Limit Hold’em of the 52nd Annual World Series of Poker (WSOP). The 35-year-old grabbed his first-ever gold bracelet and a handsome $513,604 paycheque for his stellar performance.
The Reunion was the first marquee event of the annual series and certainly lived up to all the hype. The event attracted a massive field of 12,973 across three starting flights to easily surpass the $5 Million guarantee, creating a final prize pool of $5,499,500.
Hailing from Dallas, Ma came into the final day with the chip lead and eliminated all four opponents in under an hour to bag the bracelet.
Regarding the event, Ma said he was “a bit tired” for the final table after playing 15 hours on the first day and 17 hours on the second.
“Lots of good players, lucky players. I think I am the luckiest one,” Ma said with a laugh.
Ma has been playing poker for the past 12 years, and talking about his poker journey, Ma said, “When I first started, I lost a lot of money on gambling. But then I won a tournament with 400 people, and I started doing a bit better. But recently not too good.”
He even mentioned how he hadn’t cashed any event for two months before this considerable breakthrough, which certainly breaks Ma out of his funk.
“I only play tournaments,” added Ma. “It is really hard to be a professional with only tournaments.”
Ma works as an operation and program manager for an electronic company. When asked whether this win would mean seeing more of him in future events at the WSOP, he replied, “Possibly. I still need to work!”
Coming back to the tournament, Day 2 kicked off with 683 runners, and the field was culled down to the nine-handed final table following Faisal Siddiqui’s elimination in 10th place for $42,624.
Final Table Recap
Adrian Buckley was the first player to hit the rail in ninth place, and he was quickly followed by Derrick Stoebe, who was knocked out in eighth place.
About 10 minutes later, Jugal Daterao fell to Giuliano Lentini in seventh place.
Long Ma secured the final elimination on Day 2 when he dismissed Anthony Cass in sixth place, bagging a massive chip lead.
Final Day Chip Counts
1. Long Ma – 260,100,000
2. Giuliano Lentini – 133,900,000
3. Alex Vazquez – 114,600,000
4. Max Tavepholjalern – 114,300,000
5. Michael Eddy – 27,600,000
Final Day Recap
Expectedly, the shortest stack at the start of the final day, Michael Eddy, was the first to be eliminated from the all-American lineup in fifth place. His were bested by Ma’s that turned top pair.
Finishing in fourth place was Alex Vazquez when his was cracked by Ma’s , which hit a pair of jacks on the turn.
Less than 20 minutes later, Max Tavepholjalern’s lost the race to Ma’s , ending the former’s run in third place.
Long Ma (520,000,000) held an over 4:1 chip lead over Giuliano Lentini (121,000,000) at the start of their heads-up match. All it took was one hand for Ma to win the title.
On the final hand, Lentini open-shoved from the small blind, and Ma snap-called.
The community cards bricked for both players, and Ma’s Ace kicker won him his career-first WSOP gold bracelet!
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Long Ma – $513,604
2. Giuliano Lentini – $317,352
3. Max Tavepholjalern – $241,766
4. Alex Vazquez – $185,281
5. Michael Eddy – $142,847
6. Anthony Cass – $110,794
7. Jugal Daterao – $86,462
8. Derrick Stoebe – $67,886
9. Adrian Buckley – $53,625
Content & Images Courtesy: WSOP & PokerNews
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