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One of the most committed poker players, former poker dealer and currently a coach for Chip Leader Coaching, Ryan Leng (cover image) had a string of World Series of Poker (WSOP) cashes to his name – 31 to be exact but no gold bracelet, until now. Taking down a field of 1,983 competitors, Leng topped them all to win Event #51: $1,500 No-Limit Hold ‘em Bounty. In addition to picking up the shiny gold bracelet, Leng netted $272,765 in prize money for his finish.
Top Indian poker pro Paawan Bansal made a deep run in the event finishing at 73rd place for $2,952 (~₹2.02 Lakhs).
Apart from the WSOP, Leng has been quite active in WSOP Circuit events as well and winning the tournament has just propelled his overall WSOP earnings to $771,181. According to him, he has learnt a lot not only from his coaches but also from his own poker students who frequently challenge his thinking with questions.
“It’s forced me to analyze my own game as well as other players’ games all the time. I’m constantly questioning my own play. I still get coaching from Chance [Kornuth], I get coaching from Nick Petrangelo, I get coaching from Joe McKeehen, I mean, it’s invaluable talking poker with these brilliant players,” Leng said. He added that he will be taking his prized new bracelet and give it to his mother, who has always supported his career in poker! His mom booked a last-minute flight after play ended on Day 3 to catch the final day action live.
“I’m really happy that [my mom] got to see it. It’s pretty awesome. She gets all my poker trophies, all my rings, Circuit rings or whatever, any trophy – they’re hanging up at her house. So I’m going to give her this.”
The tournament saw quite a bit of action through its three consecutive days of action, with the field narrowing down to 298 players from a starting field of 1,983 on the very first day. Towards the end of Day 2, the field was down to 29 players. But while eliminations went on at a brisk pace and the final table was reached midway through Day 3, the play didn’t culminate to a winner and so an extra day was added for the four finalists to come back for a final showdown.
The official final table of nine kicked off midway through Day 3 after Quyen Hoang (10th for $ 16,942) was eliminated, with his ace-five falling to Leng’s ace-eight in a pre-flop all-in showdown.
Final Table Recap
The nine-handed play began with Leng starting in the chip lead. Ranno Sootla took a big hit after his ace-king lost to Farber’s ace-queen that made top two pairs after getting all the chips in pre-flop. However, Sootla got it all back in the next hand itself where he eliminated Mikhail Semin. Semin shoved with sevens but Sootla had pocket jacks and flopped jacks full while Semin’s rivered sevens full could not prevent his departure in ninth place.
It was Leng who knocked out Mark Mazza next. Leng smooth-called Mazza’s raise with pocket aces and the two got all the chips in on the queen-high flop. Mazza was trailing and failed to catch up with ace-queen and exited in eighth place.
John Gulino was eliminated next by Sootla who opened for 125,000. Leng called from the hijack and Russell Rosenblum in the cutoff and Gulino in the big blind joined in with a call. The flop was and all players checked. The turn brought and action checked to Sootla who bet 210,000. Now, Leng and Rosenblum folded to Gulino who moved all in for 740,000. Tanking for a while Sootla made the call. Gulino revealed for a pair of aces and Sootla held for a pair of aces with a flush draw. Sootla’s hit his flush when the landed on the river, eliminating Gulino in seventh place.
Over the next few hands, chips moved around till Russell Rosenblum faced the heat in a hand where Farber made it 125,000 from under the gun, Christian Nolte called from middle position and Rosenblum three-bet all in from the small blind. Farber thought briefly before folding but Nolte snap-called tabling while Rosenblum showed . Though Rosenblum connected on the flop by hitting a pair of jacks, he was at risk since Nolte clipped a pair of aces. Rosenblum had only two outs and the rundown missed them both to send him packing in sixth place.
Slowly but steadily Nolte began moving up in chips and there was a lot of back and forth before Nolte sent Javier Gomez out to the rail. He opened under the gun for 175,000 and Leng called on the button before Gomez went all in from the small blind. Nolte folded and Leng decided to make the call. He tabled and Gomez turned over . As the dealer spread the flop, Leng was in the lead while Gomez did pick some chop outs. But the turn and river blanked out for Gomez, who exited in fifth place.
The play was brought to a halt here and the four remaining players bagged their chips, with Leng in the chip lead (5,440,000) followed by Sootla (3,835,000), Nolte (3,405,000) and Farber (2,195,000).
Day 4 Recap
Though he was at the bottom of the stacks when the play resumed, Farber soon chipped up over the first few hands.
Sootla also improved his stack and Farber then won a pot against Christian Nolte leaving the latter crippled. In the next hand, Nolte limped in from the big blind and Sootla moved all in from the big blind. Nolte then called for nearly 25 big blinds. He showed while Sootla held . Nolte’s rail started shouting out for an ace or queen and went cheering when the door card was . But soon, there was silence as the flop further opened . By the turn, Nolte was drawing dead and the eliminated Nolte in fourth place.
In the three-handed play, Leng began to extend his lead and soon eliminated Jay Farber. Leng raised to 250,000 on the button and Farber moved all in for 1,760,000 in the small blind. Sootla who was in the big blind folded and Leng made the call. Farber held and Leng showed a better . The flop ran out , the turn gave Leng a flush draw and some chop outs to Farber. Leng improved to a flush when the river came on the river and Farber was relegated to the rail in third place.
The heads-up was quite lengthy and though Leng started with a 2:1 chip lead over Ranno Sootla, they had over 120 big blinds in play. Leng kept the pressure on and aggressively clashed against his opponent but after several hands, Sootla doubled into the lead. From there on, there was a lot of back and forth.
The final hand was quite dramatic. Sootla raised it up to 400,000 and Leng called. The flop had Leng betting 350,000 and Sootla raising it up to 1,175,000. Leng then re-raised to 2,175,000 and Sootla moved all in, Leng snap called. Sootla showed for flopped set and Leng held , for a flopped ten-high straight. The turn changed nothing though Sootla could still chop the pot with seven. The river blanked out and Sootla was eliminated in runner up place and conceded the title to Leng who held up his well-deserved bracelet amidst loud cheering from his rail!
Later, talking about his heads-up with Sootla, Leng said, “Sootla is one of the toughest players I’ve ever played against; he’s so good. So, it was just a lot of fun to have to go through someone that good to get my first bracelet.”
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Ryan Leng – $272,765
2. Ranno Sootla – $168,464
3. Jay Farber – $121,932
4. Christian Nolte – $89,151
5. Javier Gomez – $65,851
6. Russell Rosenblum – $49,146
7. John Gulino – $37,063
8. Mark Mazza – $28,247
9. Mikhail Semin – $21,759
Content & image courtesy WSOP.com
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