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It was just like returning to the scene in 2017 when Shaun Deeb (cover image) had to face Ben Yu in a heads-up battle at the 2017 World Series of Poker $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship where he lost and conceded the title to Yu. Only this time, the heads-up battle was over the 2018 WSOP Event #42: $25,000 PLO High Roller and, it was Deeb who emerged victorious over Yu in the heads-up play to win his third bracelet.
“I made a joke to him at the unofficial final table. I said we both missed the $10K 2-7, the event we got heads up in last year. I go, ‘We might be able to do it again, another game I’m a favorite on you heads up.’ Ben’s a great poker player but I have so much experience playing mixed games longer,” Deeb said, talking about his heads up with Yu.
This is Deeb’s third WSOP gold bracelet and with this win he pocketed a first place payday of $1,402,683, also his best WSOP score till date. His two previous bracelets were won at the 2015 WSOP $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold ‘em Championship and the 2016 WSOP $1,500 Seven-Card Stud.
And yes, while Deeb’s multi-tabling talents have been quite the talk of the town in Vegas this summer, this time he was singularly focused through the 230-strong player field he had to combat through to reach the final table and eventually win the event!
“I had a great start to the day, got the chip lead,” Deeb said on his run in the event. “No one really ever put me in a bad spot. I was able to control the pot sizes the way I wanted to almost every hand. That really helps, to not get in an inflated pot with a marginal hand. Everyone played their best game, I just ran the best.”
“I think I have a great shot at Player of the Year right now so I think I’m gonna battle, hop in every event I can and just enjoy myself,” Deeb revealed.
A prize pool of $5,462,500 was created in the tournament and many big names participated. The top 35 survivors made it in the money for a minimum assured $37,500.
Two Indian challengers, high-stakes pro Naman Madan and two-time bracelet winner Nipun Java participated in the event. While Java was eliminated on Day 1, Madan progressed to Day 2 where he ended his run in 118th place.
Notables to get eliminated before the final table are Robert Mizrachi (15th for $53,391), Craig Varnell (16th for $53,391), Sam Soverel (24th for $46,190), Mike Leah (15th for $41,049), Erik Seidel (26th for $41,049), Tom Marchese (29th for $41,049), Adam Owen (30th for $41,049) and Paul Volpe (32nd for $41,049).
On Day 3, after the elimination of Jason Mercier (12th for $77,107), Veselin Karakitukov (11th for $77,107) and George Wolff (10th for $96,214), the action zoomed into the unofficial final table where Jonathan Depa was the first casualty (9th for $96,214), setting the official final table in motion.
Final Table Recap
The play on the nine-handed final table began with Calderaro winning a pot after which Capitan scooped another, to double up. There was some back and forth action and Benyamine managed to chip up over two hands.
Bogdan Capitanrivered up a flush to improve his stack and even managed to survive two all-in situations, but a hand later, he lost out when his float with an overpair and flush draw on the turn couldn’t improve against Yu’s set and nut flush draw. Capitan was railed in eighth place.
The last elimination of Day 3 was of David Benyamine who had the shortest stack on the table and defended his big blind and got in it with middle pair and a straight draw. Nguyen dominated this with top pair and the superior straight draw, winning the pot and bouncing Benyamine out in seventh place. The play was halted here to be resumed on the final day.
Six players returned on Day 4 for the final showdown and in bid for the bracelet. Nuygen entered the field as chip leader, holding 7,010,000, followed by Calderaro (6,445,000) and Deeb (6,305,000).
On the very fourth hand of the final table, Ryan Tosoc faced the heat. Tosoc had the least amount of chips and now he raised the pot on which Yu responded by making it 900,000 from the button. Tosoc made the call, leaving only 325,000 with him. The flop was . Tosoc bet all in and Yu snap-called. Yu had and Tosoc tabled . Yu made top pair but Tosoc had middle pair with flush draw and the turn gave Tosoc an added straight draw but the on the river sent him packing in sixth place.
It is here that Deeb started to take the lead but the action slowed down thereafter till Deeb upped the aggression to take some from Nguyen.
In the next hand, Deeb raised to 320,000 from the button and Jason Koon three-bet to 1.04 Million on which Deeb called. On the flop, Koon moved all in for 900,000. Deeb didn’t hesitate to make the call. He showed while Koon had . Koon had an overpair but Deeb took the lead with his two pair and Koon, who couldn’t improve on the turn and the river was eliminated in fifth place.
Next up, defending champion James Calderaro raised to 500,000 and Yu called from the button. Deeb came along from big blind and the three players went to the flop . Here, Deeb checked, Calderaro bet out 1,000,000 and Yu folded. Deeb then made a pot-sized check-raise and Calderaro called off for 3.1 Million. Deeb had and Calderaro revealed . Both Deeb and Calderaro had flopped top two pair and Calderaro only needed to dodge a five to at least split the pot or river a king to win, but the dealer revealed on the river that completed a runner-runner straight for Deeb while Calderaro was relegated to the rail in fourth place.
Scotty Nguyen was the next to go. Yu raised to 1 Million on the button and Nguyen three-bet the pot to 3.3 Million with 50,000 behind. Yu set him in and Nguyen called it off. Nguyen showed , Yu had . Yu who had pocket queens needed an ace to make a pair and the flop got him exactly that. Nguyen who had a gunshot needed an eight but the rundown extinguished Nguyen’s chances completely and he exited in third place.
Though Yu entered the heads-up play against Deeb with a bigger stack, within the next two hands, Deeb pulled into the lead. On the final hand, Yu raised to 900,000 and Deeb three-bet to 2.7 Million. Yu, who had 6.4 Million left, called. The flop was . Deeb bet and Yu called all in. Yu held , Deeb revealed . With pair of aces, Deeb held the lead but Yu had many outs with a straight and flush draws. However it wasn’t so, as the on the turn followed by the on the river denied Yu the bracelet, while Deeb picked up his third bracelet!
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Shaun Deeb – $1,402,683
2. Ben Yu – $866,924
3. Scotty Nguyen – $592,875
4. James Calderaro – $414,134
5. Jason Koon – $295,606
6. Ryan Tosoc – $215,718
7. David Benyamine – $161,020
8. Bogdan Capitan – $123,004
Content & image courtesy WSOP.com
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