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Playing through a massive field of 3,250 entrants that featured many seasoned talents along with a large number of amateurs, Canadian cash game pro Tim Andrew (cover image) topped them all to win his maiden bracelet in Event #11: $365 PLO Giant at the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP). In addition to winning the coveted gold bracelet, Andrew also bagged the $116,015 top prize!
From the Indian contingent we saw Chennai-based Srinivas Balasubramanian making an impressive run in the event. Balasubramanian rode past the competition to enter the nine-handed final table as the commanding chip leader with a stack of 18,325,000. As he sat with his impressive stack opposite the most feared player on the final table, Michael Mizrachi, he would perhaps not have expected that his run would abruptly be cut short at the very beginning. Balasubramanian got unlucky in a very crucial hand that ultimately led to his exit in ninth place for $10,250 (~₹7.04 Lakhs)!
Not just Balasubraminian, Indian-origin player Sandeep Pulusani was another challenger who made it to the final table eventually finishing fifth for $40,379 (~₹27.74 Lakhs)
The eventual champion Tim Andrew however treaded with caution early on. “I didn’t want to get clipped early. I tried to stay away from the big pots and win a lot of little pots. I didn’t want to have to make big decisions where my whole stack would have to go in,” Andrew recalled. Originally from British Columbia and seldom seen in tournaments, Andrew loves to play Pot-Limit Omaha and is a regular at the cash game tables in Calgary. Prior to this victory his biggest tournament win was a paltry $4,000, a record he has now changed forever and how!
“It’s a pretty good feeling, I love playing poker,” said Andrew who has recently taken a break from his studies to focus on poker.
The event progressed through five starting flights. Apart from Balasubramanian there were a number of Indians who had entered the event and the list includes names like Sikander Rajwade who finished 129th for $1,295 (~₹88,863), Mayank Jaggi finished 256th for $755 (~₹51,808), Pranay Kapoor came 263rd for $750 (~₹51,465), Anuj Jalote placed 284th for $685 (~₹47,004), Navkiran Singh finished 328th for $630 (~₹43,230) and Sanjay Taneja exited in 459th place for $556 (~₹38,152).
Many players fell out on the way to the final table including Derrick Herron (11th for $8,830), Randy Holland (16th for $5,609), Arne Kern (115th for $1,295), Jason Young (143rd for $1,352), Danny Wong (407th for $560), and Adam Lippert (417th for $557).
David Bingham (10th for $8,830) exited from the play next, to clear the way for the nine-handed final table.
Final Table Recap
Right from the time the cards were in the air on the final table, four-time bracelet winner Mizrachi attempted to grab the lead. The ‘Grinder’ scooped the first pot in a hand against Arroyos, Nomberto and Walton where Arroyos finally folded.
One hand later, Nomberto doubled up through chip leader Srinivas Balasubramanian that sent the latter stumbling down the leaderboard. Nomberto raised to 800,000 from middle position and both Mizrachi and Balasubramanian called. On the flop Balasubramanian checked to Nomberto who led out for 2,800,000. Mizrachi folded and Balasubramanian made the call. The fell on the turn. Balasubramanian led out for 2,700,000 and Nomberto called after tanking for a bit. With his , Nomberto was trailing Balasubramanian’s . Balasubramanian would have won the pot and cemented his position for the bracelet had the not landed on the river! Nomberto got queens full of deuces and he doubled up, taking over the chip lead.
Balasubramanian then suffered another loss in the next hand, against Sievers. He was in the cutoff, and, Sievers repotted on the button. Balasubramanian raised all in, leading to a preflop showdown. He held vs. Sievers’ . Sievers was leading and finished with two pair on the rundown to double up!
Balasubramanian`s troubles continued as he doubled up Mizrachi next. Mizrachi made top two pairs against Balasubramanian’s top and bottom pair and while the latter’s stack lost 7,500,000 in this hand, Mizrachi took over the chip lead.
The very next hand, Balasubramanian was eliminated in ninth place. Already short-stacked, he came up against Nomberto who was in the middle position and bet while Pulusani potted from the cutoff and Mizrachi folded from the small blind. Balasubramanian jammed from the big blind for 2.8 Million with . Nomberto folded while Pulusani called holding . The board missed both players but Pulusani already held the better hand with his ace-king that sent Balasubramanian packing.
Just one hand later, Raymond Walton was shown the door by Arroyos who rivered two pairs to beat Walton’s pair. Arroyos’ stack grew to 11.5 Million while Walton left the final table in eight place.
The largest pot of the tournament was seen soon thereafter when Arroyos who flopped a five-pair holding was trailing behind Mizrachi’s pocket aces. Arroyos however got lucky and rivered a set of kings to double up through Mizrachi.
Mizrachi took it all back when he effected the double elimination of Kevim Nomberto in seventh place and James Sievers in sixth place. Nomberto raised all in for 1,375,000 from under the gun, Mizrachi called from the cutoff and Sievers re-raised all in for 4,300,000 from the button. Here, Mizrachi called to make it a three-way showdown. Nomberto , Mizrachi and Sievers . The board , brought Mizrachi a wheel, and he scored the double elimination!
But for all this, Michael Mizrachi who was gunning for a fifth gold bracelet couldn’t make it further.. Facing Arroyos, who opened from the button with 3,000,000, Mizrachi 3-bet jammed from the small blind for 7,700,000 with . Arroyos made the call with . Clearly Mizrachi was leading but the flop was favorable to Arroyos and neither the turn nor the river helped the former who exited in fifth place.
Andrew who eventually won the event now dropped to less than ten big blinds, but after a few hands, he sprung back up by doubling through Arroyos.
Sandeep Pulusani then bounced off in fourth place after he faced Arroyos who flopped an ace-pair against his flush and straight draws. With no help from the community cards, Pulusani was eliminated.
Next, Robert Cicchelli bowed out in third place when Arroyos opened from the small blind and he raised the pot to 4,800,000 from the big blind. Arroyos called and checked in the dark, even before the flop was dealt. Cicchelli bet out his remaining 3,500,000, on which Arroyos called holding for a pair of eights and was leading over Cicchelli’s . The turn and the river bricked out for Cicchelli who was busted to set up the heads-up match between Andrew and Arroyos.
Heads-up, Pete Arroyos limped in from the button with and Andrew raised the pot to 4,800,000 holding . Arroyos called to see the flop open , Andrew bet and Arroyos called putting himself all in for 4,800,000. The turn and the river blanked out for Arroyos, bringing victory for Andrew, with Arroyos finishing as the runner-up!
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Tim Andrew – $116,015
2. Pete Arroyos – $71,703
3. Robert Cicchelli – $53,709
4. Sandeep Pulusani – $40,379
5. Michael Mizrachi – $30,461
6. James Sievers – $23,076
7. Kevin Nomberto – $17,541
8. Raymond Walton – $13,384
9. Srinivas Balasubramanian – $10,250
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Content and image courtesy: WSOP.com.