The final six players from a 230-entry field (181 unique entries plus 49 reentries) in the 2018 World Series of Poker Event #42: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller returned to the ESPN main stage on Saturday to play down to a winner.
The final table included heavyweights like defending champ James Calderaro, Poker Hall of Famer Scotty Nguyen, and the red-hot Jason Koon. However, none of those players made it to the final two. Instead, it was a rematch of the 2017 WSOP Event #34: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship — when Ben Yu beat Shaun Deeb heads up to win his second bracelet.
The duo collided once again, each looking to join the ranks of Sammy Farha, David “Chip” Reese, and David Sklansky as three-time bracelet winners. The fourth edition of the tournament, which for the first time allowed for a single reentry, ended with Deeb getting his revenge.
“I made a joke to him at the unofficial final table,” Deeb revealed. “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.”
The $1,402,683 blew away Deeb’s previous best cash (not counting the $1 million he won in a One Drop satellite) of $318,857 for winning the 2015 WSOP Event #15: $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em Championship. His other bracelet came at the 2016 WSOP when he took down Event #49: $1,500 Seven Card Stud for $111,101.
“I had a great start to the day, got the chip lead,” Deeb said after the win. “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.”
He added: “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.”
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in USD)|
|1||Shaun Deeb||United States||$1,402,683|
|2||Ben Yu||United States||$866,924|
|3||Scotty Nguyen||United States||$592,875|
|4||James Calderaro||United States||$414,134|
|5||Jason Koon||United States||$295,606|
|6||Ryan Tosoc||United States||$215,718|
It took just four hands for the first player to fall. It happened when the short-stacked Ryan Tosoc raised pot preflop and just called Yu’s three-bet to 900K. Tosoc then jammed his last 325,000 after flopping middle pair with a flush draw and Yu looked him up with top pair of aces. Neither the turn nor river helped Tosoc and he hit the rail in sixth place for $215,718.
On Hand #31 of the final table, Deeb raised and then called a three-bet from Koon. The latter shoved the nine-high flop with queens and Deeb snap-called him with top two pair, nines and sevens. Koon picked up a straight draw on the turn but failed to get there on the river. Koon took home $295,606 for his fifth-place finish.
Calderaro was looking to go back-to-back in arguably one of the toughest tournaments of the year, but his quest came up three spots shy thanks to a nasty river card. It happened when both he and Deeb got it in with top two on the flop. The odds favored a chop, but running cards wound up giving Deeb a backdoor six-high straight to win the pot. Calderaro’s $414,134 for finishing fourth brought his two-year total up to $1,703,208 in prize money.
Three-handed play lasted for a while before Yu double through Nguyen, which left the Poker Hall of Famer short. The 1998 WSOP Main Event champ soon got it in with two kings and a ten-nine and was up against Yu’s queens with an ace-three. An ace hit the flop and Nguyen was eliminated in third place for $592,875, the fourth-largest score of his illustrious career.
Yu and Deeb both held the chip lead during the short heads-up match. Before long, Deeb got his opponent on the ropes before delivering the final blow. It happened on a five-four-deuce two-heart flop when Yu called all in holding a jack-six-six-five with two hearts against Deeb, who held aces with a gutshot to a seven. The black deuce and eight on the turn and river respectively sent Yu to the rail as runner-up for a career-high $866,924.
History of the $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller