A new champion has been crowned at the 2018 World Series of Poker and it was Israel's Timur Margolin that emerged victorious and lifted the coveted gold bracelet after defeating Ismael Bojang heads up in Event #43: $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em. The tournament had attracted a field of 1,248 entries to create a prize pool of $2,808,000, and the final six players returned for an extra day to determine the winner on the Twitch live stream table in the Brasilia room.
Eventually, it was Margolin that triumphed in front of an enthusiastic rail from Israel and claimed the first-place payout of $507,274. Bojang was once again denied his maiden bracelet after plenty of close calls and had to settle for second place and a payday of $313,444. The German, who now calls Vienna, Austria his home, is usually known as a mixed-game specialist, albeit three of his 15 WSOP final tables in the USA, Europe, and Australia come from no-limit hold'em tournaments.
Before the restart of the six-handed final, Margolin said, “I got second in this tournament in 2015. I am tired of second places,” and it turned out to be a roller coaster ride to victory.
"I started with kind of a big chip lead, so I thought ... finally! But obviously, Ismael is a very strong player and it could go either way, and he had some strong hands. All of a sudden the stacks were opposite and he had a two-to-one lead. Oh my god, not again! Will this ever end?" Margolin said in the interview after his victory.
However, the short and very intense heads-up duel turned around quickly and soon after it was Margolin and his rail that had reason to celebrate.
"But I have just been playing like I have all tournament. I am feeling in a better place mentally nowadays, I am just happy to be here, happy for the experience anyways. I felt good, and I would do the same decisions, tried not to let it affect me, and then some cards came my way and that's it."
Down to the last four players, all short stacks ended up doubling and Margolin admitted that it could have gone either way. While cash games were his main focus in the last few years, tournaments have always been his game and Margolin already racked up a six-figure score earlier this year.
One crucial hand saw him double through Ferguson and the Israeli was in need of help as he got it in behind. A blank flop changed nothing, but Margolin predicted the card and the suit of turn and river, much to the surprise of the rail and himself, to get back into contention.
"That was a first for me. I don't ever get one card, but that's how I have been running in this one, calling out exact turn and river! I was sitting there and thought, 'What am I doing here?'"
Minutes later, Margolin also claimed the remainder of Ferguson's chips and sent Michael Marder as well as Bojang to the rail. He becomes the ninth player to win a bracelet for his home country of Israel and will boost his tournament earnings to more than $1.5 million.
He will take another shot at more glory during the 2018 WSOP. "I am going to play a lot. I will play the Main (Event)," Margolin confirmed before heading out to celebrate with his friends.
Final Result Event #43: $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em
|3||Michael Marder||United States||$223,564|
|4||Chris Ferguson||United States||$161,371|
|5||Dylan Linde||United States||$117,894|
|6||Ryan Laplante||United States||$87,189|
|9||Josh Bergman||United States||$38,009|
About the tournament
The money bubble burst on Day 2 and among those to head to the payout desk before the end of play were such big names as Nick Schulman (178th place, $3,743), Tony Dunst (122nd place, $4,216), Asi Moshe (94th place, $4,579), 2018 WSOP bracelet winner Michael Addamo (77th place, $5,653), Dutch Boyd (76th place, $5,653), Chance Kornuth (40th place, $10,226), and Taylor Paur (38th place, $10,226).
Only 34 hopefuls remained on Day 3 and Seth Davies was leading the pack. Davies narrowly missed out on the final table and bowed out in 10th place. Prior to that, Andreas Klatt (29th place, $12,345), David Peters (20th place, $15,051), and Frederik Jensen (11th place, $29,563) were sent to the rail. Andreas Haneberg made his first WSOP event ever count (8th place, $49,498), and Jeff Hakim (7th place, $65,284) became the last casualty of the day after almost eight full levels. Six-time WSOP bracelet winner Chris Ferguson was at the top of the leader board by then.
Action of the final day
In just the third hand of the day, Ryan Laplante three-bet shoved for his last 12 big blinds out of the small blind, facing a raise by Chris Ferguson and a call by Timur Margolin. While Ferguson folded, Margolin snap-called and his ace-king suited remained ahead of Laplante's ace-jack throughout a ten-high board to reduce the field to the last five hopefuls.
Just half an hour later, the field was reduced to the last four. Dylan Linde, who entered the day with the second-shortest stack, moved all in with ace-ten and Ismael Bojang isolated with ace-jack from one seat over. Linde paired his ten, but Bojang got there with a straight on the river to eliminate Linde in fifth place.
Down to the last four, several double-ups took place with Margolin and Ferguson at the realm of the action. All four remaining players were at risk of elimination at one point, and a key hand that changed the outcome of the tournament was a double-up of Margolin through Ferguson. Margolin got it in behind with queen-ten suited against the ace-jack of Ferguson, but paired the queen on the turn. During the showdown, he even predicted the exact card and suit of the last two community cards: the queen of hearts and the eight of diamonds.
Shortly after, it was all over for Ferguson, and it was Margolin that finished the job he started a few minutes prior. Ferguson defended his big blind with king-deuce suited and check-shoved his nut flush draw. Margolin called with ace-queen for top pair and held up with two blanks on turn and river.
Down to the last three, Michael Marder doubled once through Bojang before the second attempt against Margolin wasn't crowned by success. Marder's queen-nine suited found no help against the ace-deuce suited of Margolin on a king-high board.
“I am happy to be here,” Bojang said just before the start of the heads-up duel, and entered the battle for the coveted gold bracelet with an almost one-to-three chip deficit. Bojang quickly turned things around after doubling up and winning another big pot, before Margolin limp-shoved kings and doubled through Bojang's nines.
The showdowns didn't end just yet, as Bojang regained the lead only to lose the final two all-ins. First Margolin got there with queen-jack against ace-king suited, and one hand later it was all over. Bojang was all in with ace-deuce suited and Margolin looked him up with king-queen. A king appeared on the flop, followed by a queen on the turn, and Bojang's gutshot straight draw bricked off.
What followed was pure ecstasy for the Israelian rail and disappointment for the Germans. This concludes the PokerNews live reporting for the event, while many further WSOP events are left for the summer.