After six hours of play, Yaser Al-Keliddar has taken down Event #70: $3,000 Limit Hold'em 6-Handed, here at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. The US player walked away the proud owner of his first bracelet and is $154,338 better off after beating a 221-strong field.
Al-Keliddar started the day as joint chip leader with Juha Helppi and the pair had three-times more chips than their nearest rival when they sat down to play in the Amazon room earlier. It was little surprise that the eight remaining players were quickly picked off one by one throughout the day.
Official Final Table Results
|1||Yaser Al-Keliddar||United States||$154,338|
|3||Justin Thurlow||United States||$62,187|
|5||Mike Schneider||United States||28,708|
|6||Barry Greenstein||United States||$20,358|
It began with an eighth-place finish for Joao Vieira who cashed for $14,871 after getting the last of his chips in with queen high versus Mike Schneider's king high. This took the final seven to the unofficial final table and, about an hour later, Won Lee was the next to hit the rail. He got it in good on an ace-high board with ace-queen against Justin Thurlow's ace-three, which also had an open-ended straight draw. Lee didn't manage to dodge, as a three came on the river and he finished in seventh place for $14,871.
With the official final table reached, the next to fall was Barry Greenstein. Greenstein had less than five big blinds when he ran pocket sixes into Al-Keliddar's pocket kings. He finished in sixth place for $20,358. Mike Schneider wasn't far behind him and got the last of his chips in from the button with jack-nine against Helppi's ace-eight suited. He couldn't find any help and left in fifth place for $28,708.
After making it to the top four, it took another two hours to lose another player. This time it was Andrew Yip who won $41,665 for his fourth-place finish. Just as with most of the other players before him, he was very short and got it in with king-nine against Justin Thurlow's ace-king. With no nine on the board, he made his way to the payouts desk.
Justin Thurlow couldn't make it beyond third place and will take home $62,187 for his efforts. He opened the button with pocket deuces and both his opponents called. He had less than a full-size bet left and got it in ahead of Helppi's ace-eight but didn't manage to hold all the way to the river, which left Al-Keliddar and Helppi heads up.
Al-Keliddar was the two-to-one favorite as the pair began their battle for the crown, and over the course of 45 minutes, his stack went up and down until the last hand, where Al-Keliddar's raise committed him to his all-in. It was ten-four against Al-Keliddar's pocket fours, and with the runout favoring the preflop favorite, the Finn narrowly missed out on the top prize, having to settle for second place and $95,380 in prize money.
That left Al-Keliddar the last man standing. Speaking in an interview afterward, he explained what it meant to him to win the event.
"I'm relieved because I was tied for the chip lead heading into the day, so to have blown it would have been rough. I had a lot of friends from back home who were really supportive, cheering me on, and that helped a lot. I didn't want to let anyone down. Apparently, my home casino back in the D.C. area is excited for me, which is great. First bracelet. I wasn't gonna play this thing until an hour and a half before."
Born in England, Al-Keliddar moved to Washington, D.C. at two years old. He is a self-described "business guy" with "some rental properties" who plays a lot of poker, has been to law school and even had a spell as a stand-up comedian.
The comedy is something that Al-Keliddar thinks adds to his game: "I like to have a lot of fun at the table and joke around, especially if my chip stack is doing well. I just like to have fun at the table I think it's important to stay loose. If you make your opponents laugh, that's good. It helps you get people to play with you over and over again."
After spending six weeks in Vegas, Al-Keliddar hopes to take some time off. A huge congratulations go to the newest WSOP bracelet winner, here's hoping he enjoys some well-deserved time off.
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