WSOP Weekly: Does A Pro Always Win The Heads-Up Event? (Spoiler: No)

Sean Chaffin June 10, 2019 209 Reads

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) enters its third week of action with plenty of big names looking for titles. Here’s your weekly look at all the WSOP news in Las Vegas.

But first, if you need a quick hit of information, see below:

For a complete guide to the WSOP, click here.

For a complete programming guide on watching the WSOP on TV or online, click here.

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Out of the blue at the WSOP

In recent years, the $10,000 Heads-up Championship has become a well-regarded title among pros. It’s usually a tough field with bracket-style competition.

Winning the title adds a player’s name to some elite company. Notable players who have won include Adrian Mateos, Justin Bonomo, and Brian Hastings.

However, poker always has the ability to surprise. This year, with only one small past WSOP cash, previously-unknown player Sean Swingruber topped pro Ben Yu for the title on Saturday.

Swingruber, of Venice, Calif., took home $186,356 for his efforts. Normally a cash game grinder back home in California, he seemed to come out of nowhere to claim the title.

That anonymity allowed him to be more aggressive, he believes. He took advantage and now has more than $316,000 in live tournament winnings.

WSOP Winners Circle

The Big 50

One of the great things about poker is that recreational players can battle with seasoned pros – and win. That was the case when the Big 50 finally wrapped up on June 7.

After a record number of entries for a live tournament, 28,371, Femi Fashakin won his first bracelet and more than $1.1 million. Originally from Nigeria and now living in Orlando, Fashakin works as a software engineer.

Fashakin played competitive chess at a younger age, and that experience helped him keep his calm on the way to the win. In order to pick up the bracelet, he made quite a comeback, as he faced a significant chip disadvantage with only four players left.

The $50,000 High Roller

In the $50,000 High Roller, the UK’s Ben Heath topped a field full of pros. He added his first bracelet and $1.5 million from a stacked final table that included Andrew Lichtenberger, Sam Soverel, Nick Petrangelo, Chance Kornuth, and Elio Fox. He told WSOP.com,

“It feels better than I thought it would. I was real sure when I was younger that I didn’t really want one. I’d take second. But I really wanted one this year.”

$5,000 No-limit Hold’em

Many poker fans were watching the final table of the $5,000 NLHE (Event 11) closely. Poker phenoms Ali ImsirovicMaria Ho and Shannon Shorr were looking for their first bracelets.

However, it was not to be for the three of them. In the end, Daniel Strelitz took the title and $442,385. It was his first bracelet also. He now has WPT and WSOP titles.

$1,500 No-Limit 2-7

Israel’s Yuval Bronshtein was the winner of the $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 for $96,278. New Jersey’s Ajay Chabra finished runner-up for $59,491.

Big final tables at the 2019 WSOP

Longtime poker pro Eli Elezra released a new autobiography recently. However, he will add another nice chapter if he can finish off the $1,500 Seven Card Stud final table on Monday.

Elezra leads the remaining six players with 1.2 million chips. The only player that is still in striking distance is three-time WPT champion Anthony Zinno.

Make sure not to miss this clash on CBS All Access today at 4 p.m. Eastern.

Another big name leads the final table of the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball. Jean-Robert Bellande enters Monday as chip leader. He rallied late in the evening to take the chip lead.

However, he cannot afford to relax. Dangerous players like Prahlad Friedman and Paul Volpe are still in the hunt.

Bellande added his first bracelet last summer and is looking to repeat this year. However, in order to do so, he must contend with players like Prahlad Freeman, Darren EliasJim Bechtel, and Paul Volpe.

The WSOP’s Week Ahead

Event 19: Millionaire Maker

Play continues this week with the winner taking home a cool million bucks. Former poker tournament reporter Sam Cosby led the pack after Day 2.

Several other big names are still alive, including 2015 Main Event winner Joe McKeehen, Calvin Anderson, and Kathy Liebert. The event attracted another huge field – 8,809 entries.

Event 26: $2,620 No-Limit Hold’em Marathon

You’re in it for the long haul to win this one. The event plays out over six days with the final table not playing out until June 15.

Players get plenty of time with 100-minute levels. It’s a popular event and attracted 1,637 entries last summer. Michael Addamo took home the title for a hefty $653,581.

Event 29: $10,000 HORSE

The mixed-game specialists will be out looking for this title when play begins on June 11. The three-day event features 60-minute levels on Day 1 and 90 minutes on Days 2-4.

Last year, John Hennigan took the title for $414,692. He followed that up only days later with a runner-up in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $765,837.

Event 35: $10,000 Dealer’s Choice Six-Handed

The dealer’s choice tournaments bring a bit of the home game to the Rio. But know your stuff before plunking down those dollars. There are numerous games on the menu with every type of Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud.

That also includes more obscure games as well. Mixed gamers will be looking to add this nice title to their resumés. The action gets underway June 14.

Event 38: $600 WSOP.com Online NLHE Knockout Bounty

The big Sunday online action continues. A federal court recently ruling that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting.

WSOP expects to allow New Jersey players to compete for bracelets in all WSOP online events.

“Barring something unforeseen, we plan on continuing with shared liquidity between Nevada and New Jersey for the remaining eight WSOP gold bracelet events between now and July 14,” Caesars Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky said.

This event offers some KO fun and that shared liquidity should certainly benefit registration and prize pool numbers.

Bargain buy-ins

This coming week is seniors week – a fun time in the Rio when old school players take a crack at a big win. The Seniors (50 and over) Championship brings in players from around the globe – and some positive vibes too.

Here’s a look at that tournament and some other lower buy-in event set for this week:

  • Event 25: $600 PLO Deepstack – Omaha fans are in luck. This new lower-price point event should bring in big numbers.
  • Event 28: $1,000 NLHE – Hold’em fans will be out in force for a shot at big money. The three-day event begins June 11.
  • Event 30: $1,000 PLO – Another nice low buy-in event for Omaha fans is set for June 12.
  • Event 32: Seniors NLHE – Last year’s event featured a record 5,919 players, with Matthew David coming out on top for $662,676. There should be quite a buzz at the Rio when play gets underway June 14.
  • Event 34: $1,000 Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em – Looking for even more chips? This one gives players a starting stack of 40,000 chips and two starting flights (June 14 and 15). The Double Stack usually features a solid score – last year, Robert Peacock took home $644,244 along with the bracelet.
  • Event #37: $800 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack – This bargain-priced tournament is set to begin June 16. However, this event is no minor affair – the new three-day event guarantees a $750,000 prize pool.
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