After 50 days and 89 bracelets awarded, the World Series of Poker came to an end in the early morning hours of Tuesday. With the conclusion of the Main Event, players now wait nine months to do it all over again. Accordingly, here is one last WSOP Weekly.
In the last two weeks, the focus may have been on the Main Event but there were still plenty of other tournaments making news. The news from those events included final table appearances from Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, and big bracelet wins online.
Hossein Ensan wins bracelet in first-ever Main Event
After a marathon heads-up battle broadcast live on ESPN, Hossein Ensan came out on top in the Main Event. Originally from Iran (the third winner from the country), he’s lived in Germany for several years.
For the win, Ensan takes home $10 million in prize money and a massive gold bracelet. This tournament marked not just his first Main Event entry, but his first WSOP cash in Las Vegas of any kind.
“I am so happy,” he said, after the win. “I thank my fans at home in Germany, also in Iran and my fans, my buddies here. This is the best feeling in my life. Unbelievable! I am so happy, I’m here with the bracelet in hand. What can I say?”
Italian pro Dario Sammartino finished in second after moving all-in on a board of Ts2d6s9c. He held 84s for flush and inside straight draws, but Ensan insta-called with pocket kings. After a queen fell on the river, the title belonged to Ensan.
Sammartino received $6 million for his second place finish. However, the real story was the new champ, whose rail (which included well-known pro Dominik Nitsche) erupted in cheers when the last card hit the board.
Prior to the win, Ensen had $2.7 million in career live tournament earnings. His win breaks a long streak of twenty-somethings winning the title.
At age 55, Ensan becomes the first Main Event winner over 50 in 20 years. Noel Furlong won the title in 1999 at age 62.
Though a regular player on the tournament scene, Ensan still considers himself a “poker amateur.” If that’s true, he’s now one of the best-known poker amateurs in the world.
Negreanu comes up just short
In the $100,000 High Roller, plenty of eyes were on poker superstar Daniel Negreanu as he battled heads-up for his seventh bracelet.
In a field full of pros, the final table featured Nick Schulman (third), Igor Kurganov (fourth), Brandon Adams (fifth), and Dominik Nitsche (sixth).
Negreanu began the final table on the short stack, but eventually played his way to go heads-up against Keith Tilston for the title. The Austin native entered the final table as chip leader, and though he faced stiff competition, he never relinquished the top position to earn his first bracelet and $2.8 million.
With his second-place finish, Negreanu won $1.7 million. It was his second runner-up finish of the summer. Overall, he’s had 17 cashes during this Series and has won more than $2 million.
Phil Hellmuth, Tony Dunst go deep in final event
The $5,000 NLHE Turbo closed out the non-Main Event tournaments this year. The two-day event featured a pair of World Poker Tour broadcasters.
Commentator Tony Dunst took runner-up for $374,886. The finish capped a nice summer for Dunst, who also finished runner-up in the WPT Tournament of Champions in early-June for $250,265.
Phil Hellmuth, host of the WPT Raw Deal segment, won the event last year. This year’s event represented his last chance at bracelet No. 16, but he ended up taking sixth for $94,899.
In the end, it was 27-year-old UK poker pro Carl Shaw winning his first bracelet for $606,562. Hellmuth’s bracelet quest will have to wait until next summer.
Other winners and top finishers
Here’s a look at some of the other action in the WSOP’s final days:
- $3,000 PLO Six-Handed – Two-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Alan Sternberg won his first bracelet. The New Yorker earned $448,392.
- $1,500 Bracelet Winners Only – This was a special event added for the WSOP’s 50th anniversary. Just as its name implies, it was only open for bracelet winners. From the field of 185 players, Shankar Pillai came out on top for his second bracelet and $71,580. The New York native also has a WPT title and $1.8 million in live tournament winnings. New Jersey’s Michael Gagliano finished second for $44,232.
- $3,000 NLHE Six-Handed – Getting more women into poker has been a big theme over the last year or so. In that vein, Stephanie Dao landed her first bracelet and $133,189. Her win, as well Susan Faber’s in the $500 Salute to Warriors, served as a bright spot for those efforts. Dao is originally from Vietnam and now lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
- $1,500 Limit Hold’em – David “ODB” Baker had a goal this year to win a big no-limit hold’em tournament. He did that in March when he took down the WPT LA Poker Classic for just over $1 million. So, to win a limit hold’em title at the WSOP is just icing on the cake. The win earned Baker his second bracelet and $161,139.
Three more add bracelets in online events
The event attracted 1,859 entries. Taylor Paur of San Diego earned his second bracelet and $149,241.
That wasn’t the only online action in the series’ waning days. In the $800 WSOP.com NLHE Six-Handed, Canadian Shawn Buchanan took the title for his first bracelet and $223,119.
Buchanan is well-known in the poker world. He now has almost $7 million in live tournament winnings.
Another well-known name in the poker world won his first bracelet in an online event. Brandon Adams won the $3,200 WSOP.com High Roller for $411,561.
Player of the Year race heads overseas
With the events finished in Nevada, the race for the WSOP Play of the Year shifts to the WSOP Europe. That series features 11 events Oct. 13 – Nov. 4 at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.
Australia’s Robert Campbell sits atop the standings after winning two bracelets this summer. Just behind him is 2018 POY winner Shaun Deeb, who made the trip to Europe last year to secure the title.
Deeb had a big summer again with second, fifth, seventh, and ninth-place finishes. That included 17 cashes. There’s a good chance he’ll be heading to Europe for a run at back-to-back POY titles.
Just behind Deeb is Negreanu. He and Deeb have sparred online in recent months regarding player markups. Negreanu seems ready to chase the title later this year in Europe.
Negreanu is the only two-time POY winner. He’s commented this year that he’d like to win a third so no one can catch him any time soon.
Here’s a look at the Top 10 in the POY race:
Rank Name Points
1 Robert Campbell 3,418
2 Shaun Deeb 3,280
3 Daniel Negreanu 3,166
4 Daniel Zack 3,126
5 Phil Hui 2,881
6 Jason Gooch 2,643
7 Joseph Cheong 2,595
8 David “ODB” Baker 2,480
9 Chris Ferguson 2,476
10 Anthony Zinno 2,443
(Featured image courtesy of WSOP)