Justin Saliba Ships WSOP Online $5K Event for $254K

Justin Saliba defeated Jonathan Dokler heads up to win Event #15 of the 2021 WSOP Online (WPT photo).

The biggest buy-in event on the 2021 World Series of Poker Online WSOP.com schedule brought out the big guns and after three hours of final table play in Event #15 ($5,000 NLHE), Justin Saliba had his first career bracelet and a quarter-million dollar score.

Saliba, whose previous best WSOP score was a 13th place finish in Event #18 ($1,000 NLHE Turbo Deepstack) in 2020, came to the final table third in chips trailing Martin Zamani and leader Jamere Tyson. Jonathan Dokler used the early stages of the final table to take the chip lead, but Saliba busted the last three players on his way to victory.

It took nearly half an hour before the first player was eliminated. Dokler opened to 28,000 from the button. Thomas Boivin re-raised to 95,000 from the small blind before Michael Holtz moved all in from the big blind for 400,295. Dokler called but Boivin, with just 59,682 behind, folded. Holtz showed 9c9h but found out he was in rough shape when Dokler showed AdAs. The board ran out JcTd2sKdJd to eliminate Holtz in ninth place and Dokler moved into the chip lead.

Holtz didn’t stick around much longer. Two hands after Dokler eliminated Holtz, he finished off Boivin. Dokler raised to 28,000 from the hijack and Boivin moved all in for 55,482 from the cutoff. Dokler called and showed Qc6s while Boivin tabled 3h3s. The 9c9h9s flop gave Boivin a full house. The As[ changed nothing but the 6d river gave Dokler a bigger full house and Boivin was sent to the rail in eighth.

More than 40 minutes passed before the next player was eliminated. After Dokler handled the first two eliminations, Tyson took over that responsibility and in the process, took the chip lead. Tyson opened to 40,000 from the cutoff before John Riordan moved all in for 263,929 from the button. Tyson called and showed 6c6h while Riordan was racing with AdKh. The 9c7h3d flop changed nothing and Riordan could only watch as the 8h turn and 2h river failed to connect with his hole cards and he was out in seventh place.

Tyson only had to wait six minutes to find his second victim. Action folded to Joshua Ray on the button and he moved all in for 291,063 and Tyson re-raised to 905,139 from the small blind forcing Jesse Yaginuma to fold his big blind. Ray showed AcQd which was in rough shape against Tyson’s QcQs. Ray found no life preserver on the Jc5d4cKd5s runout and had to settle for a sixth place finish.

Down to just eight big blinds, Zamani moved all in for 190,037 from UTG and Yaginuma opted to call from the big blind. Zamani was slightly ahead with Ac8s against the Kc9d of Yaginuma. The KdTd2h flop moved Yaginuma into the lead and he didn’t have to relinquish it as the Jc turn and 8h river completed the board and Zamani was out in fifth.

After showing early dominance, Tyson maintained his chip lead through more than an hour of four-handed play before relinquishing most of his stack. From the button, Tyson moved all in for 1,482,908 and action folded to Saliba in the big blind who called for his last 1,320,023. Tyson showed 7c7d and Saliba was well ahead with KdKh. Tyson wasn’t able to connect with the JhTd5h flop and Saliba had him drawing dead after the Ks fell on the turn. The Jd completed the board and left Tyson with just 162,885 as Saliba took a massive chip lead which he used to eliminate Tyson on the very next hand.

It took 15 minutes for Saliba to find a spot to dash another player’s bracelet dreams. Saliba raised to 100,000 from the button and Dokler folded the small blind. Yaginuma moved all in from the big blind for 778,255. Saliba called and flipped over AdKd which had Yaginuma’s AcTd dominated. The AhQh3cKc5c runout cemented Yaginum’s third place finish and sent Saliba into heads up play with a 4-1 chip advantage over Dokler.

It didn’t take Saliba long to put a wrap on the victory. Three minutes after sending Yaginuma out, Saliba eliminated Dokler. Saliba called after Dokler open-shoved for 578,814. Saliba held KsJc while Dokler had live cards with 5h3h. The AhKc8d flop gave Saliba second pair and left Dokler needing runner-runner help. The Kd turn ended all hope for Dokler and the 7c completed the board to officially eliminate Dokler and give Saliba his first WSOP bracelet.

As the highest buy-in event on the schedule, the 188-entry field was full of some of the game’s best players, some of whom worked their way into the money. Ye Yuan picked up his sixth cash of the series, coming in 23rd for $8,930. Just 24 hours after winning his first WSOP bracelet, Gio Demers finished 22nd for $8,930. Jason Somerville (18th – $9,870), Ali Imsirovic (17th – $9,870), Andrew Lichtenberger (13th – $12,220) and two-time bracelet winner Ryan Leng (12th – $12,220) also worked their way into the money.

Event #15 Final Table Payouts

  1. Justin ‘Jsaliba2’ Saliba – $253,800
  2. Jonathan ‘Art.Vandelay’ Dokler – $148,500
  3. Jesse ‘Patient0’ Yaginuma – $84,600
  4. Jamere ‘OrcinusOrca’ Tyson – $65,800
  5. Martin ‘bathroomline’ Zamani – $56,400
  6. Joshua ‘Zeal1906’ Ray – $47,000
  7. John ‘Macallan25’ Riordan – $35,720
  8. Thomas ‘HavanaClub’ Boivin – $22,560
  9. Michael ‘BrockLesnar’ Holtz – $15,980