If you’ve played poker, you’ve certainly heard some “chip and a chair” stories where players have come back from sometimes overwhelming odds to either progress through or win a tournament. Most of those stories don’t involve being heads up for a bracelet with a nearly 11-1 chip disadvantage but last week, Steven Wolansky’s back was against the wall at the final table of a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the 2016 World Series of Poker.
The Floridian ended up finding a double up late in Day 3 to cut that chip disadvantage and after a few more sizable pots, bagged up for Day 4. That final day saw Wolansky and California’sWen Long Jin return with even stacks and with a rambunctious rail behind him, Wolansky claimed his second career World Series of Poker bracelet.
“Coming into the final day, I had a huge group of friends cheering for me and even though we were even, it felt like I’ve already climbed the mountain. Being down 11-1 and then even was an amazing feeling.” Wolansky said. “The last day, everything just clicked. I made a few hands and a few good bluffs.”
Eventually, Wolansky finally did “climb the mountain” and joined a group of players that have added additional bracelets to their trophy case this summer. Shaun Deeb was the most recent to add a second career title, claiming victory the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event. Both Deeb and Wolansky are primarily mixed game players and the latter admits that a big score in a No Limit Hold’em event helps moving through the rest of the Series.
“Any time I have a big NLH score it’s a big confidence boost for me. I still look up to a lot of the elite NL players and know I’m not quiet there yet.” Wolansky said. “I’m okay with that.”
Elite or not, Wolansky’s second WSOP victory came in a very different way than his first. In 2014, he navigated a 241-player field to claim the $1,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven event but this time, there were over 2,000 players to outlast.
While Wolansky hopes to have “fun” in other WSOP events, he’s also been having some fun in other areas, including the stock market and games like Magic The Gathering and Hearthstone. He got into options trading close to 18 months ago and is trying to learn, while investing and making money outside of poker.
Wolansky might not play Magic or Hearthstone professionally but he still plays those games at a high level and admits they will always be passions of his.
“There are some two to three month spans where they take the driver’s seat over poker but I still consider poker my main passion. After this win, I may take a few trips to play in some more events,” said Wolansky.
Those trips will have to wait until after the WSOP Main Event though, as that is, like a majority of poker players, the event Wolansky always has marked on his calendar. That event might be marked but thus far in his tournament career, Wolansky has yet to cash in the Main Event, something he hopes changes now that he’s riding high after his second WSOP bracelet win.