WSOP: Juha Helppi, Joao Vieira Grab First Gold Bracelets

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Juha Helppi became the latest legend to win their first WSOP bracelet. (WSOP photo).

If the 2019 World Series of Poker has any sort of theme, it might be centered around the great players how have eliminated the zero next to their personal bracelet count. While Day 1B of the Main Event was taking up most of the available tables on Thursday, two more talented and respected players picked up their first taste of WSOP victory.

Juha Helppi Wins $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship

Juha Helppi is an online poker OG. The 42-year-old Finnish pro has somehow managed to receive fewer accolades or hype during his career than fellow countrymen Patrik Antonius or Ilari Sahamies. That might change now though after Helppi beat Mike Lancaster heads-up to win the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship for $306,622 and a WSOP bracelet.

“This means a lot to me to win a bracelet. It’s such a long journey,” Helppi said.

The win comes 51 weeks after Helppi finished runner-up to Yaser Al-Keliddar in a $3,000 Six-Max No Limit Hold’em event.

“Of course it feels great. I don’t feel that tired right now because it’s so exciting to play for a bracelet,” Helppi said. “I’ve been coming here since 2003.”

Lancaster earned a career-best $189,505 for finishing second.

Josh Arieh, who just last week finished second in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, picked up a fifth-place finish for $53,095.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Juha Helppi – $306,622
  2. Mike Lancaster – $189,505
  3. Tommy Hang – $133,718
  4. Anthony Marsico – $96,272
  5. Kevin Song – $70,750
  6. Josh Arieh – $53,095
  7. Kyle Ray – $40,709
  8. Qinghai Pan – $31,902
  9. Robert Como – $25,566

Joao Vieira Defeats Joe Cada to Ship $5,000 Six Max NLHE

Joe Cada almost did it again. The 2009 WSOP Main Event champion came within a whisper of winning his fifth WSOP bracelet but Portugal’s Joao Vieira had other ideas. Vieira, who had cashed six times this summer before this event, beat Cada heads-up to win his first WSOP bracelet.

“In Portugal, we say that the finals are meant to be won. As soon as you get heads-up, it doesn’t matter if it’s Joe Cada, John Doe… it doesn’t matter. At that point I’m just trying to compete, trying to do the best I can,” Vieira said. “I made a big hand right away, and as soon as I took the lead, I tried to close the deal.”

The 29-year-old recently made the decision to move from Portugal to London, England to escape the ringfenced online poker market. This past Spring he picked up two PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker titles and finished second on the leaderboard.

“I just moved (London) really recently. Four months ago,” Vieira said. “It’s a good place in terms of the tax situation there, and it’s a good place to live. I have a lot of friends and family.”

The win came with a $758,011 payday for Vieira. Cada, meanwhile, had to console himself with the $468,488 second-place prize money. This marks Cada’s second career runner-up finish and eighth time winning more than $100,00. Last summer he finished fifth in the Main Event and then immediately entered, and won, the $1,500 Closer event.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Joao Vieira – $758,011
  2. Joe Cada – $468,488
  3. Jamie O’Connor – $317,956
  4. Pierre Calamusa – $219,468
  5. Olivier Busquet – $154,112
  6. Barry Hutter – $110,127