Somehow, Wednesday night at the 2018 World Series of Poker will probably go down as one of the most surreal in the 49-year history of the event. Not only did the Main Event reach a final table in a dramatic fashion, but the most decorated player in WSOP history, Phil Hellmuth, added to his legend with yet another bracelet.
This is the Main Event
There were 26 players at the start of Day 7 of the WSOP Main Event but over a 12-hour span, 17 players were eliminated leaving just the nine players to make up the final table.
Shortstacks Jeffrey Trudeau, Barry Hutter and Bart Lybaert all fell early with Eric Froehlich, who started Day 6 with the 10th biggest stack, getting coolered with pocket queens against Alex Lynskey’s pocket kings to join them on the rail. Ivan Luca, former November Niner Sylvain Loosli, Frederik Brink and Ryan Phan all busted to leave the unofficial final table of 10 players waiting for one more elimination before stopping play for the night. The final hand was one for the ages.
Nicolas Manion raised to 1,500,000 from UTG. Antoine Labat called from middle before Yueqi Zhu came over the top, moving all in for 24,700,000 from late position. Manion responded by moving all in for 43,100,000. Labat, the biggest stack of the three, took some time before eventually calling.
Zhu revealed [kh][ks], Manion tabled [ah][as] and Labata turned over [kc][kd]. The board ran out [jd][7c][4c][3s][jc] to eliminate Zhu in tenth place, leaving Labata with just 8,050,000 and boosting Manion into the chip lead with a nearly full triple up.
“Somehow this is real life,” said Manion, who finished with 112,775,000. “When I got both calls, I flipped over my hand, I went straight to my rail and looked up at the TV and saw they both had pocket kings to my aces.”
Michael Dyer, who spent most of the day Wednesday in the chip lead, finished just behind Manion with 112,775,000.
Remarkably, the final table includes repeat appearance from a Main Event champion from the November Nine era for the first time in history. Joe Cada, who won the 2009 WSOP Main Event, finished with 23,675,000, good enough for the sixth biggest stack.
“It was a lot more of a grind this time. I respect the tournament more,” said Cada, who was down to 9,000 on Day 1 before rebuilding his stack. ”
The final table resumes at 5:30 pm PT with the ESPN broadcast starting at 6:00 pm PT. The current schedule calls for play to continue Thursday until six players remain.
Final Table Chip Counts
- Nicolas Manion – 112,775,000
- Michael Dyer – 109,175,000
- Tony Miles – 42,750,000
- John Cynn – 37,075,000
- Alex Lynskey – 25,925,000
- Joe Cada – 23,675,000
- Aram Zobian – 18,875,000
- Artem Metalidi – 15,475,000
- Antoine Labat – 8,050,000
Phil Hellmuth Wins Bracelet #15
It’s been an interesting summer for Phil Hellmuth. Seemingly mired in some sort of controversy from the very first week, Hellmuth spent two days earlier this week defending, and eventually apologizing for, his actions late on Day 2 of the Main Event that may have cost another player their tournament life. On Thursday night, with the Main Event playing down to a final table in another room, Hellmuth overcame the 2.5-1 chip lead of Steven Wolansky to win the 15th bracelet of his career. Faced with the possibility of yet another runner-up finish, Hellmuth gave himself a little pep talk.
“I said, … ‘When’s the next time you’re going to have an opportunity like this where you’re heads up for a bracelet? You just need to hang in there and stay strong’, and I stayed strong and then luckily hit some cards,” said Hellmuth.
Hellmuth, who holds the WSOP records for wins and cashes, gave Wolansky credit for making the final table a difficult one for him.
“He wouldn’t give an inch, so I had to start thinking about, okay how do I want to handle this? And I thought alright, I’m going to have to try to steal more pots against him, to give myself a chance because he’s just not giving a chip away, he’s making it really tough, and I can’t blink first either,” said Hellmuth. “I just have to like just keep playing my best poker until the end and maybe something great will happen.”
Hellmuth’s last bracelet came in 2015, when he won the $10,000 Razz Championship event.