WSOP: Nicolo Molinelli Ships Spin the Wheel Event for $243K

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Nicolo Molinelli shipped his first career World Series of Poker bracelet on Thursday night after winning Event #81: People's Choice Event [Spin the Wheel]. (PokerStars photo)

Italy’s Nicolo Molinelli must have liked what the wheel had to say in Event #81 (People’s Choice Spin the Wheel). The format of Thursday’s World Series of Poker Online event was left to the fate of the spin of the wheel. Once that wheel stopped spinning, the Six Max No Limit Hold’em Bounty format was chosen and Molinelli worked his way through a 1,925-entry field in the $600 buy-in event to win his first career WSOP bracelet and earn $243,415 with $99,216 coming from bounties alone.

Michelle Shah only got to spend 24 minutes at the final table. Molinelli raised to 220,000 from the hijack before Shah moved all in from the cutoff for 1,810,581. Molinelli called and flipped over AhQs and Shah discovered she was racing with 8d8h. The As5h2s flop moved Molinelli in front and Shah found no help on the 6s turn or 5c river and was eliminated in ninth place.

Thirty-five minutes later another race ended a second player’s run. Lucas Hafner raised to 240,000 from the button with AsKs before Pavel Plusev re-raised to 1,800,000 with 5c5d. Hafner re-raised to 3,360,000 and Plesuv called all in. The KhTd9d flop put Hafner in front. The Kc turn left Plesuv needing a five on the river and when the 8s river completed the board, he was sent out in eighth.

Molinelli had to wait another 30 minutes before finding his second victim of the night. Itai Drory raised to 280,000 from the cutoff and Molinelli decided to defend his big blind. The flop came 4d3c2s and Molinelli checked. Drory bet 217,425 and Molinelli called. The turn was the Qc and Molinelli checked again. Drory bet 518,000 and then called all in after Molinelli moved all in for 16,437,829. Drory showed 8c8s but Molinelli had turned top pair with QsTs. The river was the 4h and Drory was out in seventh place.

Kyle Menard raised to 280,000 from UTG before Sami Kelopuro moved all in from the cutoff for 3,424,452. Aleksandr Grishchuk called from the button for 1,600,388 and Menard got out of the way. Kelopuro tabled AhQd while Grishchuk showed JcJd. The AsQh6h flop moved Kelopuro well in frton. Neither the 9c or Th river changed anything and Grishchuk, a world-class chess champion, was eliminated in sixth.

The final five players played for over an hour before losing a player. Kelopuro opened with a raise to 1,160,000 with KcKh and action folded around to Menard in the big blind. Holding AcQh, Menard moved all in fro 11,250,432 and Kelopuro called off for 6,085,048. The board ran out Tc8c6cQcAs to give Menard the nut flush and send Kelopuro to the rail in fifth place.

Menard picked up another bounty a half-hour later in a blind versus blind scenario. Longyun Li moved all in from the small blind for 4,565,740 and Menard called from the big blind. Li turned over Ks6c which put him behind Menard’s AsTh. The AcAdJh flop gave Menard a virtual lock on the hand. The 9d turn meant Li was drawing dead through the 5d river and was eliminated in fourth.

Li’s elimination was the last that Molinelli wasn’t responsible for. Another 30 minutes passed before the Italian sent another opponent packing. Lukas Hafner was down to 5,091,376, Hafner shoved from the small blind with Kh4h only to have Molinelli wake up with AcAh in the big blind. The board ran out 7d6h3d3hTc to give Molinelli a decent sweat before eliminating Hafner in third place.

Heads-up play began with Molinelli holding a nine big blind lead and the pair battled for nearly an hour before Molinelli was able to put a bow on his final table performance. Menard opened with a raise to 900,000 holding AhQc and Molinelli called wiht Kc8d. The KdTc2h flop got Molinelli to check. Menard bet 600,000 and Molinelli raised to 1,885,000 and Menard called. The 7s turn was good enough for Molinelli to bet 2,175,000 and Menard called again. The river was the 9d and Molinelli checked. Menard moved all in for 6,708,172 and Molinenlli called to eliminate Menard in second and win his first career WSOP bracelet.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Nicolo Molinelli – $144,199 + $99,216 in bounties
  2. Kyle Menard – $104,644 + $24,000 in bounties
  3. Lukas Hafner – $75,940 + $22,000 in bounties
  4. Longyun Li – $55,110 + $11,766 in bounties
  5. Sami Kelopuro – $39,993 + $7,828 in bounties
  6. Aleksandr Grishchuk – $29,023 + $1,875 in bounties
  7. Itai Drory – $21,062 + $10,000 in bounties
  8. Pavel Plesuv – $15,285 + $15,000 in bounties
  9. Michelle Shah – $11,092 + $13,828 in bounties