After two days of action-packed play, one man was left standing after the dust had settled and that was Abhinav Iyer. With unlimited re-entries across all three starting flights, 2,800 entries were registered in total, generating a tasty $3,780,000 prizepool here at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. That prizepool meant a top prize of $565,346 and the WSOP bracelet were Iyer's at the end of a mammoth final day effort.
Iyer not only nets more than half a million dollars for his victory and his first bracelet, importantly, he brings home the fourth bracelet of the series for his home country, India. Speaking to PokerNews after his win, Iyer explained that poker “is a booming market” back home. “Now more and more people are getting into poker. It’s growing and I hope this [win] can enhance that growth.”
He certainly had a lot of support. “The Indian rail was pretty great … I feel really proud.” They were there cheering him on every step of the way on the final table. It was a hand much earlier, however that set Iyer on track. The tournament-defining hand took place when Iyer eliminated Jeff Gross (32nd) after finding pocket-queens in the hole when Gross had moved all in with ace-ten in front of him. Following that hand, Iyer found himself with a big stack that he managed to hold onto for the duration of the tournament.
Event #84: The Closer - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Final Table Payout
|3||Sergio Aguilar||United States||$256,298|
|5||Patrick Eskandar||United States||$141,432|
|6||Adam Johnson||United States||$106,418|
|7||Shaun Deeb||United States||$80,766|
|8||Steve Yea||South Korea||$61,834|
|9||Jason Reels||United States||$47,758|
There were numerous stars of the poker world in contention at the start of the day when 196 survivors returned at noon. Over the course of the first few hours, many of them fell by the wayside, including last year’s champion, Joe Cada. Phil Hellmuth, Michel Mizrachi, Jack Salter, Erik Cajelais, Manig Loeser, Justin Young, Mike Sexton, Kristen Bicknell, and Bertrand Grospellier were a few of the others who were unable to convert their stack into a deep run. Daniel Neilson (24th), Ryan Leng (18th), Rex Clinkscales (15th) and JC Tran (10th) fared better but still missed out on a place at the final table.
Once Tran was eliminated on the final table bubble, players took a scheduled dinner break. They returned with blinds putting pressure on many of them and the first to fall was Jason Reels who lost with ace-three suited against Iyer’s king-ten, leaving him to collect a $47,758 payday for 9th place. Next up was Steve Yea who lost a flip with ace-king suited vs Adam Johnson's pocket tens, netting him $61,834 for 8th place.
The most well-known player at the table, four-time bracelet winner Shaun Deeb was out in 7th for $80,766, despite making a huge stack after rivering an ace with ace-queen suited against ace-nine suited and pocket queens, when there were two tables left. His run didn’t last and he busted after losing back to back hands against Sergio Aguilar. First it was with pocket-jacks to ace-king and then when he was left short two hands later, he called with king-four in the big blind when Aguilar set him in from the small blind. Aguilar’s ace-three suited held.
Adam Johnson was the next to fall, taking home $106,418 for his 6th place result. Johnson lost a race with pocket-nines against Sammy Lafleur who had ace-queen suited. Patrick Eskandar was not far behind him, finishing in 5th after three-betting all in from the small blind over Lafleur’s button open. Unfortunately for him he ran king-queen into ace-queen and had to console himself with his $141,432 in winnings.
Then there were four left and it was Carlos Chang’s turn to leave next. He raised a significant part of his stack with jack-ten and reluctantly called the rest when Lafleur set him in. He couldn’t find any help against the Canadian’s ace-king but goes home $189,584 better off. Twenty-five minutes later, he was joined at the rail by Sergio Aguilar. Aguilar had lost most of his chips in the previous hand to Iyer after calling his all in on the river. Iyer turned over a straight and Aguilar was left with four big blinds and couldn’t spin them up. He netted $256,298 for his result.
Then Iyer and Lafleur were heads up but Iyer had more than a 2:1 chip lead. Over the course of the next 40 minutes, he steadily chipped away at the stack of the last person who stood in his way. His concentration remained almost unbroken, even with the enthusiastic support of his rail. He did steal a quick glance at the bracelet when it was brought out and placed on the table next to him. In the end, with only around 20 big blinds left, Lafleur limp-called when Iyer set him all in and it was a flip with pocket-sevens to Iyer’s queen-ten suited. By the river Iyer had made a pair and it signalled the end of an incredible run for the runner up, who takes $349,417 with him for his fantastic result.
With the work out of the way, Iyer celebrated with his friends. Some of them were impatient to head out and party once the winner photos and interviews had concluded. For Iyer though, he seems to have a very sensible head on his 25-year old shoulders. Though he may well celebrate his win, looking forward, there is only one thing he wants to do with his winnings. He told PokerNews “I just want to put it in the bank. I don’t want to be a huge spender. Just keep playing, keep grinding, go to the next stop.” That’s dedication for you.
Stay with us here at PokerNews for all the remaining bracelet wins of this fantastic 50th annual World Series of Poker.