2013 World Series of Poker: Jason Duval Wins $1,500 NLH on Perplexing Final Hand

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World Series of Poker tournaments are long. Obvious statement is obvious, I know. One of the byproducts of a multi-day tournament is that because so many hands are played from start to finish, the chip leader after Day 1 almost never goes on to win. Jason Duval scoffed at history, though, taking the lead at the end of the first day of Event #28: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em and taking it all the way home for his first even World Series of Poker bracelet.

There were 16 players remaining entering Day 3 and though he was not near the top of the chip counts, most of the eyes in the room were trained on legendary tournament grinder T.J. Cloutier. One of the most prolific tournament players of all time, Cloutier has slowed down in recent years because of age, but was still in position to make his 40th career WSOP final table and possibly make a run at his seventh bracelet. He was low on chips to begin the day, sitting in 13th place, but chipped up a bit and needed just one double-up to be right amongst the chip leaders. He couldn’t make it happen though, hitting the rail in 13th place.

Jason Duval didn’t start Day 3 in much better shape than Cloutier, beginning in just 12th place with 378,000 chips. Compare that to the chip leader, Masayuki Nagata, who entered play with 1.742 million chips. That stack gave him a massive chip lead, 700,000 more than the next player and a million more than third place.

Duval struggled for quite some time, languishing until 300,000 for many orbits, and went into the unofficial final table of ten as the shortest stack, under 400,000 chips. He almost immediately doubled-up, though, giving himself some breathing room. It wasn’t really until there were six players left that he started to climb, though. After eliminating Dan Martin in fifth place, Duval was up to 1.7 million and by the dinner break, he was second of four, though his 1.815 million chips were light years behind Majid Yahyaei’s 5.17 million.

Soon after dinner, two more players were knocked out, and like that, Duval was very close to Yahyaei, facing just a 5.025 million to 4.495 million chip deficit heading into heads-up play. Duval quickly took the chip lead and never looked back.

After about two hours, the final hand was an interesting one. Duval raised to 200,000 and Yahyaei called. On the flop of A♣-K-7, Yahyaei checked, Duval bet 250,000, and Yahyaei check-raised to 675,000. At that, Duval shoved all-in and Yahyaei tanked. After running through the scenarios in his head, Yahyaei made the call…with just Q♣-2. Why would he call off for the tournament with Queen-high? He must have thought Duval was on a flush draw and a low one at that. Well, his read was partially correct; Duval was on a flush draw, but it was not a low one. In fact, it was the worst flush draw scenario Yahyaei could have imagined: Q-8. So now Yahyaei was out-kicked. With an Ace and King on the board, though, there were definite chances for a chop, chances which improved when the T was dealt on the turn. The river was the 8♣, though, giving Duval a pair and his first WSOP victory.

2013 World Series of Poker Event #28: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em – Final Table Results

1.    Jason Duval – $521,202
2.    Majid Yahyaei – $324,442
3.    Masayuki Nagata – $225,521
4.    James Lee – $162,420
5.    Tommy Townsend – $118,707
6.    Dan Martin – $87,813
7.    Steve Bartlett – $65,813
8.    Daniel Bishop – $49,952
9.    Joseph Cappuccio – $38,360

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