It was a quick night of work at the 2018 World Series of Poker on Friday. In one tournament, a player continued his outstanding run through the 2018 tournament poker world while, in another, the eventual champion went “wire to wire” in starting and finishing the day with the lead.
Event #13 – $1500 Big Blind Ante No Limit Hold’em
Coming back on Friday with only six players from the traditional nine-handed WSOP final table, it was expected that the day might be quick. It wasn’t expected to be four hours quick, however, as chip leader Benjamin Moon stayed on the gas to take the gold.
Moon’s lead wasn’t a huge one, though. He only held a 100K chip edge over Colin Robinson’s 2.66 million stack, with the remainder of the field spread behind them. It took about 20 hands of action before Robinson eliminated Bohdan Slyvinskyi (who came in with the short stack), his Queen kicker (A-Q) playing over Slyvinskyi’s seven kicker (A-7) on a A-6-10-8-5 board. As Slyvinskyi headed to the cage, the remaining players went to Level 30, where the tournament was determined.
Moon dominated the final table, taking out Nhathanh Nguyen, Steven Snyder and Robinson in fifth through third places, respectively, to reach heads up against Romain Lewis with more than a 3:1 lead (7.7 million to 2.1 million). Ten hands later, it was all over after Moon, who raised off the button with an A-J, called the all-in three-bet from Lewis’ A-2 and watched the board run out nine high to bring him his first WSOP title.
1. Benjamin Moon, $315,346
2. Romain Lewis, $194,837
3. Colin Robinson, $138,938
4. Steven Snyder, $100,268
5. Nhathanh Nguyen, $73,242
6. Bohdan Slyvinskyi, $54,160
7. Eric Polirer, $40,549*
8. Raymond Ho, $30,742*
9. Dutch Boyd, $23,605*
(* – eliminated during Thursday night’s play)
Event #16 – $10,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em Championship
111 players had become the Final Four by Friday for the Heads-Up Championship but, in reality, the focus was on only one of the competitors. Justin Bonomo, the champion of the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl before the start of the WSOP, was coming in with a white-hot intensity that hadn’t been seen in some time. Still, Bonomo had to work through a very difficult Martijn Gerrits in the semis and, if successful, had Jason McConnon or Jean Pardo Dominguez waiting in the final.
That battle between Bonomo and Gerrits turned out to be the best of the tournament. Over the span of 93 hands, the duo swayed back and forth with the chip lead. In fact, Gerrits at one point had Bonomo at a nearly 5:1 disadvantage before Bonomo began to make his comeback. Bonomo doubled up not once, not twice, but three times to retake the lead from Gerrits and never looked back. On the final hand, Bonomo flopped a Queen high straight and a gut shot straight flush draw, but still had to fade a five on the turn and a three on the river to put away Gerrits in a tie for third.
By contrast, the other semifinal match was a sprint. It took only 18 hands for Dominguez and McConnon to determine a victor and, when that final hand came down, it was a stunner. The twosome saw a 9♥ 6♥ 2♦ flop that saw McConnon check call a bet from Dominguez. An Ace on the turn saw McConnon check call another bet out of Dominguez but, once a 10♥ came on the river, the fireworks were lit. McConnon checked again but, after Dominguez fired a third bullet of 175K, he decided to drop his stack in the center. Dominguez pondered the move and would eventually decide to make the call to see the bad news. McConnon had come all the way with only a Q♥ 5♥, rivering a flush that clipped Dominguez’s turned set of Aces and sent McConnon to the final match.
The Championship Match was a bit more normal. McConnon started off well, moving to a slight chip lead in the first four hands, before Bonomo dropped the hammer. Once he took the lead on Hand 7, when Bonomo bet McConnon out of a hand to take the chip edge, McConnon never again saw an inkling of holding an advantage. Over the span of another 50 hands, Bonomo slowly worked McConnon’s stack to the felt until, on Hand 59, the end came.
After a McConnon bet off the button, Bonomo put him to the test by moving all in. McConnon decided to make his stand and called for about 800K in chips and, once the cards were on their backs, it was off to the races. McConnon’s Q-9 off suit was live against Bonomo’s pocket fours, but nothing changed on the K-10-2 flop except to give McConnon more outs to the straight. A deuce on the turn changed nothing and the eight on the river kept the status quo as Bonomo scooped the pot and took down the Heads-Up Championship.
1. Justin Bonomo, $185,965
2. Jason McConnon, $114,933
3. Juan Pardo Dominguez, $73,179
(tie) Martijn Gerrits, $73,179
5. Jan-Eric Schwippert, $31,086*
(tie) Mark McGovern, $31,086*
(tie) Nicolai Morris, $31,086*
(tie) Kahle Burns, $31,086*
(* – eliminated on Thursday)
To say that Bonomo has had some success on the tournament tables in 2018 would be like saying the Golden State Warriors are pretty good at basketball. In the past six months, Bonomo has won NINE titles around the world, with most of them coming in high-dollar buy-in tournaments. How high? So far in 2018, Bonomo has winnings totaling $14,661,541, including the $5 million he won for the Super High Roller Bowl victory; no other player has cracked the $10 million mark in winnings or has more than four tournament victories for the year.