In 2018, Shaun Deeb made his breakthrough in the poker world by winning the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller event on his way to capturing the WSOP Player of the Year award. Fast forward three short years and it has a tremendous sense of déjà vu after Deeb emerged victorious in the 2021 $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller event – is another potential Player of the Year run in his future? It is if you listen to him.
Deeb Survives to Start the Day
Five of the eight men from the final table in the tournament (of the 212 who originally stepped to the felt) would return on Saturday to determine the champion in this High Roller event. Leading the way at the start was Ka Kwan Lau and his 10.75 million in chips, slightly more than two million chips ahead of John Beauprez (8.725 million) when the cards went in the air. The rest of the field – Maxx Coleman (5.73 million), Deeb (3.64 million) and Veselin Karakitukov (2,745 million) – were significantly behind the two main stacks, so they would need to get busy early to make their moves.
Leave it to Shaun Deeb to do exactly that. On the very first hand of the tournament, Deeb would see Karakitukov open the betting window to 310K and Coleman up the action to 1.1 million. That seemed like an invitation for Deeb, who plopped his whole stack in the center of the felt. That was enough to get Karakitukov to drop his cards in the muck, but Coleman chose to look up Deeb and the battle was on.
Both men had strong hands for the fight:
Deeb: A♠ A♥ Q♥ 3♠
Coleman: A♦ A♣ 7♦ 4♦
But with both men holding pocket Aces, the odds were likely that there would be a split pot. That is why they deal the board, in this case with the J♦ 10♦ 2x to tease a flush to Coleman. A four, but not a diamond, came off on the turn, suddenly thrusting Deeb into the hand. That thrust turned into a rocket as a 5♣ came on the river, gifting Deeb a wheel and catapulting him into third place behind Beauprez while Coleman dropped to only about two million in chips.
Deeb Destroys on Final Table Run
This was enough to get Deeb started towards the championship. He would eliminate every member of that final table – Karakitukov in fifth, Coleman in fourth and Beauprez in third – to go to heads up against Lau with more than a 3:1 lead (24.1 million to 7.7 million). Although Lau would fight back on a couple of occasions to get over the 10 million chip mark, Deeb’s lead was never in jeopardy as he thundered to the championship.
On the final hand, Lau potted and Deeb called to see an 8-8-6 flop. Lau once again took the initiative with a bet and Deeb followed with a call to see a five on the turn. This brought a slowdown from Lau as he checked, but Deeb kept his foot on the gas with a two million chip bet. Lau made the call and, when another five came on the river, Lau checked again. This time Deeb potted for 6.2 million, enough to force Lau all in with a call.
Lau would make the call and table A-K-K-8 for trip eights, but it was not good enough. Deeb turned up an A-7-6-5 for the turned two pair and rivered boat, enough to win the hand, the championship, the bracelet and the million-plus payday all in one act.
1. Shaun Deeb, $1,251,860
2. Ka Kwan Lau, $773,708
3. John Beauprez, $537,295
4. Maxx Coleman, $381,394
5. Veselin Karakitukov, $276,870
6. David Benyamin, $205,655*
7. Ben Lamb, $156,387*
8. Charles Sinn, $121,816
(* – member of official final table, eliminated on Friday)
Asked after the final table about his plans, Deeb did not set a small goal. “Oh, I’m going to pass Phil [Hellmuth] eventually,” Deeb said. “It’s going to take me a while, but I’m going to pass Phil. He’s a great player when he’s sharp, but he can’t play every day like me. When he wins a bracelet, he’s not hopping in the next event like I’m going to do, and that’s going to help me out. Plus, I think online I’m a stronger player and there are so many more online bracelets. I’m going to catch him one day. It’s going to take me a decade or two, but I’ll be there.”
Just a suggestion…don’t bet against Deeb!
(Photo courtesy of PokerGO.com)