It was an interesting weekend around the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas as the first weekend of the 2024 World Series of Poker concluded its action. A Poker Hall of Famer took time from their schedule to go “into the masses” to capture their latest bracelet. While that was happening, the $25,000 Heads-Up World Championship saw an unlikely victor wade their way through the minefield of pros arranged against him.

“World” Earns Seventh WSOP Bracelet in Dealer’s Choice

In a rather quick six hours – a snap in a Dealer’s Choice tournament – Poker Hall of Famer John ‘World’ Hennigan who emerged from a difficult group of players to capture the championship. It is the seventh of Hennigan’s illustrious career, making him one of only nine players to capture more than six of poker’s greatest prizes. While this victory might not have been as lucrative as some of his other wins, Hennigan was happy to bank the $138,296 first-place prize.

Ten men returned in the Six-Handed $1500 Dealer’s Choice event on Saturday night, with Clint Wolcyn leading the way with his 2.77 million in chips. Wolcyn faced some significant challenges from a trio of top pros, Shaun Deeb (on the short stack at 585,000), Viktor Blom (1.65 million), and Hennigan (1.52 million) who all had eyes on the top of the leaderboard. For Deeb, that dream would end in eighth place at the hands of Wolcyn in Big O when he was unable to build a better hand with his A-J-J-9-2 against Wolcyn’s A-K-K-Q-7 on a K-5-3-5-Q board.

Deeb’s departure brought the table one short of their official six-handed setup, and Hennigan would take care of that job. Ryan Pedigo got his chips to the center on Third Street and turned up an (A-J) 3 against Hennigan’s (10-7) 9, but that was all the good news that Pedigo would get. Hennigan would peel off a six on Fourth Street and an eight on Fifth Street to make a straight, while Pedigo paired his Ace and got two Kings for a good, but not winning, two pair. With the hand, Hennigan went into the lead of the final six men.

Hennigan’s grind was not done, but he continued to score pots to stave off the various threats against him. Eventually, ‘World’ would garner more than half the chips in play, which gave him the ammunition to simply destroy the final table. Of the last five players arranged against him, Hennigan took out three of them, including Robert Wells on the final hand in No Limit Deuce to Seven Single Draw, to earn the victory and the WSOP bracelet.

1. John Hennigan (USA), $138,296
2. Robert Wells, (United Kingdom), $90,339
3. Peter Gelencser (Hungary), $60,343
4. Viktor Blom (Sweden), $41,237
5. Brayden Gazlay (USA), $28,845
6. Clint Wolcyn (USA), $20,665

Darius Samual Surprise Champion of $25,000 Heads-Up

If you were looking at the Final Four for the $25,000 Heads-Up World Championship at the 2024 WSOP, there were a couple of potential champions in the mix. One of them was Artur Martirosian, who has made his name in high-stakes heads-up play, and the other was Faraz Jaka, a highly respected pro who also has aided players by teaching the game. Thus, when Darius Samual emerged as the unlikely winner of the tournament, it was a bit of a surprise.

It should not have been, however. Samual, who spoke after the tournament that he used more than half his poker bankroll to get in this event, waded through both Martirosian and Jaka to capture the championship and the $500,000 first-place prize. He was but one of eight players to capture some money from the tournament, which saw 64 players come to the fore:

1. Darius Samual (United Kingdom), $500,000
2. Faraz Jaka (USA), $300,000
3. Nikolai Mamut (United Kingdom), $180,000
(tie) Artur Martirosian (Russian Federation), $180,000
5. John Smith (USA), $86,000
(tie) Marko Grujic (Serbia), $86,000
(tie) Owen Messere (United Kingdom), $86,000
(tie) Patrick Kennedy (United Kingdom), $86,000

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