You hear it frequently…“a chip and a chair are all you need.” Former World Champion Jack Strauss famously put this axiom to the test back when he won the World Series of Poker Championship Event in 1982 by actually coming back from a singular chip to take the victory. While it might not be as monumental an occasion, Filipe Oliveira pulled off a similar trick in winning the 2018 partypoker Caribbean Poker Party Main Event in the Bahamas last night.

Little Work Left Before the Final Table

11 men were left from the 1815 players who started the tournament when the penultimate day of the 2018 partypoker Caribbean Poker Party began on Saturday. Atop the standings at this point was Konstantin Maslak, who sat on a monstrous stack of 292.5 million in chips (for some reason, each player in the tournament started with one MILLION in chips – yes, the blinds started at 2000/5000 also). Maslak, a WSOP bracelet winner, was joined by other notables like 2018 WSOP Championship Event final tablist Alex Lynskey (150 million), Joe Kuether (228 million) and a short-stacked Anton Wigg (76 million) as the action kicked off.

With two players to eliminate to get to the official final table, many in the Baha Mar Resort  were settling in for a lengthy battle. Instead, the players threw a curveball at the audience by knocking out two players on the very first hand of play. Wigg found himself the “chum for the sharks” as he saw Craig Mason open the betting and Marc MacDonnell up the bet to 24 million. Wigg moved all in and, while it was good enough to get Mason out of the way, MacDonnell wasted no time at all making the call.

Wigg’s pocket Jacks were good, but they weren’t better than MacDonnell’s pocket Aces. After a King high board ran out, it was Wigg hitting the rail just as Niek Van Der Slujis was eliminated on the other table in action. Van Der Slujis, who started the hand with more chips than Wigg, was officially credited as final table “bubble boy” in tenth place and Wigg took home the eleventh-place honors.

From Scraps to a Championship

Oliveira was sitting pretty at this point with his 227.5 million chips, good for third behind Maslak and Pascal Hartmann, but it quickly turned disastrous. Oliveira watched as his chip stack dwindled down to only 35 million at one point, but he would be saved by – and there’s no other way to put it – blind luck. Oliveira pushed all in with only a K-6 off suit and was called by Maslak (K-J off suit) and Hartmann (J 3). One of the only cards that could save him – a 6 – came on the flop to push Oliveira out to the lead. Maslak would lead out on the flop, pushing Hartmann out of the hand (one he couldn’t win anyway as a Jack would have helped Maslak more), but he would be unable to find a King as Oliveira took the 120 million pot.

That seemed to light a fire under Oliveira. Within a couple of hours, he had eliminated Hartmann to move to 775 million chips and, after he took down MacDonnell in third place, Oliveira found himself in the chip lead against Mason. Oliveira would never take his foot off the gas, jumping out to an even bigger lead when he was able to bluff Mason off the better hand. Holding more than a billion in chips (probably the first time that phrase has been written in the annals of poker history), Oliveira was able to grind down Mason until the final hand arrived.

On the button, Mason limped in and Oliveira raised the betting to 120 million chips. After Mason  made the call, a 9-Q-2 rainbow flop greeted the duo and Oliveira made a continuation bet of 60 million. Mason read that for weakness and pushed his remaining 300 million or so in chips to the center of the felt. Oliveira wasted no time in making the call and it turned out to be the right one. Although Mason had connected with his K-9, Oliveira had also with his better A-9. A Jack on the turn changed nothing and the four on the river was inconsequential, giving Oliveira the championship and the $1.5 million payday.

1. Filipe Oliveira, $1,500,000
2. Craig Mason, $1,200,000
3. Marc MacDonnell, $1,000,000
4. Pascal Hartmann, $800,000
5. Konstantin Maslak, $600,000
6. Diogo Veiga, $400,000
7. Alex Turyansky, $300,000
8. Joe Kuether, $218,500

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