Wire to wire

After a confusing morning, the US Bracket final table of the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event ran to its conclusion on Monday, with Joseph Hebert emerging as the champion. Hebert now moves on to the heads-up match with International Bracket winner Damian Salas for the bracelet.

Hebert went into the final table with a monstrous chip lead. With 13,052,534 chips, he had more than the two closest players combined and almost as much as second, third, and fourth combined. And for the most part, it was smooth sailing throughout the afternoon, as nobody ever came remotely close to putting Hebert in any sort of danger.

Hebert, who qualified for the 2020 WSOP Main Event via a $300 satellite on WSOP.com, was complimentary of his fellow competitors afterward, saying, “I was just really confident. I was excited to play and it was just a battle. It wasn’t easy, I tell ya that much. The guys played great. It was just a battle the whole way through.”

We are all used to watching poker on television, seeing players look all calm and collected, making decisions for hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars, but despite his massive chip lead, Hebert said that it took him a while to get going because of all the pomp and circumstance. After playing the tournament online to start, he said he had to get used to the lights, the cameras, and even just the live playing environment. But he certainly got comfortable and rolled right through the final table.

All for mom

Winning the World Series of Poker Main Event – or getting to heads-up as is the case here – is meaningful for every poker player who does it, but for Joseph Hebert, yesterday was especially emotional. His mom, one of his biggest supporters, passed away suddenly from a pulmonary embolism in September.

Her last text to him was about poker. Joseph spent time in Las Vegas this summer playing in the 2020 WSOP Online events and sent his mom a video of his friend and temporary Vegas roommate, Michael Lech, celebrating an online bracelet win. He told his mom that he hoped to win one someday, especially because you never know how many chances you will get.

She responded, “I keep hoping and praying that what will be, will be. Things will work out.”

And three days later, she was gone.

Hebert started the #ForLinda social media campaign in the lead-up to his WSOP Main Event appearance so everybody would know who she was.

Moved to tears by his victory Monday, Hebert said afterward, “I really felt like I was dreaming.” And I thought about my mom, and I know that she was here and this was for her. She would be so excited to see it, so I’m just so happy I got it for her.”

And now Joseph Hebert is one spot away from becoming the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event champ. He will face off against Damian Salas, the International Bracket champ, on Sunday, January 3 for the bracelet. The match was supposed to be tomorrow, December 30, but COVID-19 travel restrictions have delayed Salas’s entry into the United States. Reports yesterday said the heads-up battle would be January 2, but the WSOP has officially said it will be January 3.

2020 World Series of Poker Main Event US Bracket – Final Table Results

  1. Joseph Hebert – $1,553,256
  2. Ron Jenkins – $1,002,340
  3. Michael Cannon – $529,258
  4. Ryan Hagerty – $387,130
  5. Ye “Tony” Yuan – $286,963
  6. Harrison Dobin – $215,222
  7. Shawn Stroke – $163,786
  8. Gershon Distenfeld – $125,885
  9. Upeshka De Silva – $98,813

*Upsehka De Silva tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday and was not permitted to play at the live final table. He was awarded ninth place money.

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