We all have goals. And when we have those goals in our sights, when we can reach out in touch them, we want nothing but to take that final step and grab them. Oftentimes we fall short, but when we try again and finally taste victory, it feels even better for having failed. That’s probably how Pavel Plesuv felt Wednesday, as he made up for a near miss a few years ago and captured his first World Poker Tour title, winning the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open.

Plesuv has had plenty of success on the live tournament circuit, now having won over $4 million, thanks to the half million dollar payday. But it was his runner-up finish in the partypoker WPT Prague Main Event in 2015 that has stuck with him. But now what may have been a disappointing memory (despite the great run and prize money) makes this week so much sweeter.

“It feels pretty awesome,” he told WPT.com afterward. “It feels really awesome because I was heads-up three years ago at the WPT in Prague with a big lead and I lost it heads-up. So I’m pretty excited to come back and win.”

Plesuv now has more than $2.5 million in earnings this year. In fact, he has won more money in each successive year in which he has recorded live tournament cashes. In 2010 he had $6,699 in cashes. Skip ahead to 2014 and he had $18,244, followed by $171,263 in 2015. The number jumped to $570,727 in 2016 and then $715,236 in 2017, the first year during which he had a cash outside of Europe.

“This is the best year so far,” he said in his post-game interview. “It started with a win in February and I’m finishing the year with a win here, and maybe I’ll win something in December. We’ll see, but this is awesome. I’ve been running pretty good.”

Plesuv went into the six-handed final table as the chip leader, holding 10.920 million chips. The chip stacks tightened early on and within two orbits, Jim Gilbert took over the chip lead, but that didn’t last long. Plesuv cruised to heads-up from there, his journey highlighted by a 10.300 million chip pot against Jeremy Joseph. With that pot, Plesuv had more chips than the other three remaining opponents combined.

By the time heads-up rolled around, he was in a completely dominant position, out-chipping Jim Gilbert 30.700 million to 5.225 million. Gilbert held on for a long time, eventually eclipsing the 10 million chip mark, but that was the best he could do.

On the final hand, Gilbert raised pre-flop, Plesuv shoved with A-J, and Gilbert called for 9 million with two red Nines. If Gilbert’s pair could hold, he’d be in business, but Plesuv flopped an Ace and turned a Jack for good measure, knocking out Gilbert and claiming his first World Poker Tour title.

2018 WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open – Final Table Results

1. Pavel Plesuv – $504,820
2. Jim Gilbert – $326,565
3. Jeremy Joseph – $240,945
4. Marius Gierse – $179,710
5. Chris Kennedy – $135,505
6. Ravi Raghavan – $103,310

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