Alex Antonios isn’t much of a history buff apparently. Antonios came into the final table of the AU$2,200 Six Max event at WSOP-APAC second in chips, but eyes were on all-time WSOP bracelet leader Phil Hellmuth as he sought out his 14th bracelet. Antonios outlasted the other five players, including Hellmuth, to claim the first WSOP bracelet of his career and $113,353.
“I just stumbled upon a bracelet. And a lot of people dedicate their entire lives to winning bracelets. I definitely ran good and got in a good spot there at the end,” said Antonios.
He also kept The Poker Brat stuck on 13 bracelets.
“Phil’s definitely the type of person you want to mess with, and you want to get him in those spots. In the end I didn’t get to bust him, and you want to be the one to bust him. So in that regard, I’m not satisfied,” admitted Antonios. “But I don’t take pleasure in denying him his 14th bracelet. If I was heads-up with him and I denied him, then it would be good for me and I would be satisfied. Sometimes you feel sorry for Phil in a way. He dedicates his life to winning bracelets and he definitely wanted it more than anyone at the table.”
Hellmuth started the final table with the second smallest stack but that didn’t keep him from being active early. Just ten minutes into play Hellmuth found himself in a classic race against November Niner Bruno Politano. The shortest stack at the start of the day, Politano opened for 8,000 and action folded around to Hellmuth who made it 30,000. Politano moved all-in for 75,000 and Hellmuth called. Politano turned over Q Q and was up against the A K of Hellmuth. The board ran out J J 5 K 7 giving Hellmuth a pair of kings and sending Politano out with a sixth place finish.
With the short stack out of the way it took nearly 2.5 hours for another player to be eliminated and once again it was an all in pre-flop situation. From the cutoff Hellmuth raised to 11,000, Michael Tran made it 50,000 from the small blind before Yu Kurita moved all-in from the big blind for 165,500. Hellmuth got out of the way before Tran called, tabling A K. Kurita flipped over J J and watched the flop come A T 4 giving Tran the lead but also leaving Kurita with a flush draw. Kurita picked up even more outs on the K turn but was eliminated in fifth place when the A fell on the river. That hand propelled Tran to the chip lead.
Hellmuth’s run came to a crashing halt thanks to Tran. Left with just 72,000, Hellmuth moved all-in from the button and Tran called from the small blind. Hellmuth showed A 7 while Tran showed 4 4. The board missed Hellmuth, running out Q 6 5 3 Q, eliminating the 13-time bracelet winner and pushing Tran to an even bigger lead but that was basically the end of his run good.
Over the next four hours Tran simply bled chips and appeared to be destined for a third place finish when Antonios did him a huge favor in a hand with Steven Zhou. After a button raise to 25,000 from Zhou, both Tran and Antonios came along to see a K 7 5 flop. Action checked to Zhou who threw out a continuation bet of 32,000. From the small blind Antonios raised to 107,000, Tran folded and Zhou moved all-in for 341,000. Antonios took a moment and eventually called, turning over A 2 for a flush draw, while Zhou showed K 9 for top pair. The 4 turn kept Zhou in the lead but the A river gave Antonios a pair of aces and sent Zhou out in third.
When heads-up play began Antonios had Tran outchipped 7.5-1 and it took only 30 minutes for Antonios to conquer his final opponent. Down to just 65,000, Tran moved all-in with T 9 and Antonios called with K 4. The Q 7 6 7 3 gave Tran no lifeline and he was eliminated, leaving Antonios to claim his first bracelet after outlasting a field of 243 players.
Final Table Payouts
- Alex Antonios – $113,353
- Michael Tran – $70,103
- Steven Zhou – $48,731
- Phil Hellmuth – $34,247
- Yu Kurita – $24,314
- Bruno Politano – $17,435
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