Everybody hopes for a second chance. Steven Wolansky got his on Wednesday afternoon and made the most of it.
Wolansky was heads-up for a bracelet with an almost 30-to-one chip lead last year in the $2,500 8-Game Mix and found a way to let it slip away. This year, at the 2014 World Series of Poker, he found himself heads-up again, in the $1,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven. He made the most of it and defeated Joseph Cheong heads-up to earn his first gold bracelet.
“It gave me trouble sleeping,” said Wolansky of his second place finish in 2013. “I would go back and look at the coverage and look at the pictures of me with like 2.8 million and him with 100,000 and all in and I would just be like ‘Wow, how did I not win that?’ But yea, this definitely helps it.”
The 26-year-old professional poker player topped a field of 241 players to earn his first piece of World Series of Poker hardware along with $89,483.
“It feels great,” said Wolansky. “I couldn’t close it out last year so to win one today feels great.”
Even though he can say he has a bracelet in this discipline, Wolansky doesn’t have much experience in the game.
“I’ve played this micro stakes online a few years ago and then I played it last year in the 10-Game,” said Wolansky. “I cashed in the 10-game somewhere around 20th place so I got to play about 30 hands of it there. Then I just started Day 1 and got 15 hours of practice and sort of figure it out as you go. It’s just a pure form of poker.”
The final table got underway at 1 pm and the action was fast and loose with the eliminations quickly piling up with the entire final table taking under two hours.
“The whole tournament played faster than I could have thought,” said Wolansky. “We came back on Day 2 and hit the money in just 45 minutes. It was just non-stop action from there on out. We could have probably finished this last night.”
The official final table was actually reached on Tuesday night, but the players decided to keep playing a little longer and had eliminated Scott Bohlman in seventh place before deciding to bag and tag chips and come back on Wednesday afternoon.
The first elimination of the day took place just six hands in. Sam Touil moved al in under-the-gun for 48,000 and was called by Cheong. Touil drew one and Cheong stood pat. Cheong showed 10-9-7-4-3 and was up against Touil tabled 8-7-3-2 and was looking to find a ten, nine, six, five, or four on his draw. He squeezed another deuce and Cheong would take the pot with his ten low.
Cheong eliminated another player when Orjan Skommo moved all in on the button for his last 33,000 and Cheong called out of the small blind. Cheong drew one and Skommo drew two. Cheong tabled 7-6-4-3 and ended up squeezing a queen, giving him a Q-7-6-4-3. Skommo tabled 8-6-2 and peeled a five on the first card that he squeezed. He paired his deuce when he looked at the second card and Cheong earned the first two knockouts on the final day.
Cheong continued his dominance by eliminating the next two players as well. With blinds of 3,000/6,000 with a 1,500 ante, he raised to 15,000 under-the-gun before he was three-bet to 38,000 by Christopher Mecklin. Max Kruse flatted out of the big blind and Cheong four-bet to 95,000. Mecklin moved all in for 110,000, Kruse folded and Cheong called.
Mecklin drew one and Cheong stood pat. Mecklin was drawing dead as he tabled 8-6-4-2, but Cheong was dealt a perfect 7-5-4-3-2. Mecklin squeezed a meaningless nine post-draw and Cheong scooped the pot to move his stack just shy of 500,000 and was almost dead-even with Wolansky for the chip lead.
The final three players took a 20-minute break and on the first hand back from break, Kruse fell victim to the buzz saw that was Cheong. Kruse moved all in from the small blind and Cheong called from the big blind. Cheong stood pat and tabled 10-9-6-5-2 and Kruse was drawing live with his 7-6-4-3. Kruse found paint on his card post-draw and flipped up a jack to leave Cheong and Wolansky heads-up for the bracelet.
Wolansky started heads-up play at a slight chip disadvantage, but quickly erased that and stacks evened out. He continued to win small pots and had Cheong down to his last 215,000. With blinds of 4,000/8,000 and a 2,000 ante, Cheong raised to 24,000 and called off his last 215,000 when Wolansky three-bet all in. Cheong stood pat with his 10-7-6-3-2 and Wolansky drew one with his 8-7-5-2.
“It’s four across,” said Wolansky as he squeezed the edges of his last card. “Spade.”
Wolansky tabled the 9 to give him a 9-8-7-5-2 and denied Cheong his first career bracelet.
Here are a look at the results:
- Steven Wolansky – $89,483
- Joseph Cheong – $55,309
- Max Kruse – $36,494
- Christopher Mecklin – $24,908
- Orjan Skommo – $17,445
- Samuel Touil – $12,529
- Scott Bohlman – $9,223
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