Isaac Haxton captures first WSOP bracelet

8 June 2023

Isaac Haxton

Isaac Haxton (photo by WSOP)

You can officially remove a name from the "Best Without a Bracelet" list.

On Thursday night, Isaac Haxton reigned victorious in Event #16: $25,000 High Roller to capture his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet along with a first-place prize of $1,698,215. Haxton outlasted a field of 301 entries including a heads-up match with Ryan O'Donnell to finish things off.

It was a record-breaking field for the buy-in level at the WSOP and Haxton said after his victory that he felt honored to come out on top. "I've finished second and third many times for my biggest cashes so it's nice to finally win. A three hundred-player field for a $25k, yeah I guess it's gotta be up there with one of my biggest accomplishments."

While the man has been forced to settle for many second and third-place finishes in the past, 2023 has been the complete opposite as Haxton has now recorded six victories this year already, amassing over $7,000,000 in that time frame. In years past, many have talked about the "Year of Fedor Holz" or the "Year of Justin Bonomo", but Haxton is on pace to maybe have one of the best years ever recorded in poker history.

With his good friend Bonomo on his rail and at his side during the post-match interview, Haxton was asked about his future goals and if he has any aspirations of chasing down the No. 1 live-tournament winner of all time.

"No, not really," laughed Haxton. "I don't really look at that stuff. I just really like playing poker and making money at it."

The win brought Haxton's lifetime winnings up to $37,509,332 according to The Hendon Mob, good for 14th place on the all-time money list.

There were 13 players who returned to the felt for the third and final day of this tournament. It took a classic flip to get things going when Taylor von Kriegenbergh went hunting with ace-king against Haxton's pair of queens. A clean board for Haxton left Von Kriegenbergh heading to the exit. At the same time on the other table, Kristen Foxen also watched her short stack dissipate from the big blind and the field was down to 11 players.

In the next level, it was Jorge Consiglieri and Aleksejs Ponakovs who bowed out in succession which formed the unofficial final table. Haxton entered the final nine with a healthy chip lead and mostly had the cruise control button on while the short stacks jostled for position. There were multiple doubles that occurred before the next elimination of Michael Jozoff.

Many small pots ensued over the next hour and Joao Vieira raked in very few, if any at all, along the way. A failed bluff attempt from Brian Rast also left him short and they would end up colliding in the blinds. It was Rast who came out on top with a straight and Vieira's tournament was over in eighth place.

After a 60-minute dinner break, the final table moved into the Thunderdome and things didn't get any better for Rast. The five-time bracelet winner got his last 11 big blinds in the middle from the small blind but ran into a better hand from Lewis Spencer in the big blind. Rast was unable to improve and Spencer put himself on the top of the leaderboard.

The final six players all held the chip lead at one point or another on the final day, including Frank Funaro who clearly had the largest and loudest of any rails. Unfortunately for the American poker pro, it wasn't enough to propel him to his first live WSOP bracelet as Funaro bowed out in fifth place when he ran into the pocket aces of Spencer.

Everything was going the Brit's way but things took a turn for the worse in the next couple of orbits. First, it was a preflop double-up for O'Donnell, followed by a cooler that saw Haxton turn two pair and take another big chunk from Spencer's stack. Down to just a few big blinds, he then ran into Elias' pocket tens and the field was dwindled to just three players.

It was a wild rollercoaster ride for the final three players with multiple all-ins taking place in a short period of time. Elias entered as the chip leader but Haxton quickly doubled up to take that away. However, Elias fought back and delivered another blow to his fellow American. The haymakers weren't finished as Haxton immediately doubled up on the following hand.

Elias was starting to climb out of the hole but O'Donnell eventually landed the final punch. Elias held a dominating hand but O'Donnell found a straight on the river to send Elias home in third place and enter a heads-up match with Haxton. The battle started with some limps and some cautious play but Haxton started to crank up the dial.

After Haxton rivered top pair in the largest pot of their heads-up match, he took a three-to-one chip lead and never looked back. Both players picked up an ace shortly after and all of the chips went in the middle with Haxton holding a dominating advantage. It wasn't clean as O'Donnell flopped a pair of tens but Haxton managed to come from behind once again with a pair of jacks on the river.

What's next for one of the best players to ever play the game? "Well, I'm gonna go try to win the $50k tomorrow," said Haxton afterward as he'll get right back on the wagon with many more high-roller events on the horizon this summer. Haxton, along with many other great players, will be back in action on Friday when Event #23: $50,000 High Roller gets underway at 12:00 p.m. PDT.

Final table payouts:
Place Player Country Prize
1st Isaac Haxton United States $1,698,215
2nd Ryan O'Donnell United Kingdom $1,049,577
3rd Darren Elias United States $725,790
4th Lewis Spencer United Kingdom $511,782
5th Roman Hrabec Czechia $368,134
6th Frank Funaro United States $270,238
7th Brian Rast United States $202,532
8th Joao Vieira Portugal $155,037

Related Links
Ranked Online Poker Rooms
World Series of Poker Gaming Vendor Information


(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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