Jay Lockett makes great comeback in WSOP

21 June 2023

Jay Lockett

Jay Lockett (photo by WSOP)

Event #46: $500 No-Limit Hold'em Freezeout at the 2023 World Series of Poker at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas attracted an enormous field of 5,342 runners, all hoping to capture a WSOP gold bracelet.

The majority of those hopefuls fell by the wayside on Day 1, with just 241 advancing to the second and final day. On Day 2 after nearly 12-hours of play, Austin, Texas native Jay Lockett was the only one left standing, having defeated Benson Tang in a short-lived heads-up match to claim the $262,526 first place prize and the honor of being able to call himself a bracelet winner.

Incredibly, this was Lockett's second ever live tournament cash, with his only other score a $1,900 prize for cashing in the $600 Deepstack event at the 2021 WSOP.

"This wasn't supposed to happen" said an emotional Lockett after the win. "I was dead money coming in...this is amazing. You have to run so hot. I had quads twice at the final table. I had ace-queen that ended up beating ace-king earlier" he continued. Although luck was certainly on his side, in the end Lockett made a number of plays to help him get over the edge and is a deserving winner.

Coming into the day, the average stack depth was at a shallow 25 big blinds and only got shorter from there. As a result, action was fast and furious with the final table of nine set after only eight hours. Nicholas Ronalds was the unfortunate player to fall just shy of that mark after losing a classic race with queens against the big slick of Muaaz Gani.


Ibrahim Tarim was a short stack for much of the latter stages of the day so it was not surprising to see him fall first at the final table when his pair of threes came up short against Benson's sixes.
Next to go was Australian David Hirst, who only entered the event after the airline he was traveling on lost his luggage. Unlike Steve O'Dwyer, it is likely he will not be too upset with those responsible for the misplaced items.

The last woman standing, Shannon Boone, fell in seventh place after getting it in on the flop with a flush draw against Benson's sevens but failing to connect.

Byambajav Bandi demonstrated a good deal of patience while making several pay jumps but did end up hitting the rail with his top pair outkicked by Gani.

It was Gani who was next to be sent to the payout desk when his fours were crushed by the sixes of Lockett. Not long after, Matthew Thom hit the showers in fourth place, his flopped top pair outdrawn by Tang, who at that point had started to put some distance between himself and the rest of the field.

Diego Acquila had quietly stuck around, avoiding big pots for the most part and as a result was able to lock up a six-figure score by making it to three-handed play. His luck did run out when a seemingly invincible Lockett went runner-runner to make a straight. That elimination setup a heads-up showdown between Lockett and Tang, with the former, courtesy of making quads against Tang a few hands earlier, entering with a 2:1 chiplead.

It did not take long for Lockett to prevail when Tang bricked on straight and flush draws against Lockett's pair. Although he will no doubt be disappointed at coming up just short, Tang does walk away with $156,773, not bad for a $500 investment.

Lockett, meanwhile, was left with a look of disbelief at his incredible accomplishment.

Final table results:
Position Name Country Prize
1 Jay Lockett United States $262,526
2 Benson Tang United States $162,207
3 Diego Acquila Argentina $121,085
4 Matthew Thom United States $91,066
5 Muaaz Gani South Africa $69,007
6 Byambajav Bandi United States $52,690
7 Shannon Boone United States $40,540
8 David Hirst Australia $31,433
9 Ibrahim Tarim Turkey $24,562

Related Links
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(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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