Poker pro secures one of WSOP's quickest wins

1 July 2016

Shaun Deeb

Shaun Deeb (photo by WSOP)

Meet the latest WSOP gold bracelet champion
Name: Shaun Deeb
Birthplace: Troy, NY
Age: 30
Current Residence: Las Vegas, NV / Troy, NY
Marital Status: Married
Children: 1
Profession: Professional Poker Player
Number of WSOP Cashes: 35
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 8
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 2
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 1st (2015)
Total WSOP Earnings: $1,291,842
Personal Facts: Widely regarded as one of the top Chinese Poker players in the world

Winning a gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker is supposed to be difficult. It's supposed to be a crowning achievement in the course of every poker player's life. Victory is supposed to be an exhaustive collapse over the finish line.

For Shaun Deeb, he made winning a gold bracelet look like child's play.

In one of the quickest Seven-Card Stud final tables in memory, the Upstate New York poker pro had everything go his way from start to finish, in what ended up as his second WSOP victory.

Deeb won the $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud tournament, which was played over three days and nights and concluded at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Deeb collected $111,101 in prize money, which is but one of several six-figure wins of his career, or in other words – about what he makes in a typical session of Open-Face Chinese Poker, a game for which he's developed a reputation as one of the world's best.

Deeb won his latest victory by coming out on top at a final table which included several notable achievers. Six of the top eight finalists were previous gold bracelet winners. Deeb was characteristically modest on his reflections right after the win.

"I was just happy to have some chips going into Day Three and it obviously was a super tough final table with a lot of great players who have been playing for over a decade," Deeb said. "There's a lot of run good in Stud and I had seen all the updates, I had all the big hands and all the 3-way pots and I ran one big bluff and it got through and with the time it just had value so it was really easy to play. I didn't really have to outplay anyone. Anyone would've won with my cards in that tournament."

The ultimate moment of triumph came when Deeb was heads-up versus Adam Friedman, then won five straight hands, and scooped the final pot of the tournament in a manner that left everyone scurrying for position to try and figure out what had just happened, so quickly.

"We're all friends with each other. Obviously, we're playing for bracelets, but it's not a huge event," Deeb said. "It's only $1,500 -- so there was a different attitude than you get in some of the other buy-in levels. People are a lot more miserable when they bust out. No one was that disappointed with the result, except maybe John (Monette). But, you know, we had a lot of fun and it's just great when you play people you feel comfortable with because I think I play better when I'm relaxed."

With this win, Deeb adds to his title list which includes a win in last year's $10K PotLimit Omaha Championship. He's now close to $1.3 million in WSOP earnings in 35 cashes. Deeb's accomplishments in other tournaments and side action accounts for a considerably more sizable fortune. Deeb also owns three World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) titles.

This tourney attracted a modest-sized field of 331 entrants which created a prize pool totaling $446,850. The top 50 finishers collected prize money.

Aside from the winner, here's a brief report of the other top finishers who made the final table:
Second Place: Adam Friedman, from Gahanna, OH finished as the runner up. Friedman, who cashed for the 18th time at the series, won his gold bracelet at the 2012 series. He was paid $68,666. Side Note: Friedman is one of the few players who has WSOP cashes as follows: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th.

Third Place: Max Pescatori, a.k.a. "the Italian Pirate," originally from Milan, Italy and now residing in Las Vegas, was aiming for a fifth WSOP title, after winning two gold bracelets last year. He also made his second final table in 2016. However, this experience turned out to be a mixed blessing, coming in third but also receiving another nice payout, totaling $46,312. This was Pescatori's 59th time to cash at the WSOP.

Fourth Place: Katherine Fleck, from Ft. Meyers, FL was a delight to have at the final table, which was her first time to make the money at the WSOP. Prior to the start, Fleck was beaming with joy just to be at the table among such a notable lineup. However, she also played marvelously well, particularly for a first-time appearance at a final table. Fleck earned a well-deserved $31,899 and went away with quite a story, and some fine memories.

Fifth Place: Eugene Katchalov, from Kiev, Ukraine, is a former gold bracelet winner who posted his best finish in three years. He now has 37 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. Katchalov pocketed $22,448.

Sixth Place: Yaniv Birman, from Westwood, CA came in sixth place. He collected $16,147 in what was his first time to cash at the WSOP in five years.

Seventh Place: John Monette, from Palmdale, CA, was aiming for what might have been a third gold bracelet. This was his third final table appearance of this year's series after coming in 2nd and 3rd previously. Monnette has now finished in-the-money 47 times at the WSOP and has accumulated nearly $1.8 million in earnings. Seventh place paid $11,878.

Eighth Place: Cory Zeidman, from Coral Springs, FL and a gold bracelet winner back in 2012 rounded out the final table as the eighth-place finisher. He received $8,941. This was the 49th official event on this year's schedule. This leaves only 20 gold bracelet events still to be played at the 2016 WSOP.

Other notable in-the money finishers
Brandon Cantu, a two-time WSOP winner, finished in 11th place.

Randy Holland, a former gold bracelet winner, came in 12th.

Matt Grapenthien, a gold bracelet winner, finished in 14th place. This marks four 14th-or-better finishes for him so far at the 2016 WSOP.

Mark Gregorich, the Las Vegas Omaha High-Low Split specialist, finished in 16th place.

Vladimir Shchemelev, a gold bracelet winner, finished in 17th place.

Dan Idema, a three-time gold bracelet winner, came in 18th.

Naoya Kihara, the first Japanese gold bracelet winner in history, finished in 19th place.

Konstantin Maslak, a gold bracelet winner, came in 20th.

"Miami John" Cernuto, a three-time gold bracelet winner, finished in 21st place.

Luis Velador, a two-time gold bracelet winner, ended up as the 22nd-place finisher.

Benny Glaser, seeking a third gold bracelet at this year's series after winning two events already, came in 25th.

Other notables who cashed 26-50 included – Cyndy Violette, Robert Mizrachi, Al Barbieri, and others.

Fun facts:
The ages of participants ranged from 23 to 82. The eldest player in the field was John Womack.

The breakdown of player nationalities for this event was 268 Americans and 63 players from elsewhere. The top five nations represented were the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Russia, and Brazil.

The breakdown of participants by gender was 92.5 percent males and 7.5 percent females.

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

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