Stephen Hubbard had never recorded a win in a poker tournament heading into the final table of Event #3: $10,100 Pot-Limit Omaha, but thanks to a secret weapon and some early run good, to capture the title and first place prize of $231,750.
Hubbard started the day fourth in chips, but on the fourth hand of the day, he found himself all in and at risk on the flop with a straight flush draw against Cliff Josephy's kings. A spade on the river gave Hubbard his flush as he quickly vaulted to the top of the chip counts.
Josephy would be out the door a few hands later when his flopped top pair fell to Vasil Medarov's rivered flush as the former WSOP Main Event Final Tableist headed to the payout desk to collect his $61,800 sixth place prize.
Hubbard's run good would continue on the next hand, this time courtesy of Dylan Weisman. Weisman opened to 140,000 on the button, and Hubbard defended his big blind. After facing bets of 175,000 in the flop and 450,000 on the turn and with a completed board of , Weisman emptied the clip, betting 870,000 with 20,000 behind.
Hubbard snap-called and tabled the king-ten of spades for a royal flush, and Weisman could do nothing but shake his head and tap the table as Hubbard took the chip lead.
Weisman would head out the door the next hand when his flopped set was bested by start-of-day chip leader Karel Mokry's turned wheel and, for the second day in a row, had to settle for a fifth-place finish this time for $77,250.
With Richard Gryko and Vasil Medarov sitting with just over 1.6 million and Mokry sitting comfortably in second place with just over four million and roughly a million chips between himself and Hubbard, fireworks seemed unlikely. Still, fireworks had already been ordered in a day full of surprises.
Mokry opened to 160,000 from under the gun, and Hubbard three-bet to 600,000 in the button. Mokry called and then led out for 725,000 on the flop. Hubbard called as the turn fell the , and Mokry quickly moved all in for 2.67 million.
Hubbard went into the tank and used several time extensions before he called tabling for a pair of kings with a boardway draw. Mokry tabled for two pair and needed to hold for over an eight million chip pot.
However, the river gave Hubbard a set of kings, and a shocked Mokry was out the door in fourth place for $97,850. After the hand, Hubbard announced to the table the secret he had held all day. He had just become a new father and was tapping into some new dad run good.
Now holding a nearly nine-to-one chip lead over both players, Hubbard appeared poised to run away with the title, but Medarov would not go away quietly.
After scoring a double through Hubbard to cross the three million chip mark, Medarov would send Gryko to the rail in third place for $123,600 when his flopped top and bottom pair best Gryko's bottom two as he narrowed the gap with Hubbard to only a two to one chip disadvantage as heads up play began.
However, both players would flop king-high straights on the third hand of heads-up play, but Hubbard held a re-draw to a diamond flush.
All the money got in on the turn, and when the river fell a diamond, Hubbard pumped his fists in the air as he sent Medarov to the rail in second place for $164,800 and doubled his career tournament earnings in the process.
|1st||Stephen Hubbard||United States||$231,750||232|
|3rd||Richard Gryko||United Kingdom||$123,600||124|
|4th||Karel Mokry||Czech Republic||$97,850||98|
|5th||Dylan Weisman||United States||$77,250||77|
|6th||Cliff Josephy||United States||$61,800||62|
Event #3: $10,100 Pot-Limit Omaha attracted a field of 103 entrants, with the top 15 walking away with a cash of at least $15,450.
Notables to fall early on day one included Alex Livingston, Chino Rheem, Jared Bleznick, Laszlo Bujtas, Alex Foxen, and Brain Rast, all falling short of the money.
Micheal Duek would be the final domino to come tumbling down when his pocket aces were bested by Mokry's turned flush to burst the money bubble late in the evening.
Daniel Geeng (14th), Event #2 runner-up Allan Le (10th), and Ronald Keijzer (8th) picked up their second cashes of the series, while John Richards (15th), Artem Maksimov (13th), Ricardo Alvarado (12th), Roger Teska (11th) and Damjan Radanov (9th) all picked up their first cashes of the series.
Event #2 Winner Eelis Parssinen just missed out on scoring back-to-back final table appearances. Still, with his seventh-place finish, he moves into second on the series leaderboard with 218 points courtesy of his third cash in as many events.
Thanks to his seventh-place finish in Event #2 combined with his win in Event #3, Hubbard sits atop the player of the series standings with 262 points and is now the early front-runner.
Event #3 runner-up Medarov continues his impressive run thus far and is the only other player above 200 points, thanks to his third straight cash, while Weisman, Mokry, and Gryko all move into the top ten in the race for the $25,000 added prize money with their second cashes of the series.
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