Dominik Nitsche

Dominik Nitsche Wins First Bracelet of the 2014 WSOP

Dominik Nitsche

Dominik Nitsche

Germany’s Dominik Nitsche has won the first bracelet of the 2014 World Series of Poker (WSOP) after outlasting a field of 126 in the $10,000 buy-in 2014 WSOP National Championship in Atlantic City.

Day 1 saw the 126-strong field whittled down to a more manageable crowd of 50 players. Among those who failed in their quest to navigate their way through the shark infested waters and towards the money places included the 2013 WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Reiss, Ari Engel, Jake Balsiger and two-time World Poker Tour (WPT) champion “Mad” Marvin Rettenmaier.

The penultimate day’s play kicked off at noon on Friday with 50 players in the hunt for their share of the $1,260,000 prize pool, which was shared among the top 15 finishers.

Players such as Jamie Kersetter, Jared Hamby, WSOP bracelet winner Loni Harwood, Bernard Lee, and Darren Rabinowitz all fell by the wayside during Day 2, but the most important elimination was that of Ruslan Dykshteyn who ran his Ad-Jh into the dominating Ac-Kh of British professional Matthew Ashton to bust in 16th place and burst the bubble.

Dykshteyn’s exit locked up a payout of at least $21,269 for any player who had chips stacked in front of them and meant they were only 14 eliminations away from winning a coveted gold bracelet and the $352,800 first place prize.

The 2012 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Merson was the first player to collect prize money and he was followed to the cashier’s cage by Timothy Campbell, Scott Clements, Bryan Campanello, Christian Pham and Michael Oshana.

Usually on WSOP events, once there are only nine players remaining, play is paused and the final table set, but on this occasion the televised final table was to be played six-handed and that meant play had to continue until three more players lost their stacks.

That trio turned out to be Sean Lippel, Jeff Gunnip and former November Nine member Ylon Schwartz.

2014 WSOP National Final Table

Seat 1: Athanasios Polychronopoulos – 937,000
Seat 2: Chris Bibb – 321,000
Seat 3: Tracy Doss – 546,000
Seat 4: Matthew Ashton – 1,422,000
Seat 5: Andrew Robinson – 157,000
Seat 6: Dominik Nitsche – 350,000

Saturday’s final table took place under the watchful eyes of the television cameras, outside on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Within eight hands of the restart, the players at the final table received more elbow room as Andrew Robinson’s tournament came to an abrupt end.

Robinson started Day 3 as the shortest stack and in the need of chips. When the action passed around to him on the button, Robinson moved all-in for 105,000 chips (8.75 big blinds) with the 8h-6d. The small blind folded, but Athanasios Polychronopoulos called from the big blind with his Ah-4d. The Qc-qs-3s-9d-9s flop failed to come to Robinson’s rescue and he busted in sixth place.

Another 51 hands played out before another player was left with felt where his chips used to be. A raise to 50,000 from Tracy Doss was greeted with a three-bet to 155,000 from Dominik Nitsche in the small blind. With the action back on him, Doss moved all-in for 400,000 and Nitsche called.

Nitsche showed Ts-Td and was in a coinflip scenario versus Doss’ Ad-Jh. A flop reading Tc-9d-6s catapulted Nitsche into the lead and left Doss drawing to running cards. The 6c on the turn locked up the hand for Nitsche and Doss had already stood from his seat and was saying his goodbyes before the river card was dealt.

Four-handed play lasted a mere 15 hands and ended with the elimination of Chris Bibb. A raise to 50,000 from Bibb under the gun was met with a re-raise to 120,000 from Nitsche in the small blind. Bibb then moved all-in for 230,000 and Nitsche instantly called, turning over As-KS as he did so. Bibb was way behind with his Ah-7d and stayed that way as the board ran out Ts-7s-6c-Qs-Qc.

2014 WSOP bracelet

2014 WSOP bracelet

Bibb’s exit left three WSOP bracelet winners in contention for their second piece of poker jewellery. Of those three former champions, Nitsche led with 1,536,000 chips, closely followed by the reigning $50,000 Poker Players Championship champion Matthew Ashton on 1,237,000 and Polychronopoulos with 959,000.

As you would expect from three established professional players, the action was intense from the very second three-handed play began. Ashton fared the worst of the trio and became the third place finisher when a preflop raising war resulted in Ashton being all-in with 3c-3h against the As-h of Nitsche.

Ashton flopped a set of threes on the 9c-7s-3s flop, the 4s on the turn giving Nitsche some hope as he picked up a flush draw. The flush draw came in as the 5s completed the community cards and sent Ashton to the sidelines.

That hand left Nitsche sporting a more than 2-to-1 chip lead over Polychronopoulos, but there was plenty of poker to be played as the latter’s stack was still the equivalent of almost 40 big blinds.

The players seemed to take it in turns for being the aggressor and while Polychronopoulos couldn’t reel Nitsche in, Nitsche couldn’t pull away from him sole opponent.

Then, on hand 113 of the final table, Nitsche raised to 70,000 and Polychronopolous made it 190,000 to go. Nitsche shoved his entire stack across the line, Polychronopoulos nodded his head and called.

Nitsche: Ah-8c
Polychronopoulos: Ad-Tc

Nitsche needed to spike an eight somewhere on the board to avoid doubling-up Polychronopolous. And spike he did as the Kd-8s-2d flop came into view. Nitsche kept hold of his advantage as the 7c landed on the turn, and became a double WSOP champion when the 4s completed the five community cards.

2014 WSOP National Final Table Results

1st: Dominic Nitsche – $352,800
2nd: Athanasios Polychronopoulos – $218,056
3rd: Matthew Ashton – $157,399
4th: Christopher Bibb – $115,655
5th: Tracy Doss – $86,461
6th: Andrew Robinson – $65,734
7th: Ylon Schwartz – $50,816
8th: Jeffrey Gunnip – $39,917
9th: Sean Lippel – $31,865

The first of the 2014 WSOP events in Las Vegas commence at noon on May 27 with the $500 buy-in Employees events, followed by the $25,000 buy-in Mixed Max No Limit Hold’em event at 4:00pm.

Images and data courtesy of the WSOP live updates team.

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