Jack Sinclair

Jack Sinclair Wins 2018 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event

Last year, Jack Sinclair came agonizingly close to the pinnacle of poker (not to mention a monster payday) when he finished eighth in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. Now, I am not about to argue that the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) Main Event matches the prestige or the purse of the traditional WSOP Main event, but methinks that matters not to Sinclair today, as he won the WSOPE Main Event, finally earning the first gold bracelet of his poker career.

WSOP Europe“It’s like being in a dream at the moment,” Sinclair said in his post-game interview. “The whole week has been absolutely insane; just super smooth and not like any other tournament I’ve ever played. I never really lost a big pot as far as I can remember and just got all the hands when I needed them.”

Anyone who has played poker has envisioned what that would be like in a big tournament, when the poker gods are just smiling on them. I had that happen to me once in a $100 re-buy tourney, but it lasted for maybe 30 minutes. It helped me get from the bubble to third place, but that’s a far cray from running through the WSOPE Main Event with everything going your way. I bet Jamie Gold could relate.

“Every time I felt like things were getting precarious I instantly won a big pot. I’m very happy with how I played and even more happy with how I ran!” exclaimed Sinclair.

Missed Bluff Doomed Sinclair Last Year

Poker players – professional poker players especially – are interesting in many ways, but one thing I have always found fascinating is that they seem to have almost photographic memories for hands, no matter how long ago they were. In his interview with WSOP.com afterward, Sinclair compared a specific hand at this year’s final table to one he had at last year’s WSOP Main Event final table.

“I thought about [the 2017 WSOP final table] once at the final table when I had jack-four off-suit against Laszlo. That was a somewhat important hand at the WSOP last year and I got the bluff through this time, which was good,” he said.

That J-4 hand last year was an absolute killer for Sinclair. Play was ten-handed, the unofficial final table, and Sinclair was third in chips with about 50 million. I don’t have my DVR recording or notes from the event anymore, so I’ll go by the WSOP.com live reporting to jog our memories. After John Hesp raised and eventual champ Scott Blumstein called, Sinclair three-bet to 5.4 million with his J-4 offsuit. Hesp bowed out, but Blumstein kept going. Sinclair led out on every street, upping his bet every time. 4 million, 7.5 million, 13 million. He missed every card. Blumstein had to think about it for a while on the river, but he eventually called with pocket Tens and Sinclair mucked, knowing he was beaten. Sinclair lost over 30 million chips on that hand and was unable to recover.

I wonder if when he ran a bluff with J-4 this week, he thought to himself, “Oh shit, what am I doing?”

No Such Worries This Year

It was a fairly tight race going into the six-handed WSOPE Main Event final table, with the spread of the top three players running from 14.040 million to 10.615 million. Sinclair was in fourth place with 8.585 million. His big move prior to heads-up came five-handed when he doubled through Milos Skrbic Aces versus Queens. That elevated Sinclair into the chip lead with nearly 18 million chips. He later eliminated Krasimir Yankov to go into heads-up against Laszlo Bujtas almost tied, 27.050 million to 26.070 million.

Bujtas jumped out to an early lead, winning a big hand to give himself a 2-to-1 advantage. But Sinclair quickly made it back and then some, thanks to a reversal of fortune from last year’s Main Event final table, as this time he was the one to look up a bluff by his opponent (though it helped that Sinclair rivered two pair).

From that point, Sinclair essentially ran away with it and though Bujtas staved off elimination a couple times, he could never get close. On the final hand, Sinclair had nearly 50 million chips and Bujtas was down to 3.2 million, only eight big blinds. The two players came back from a short break and Bujtas moved all-in pre-flop with J-7 offsuit. Sinclair made the call with Q-9 offsuit, so Bujtas was at least live. A Queen flopped and that was it. Bujtas needed runner-runner to catch up and when he bricked on the turn, he was drawing dead.

With the win, his first at the World Series of Poker, Jack Sinclair now has about $3.4 million in lifetime live tournament earnings.

2018 World Series of Poker Europe Final Table Results

1. Jack Sinclair – €1,122,239 ($1,279,352)
2. Laszlo Bujtas – €693,573 ($790,673)
3. Krasimir Yankov – €480,028 ($547,232)
4. Ryan Riess – €337,778 ($385,067)
5. Milos Skrbic – €241,718 ($275,559)
6. Ihor Yerofieiev – €175,965 ($200,600)

Lead photo credit: WSOP.com

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