Three Players Become Double Bracelet Winners in Final Week of 2018 WSOP
A couple weeks ago, I read a couple articles on the intertubes about how we were getting close to not having a double bracelet winner at the World Series of Poker for the first time since 1999. It was certainly a valid fear (I guess “fear” really isn’t the correct term, because I doubt anyone was actually frightened that it would happen), as the WSOP was nearing an end and with large fields for most events, the math simply isn’t in that statistic’s favor. But all of a sudden, in the Series’ final week, not only did the streak continue, but three players nabbed their second bracelets of the summer.
The eyes of the poker world and poker fandom were obviously on the 2018 WSOP Main Event final table last weekend. Mine certainly were (until I couldn’t keep them open any more on Sunday morning). People watching the final-table broadcast likely noticed poker pro Shaun Deeb on runner-up Tony Miles’ rail. Deeb was apparently helping coach Miles. Before he hung out there, though, he just happened to the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max event, winning for $814,179.
In becoming the first player two win two bracelets at the 2018 WSOP, Deeb interestingly defeated Paul Volpe heads-up, the same he beat heads-up when he won his first bracelet in 2015 ($10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em Championship). Deeb cashed 16 times at the World Series of Poker this year, including an additional final table, totaling nearly $2.5 million in earnings. He’ll have a fun “What I Did This Summer” report to read to his class.
The win also allowed Deeb to jump in front of newly-crowned Poker Hall of Famer John Hennigan on the WSOP Player of the Year rankings. Deeb is well out in front now with 4,334.06 points. Ben Yu has moved into second thanks to a victory last weekend, as well (3,746.04 points), Joe Cada is third (3,531.86), and Hennigan is now in fourth (3,499.91).
Speaking of Joe Cada, I think this guy is legit. When he won the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event, becoming the youngest to ever do so just shy of his 22nd birthday, poker fans naturally wondered if he was a real threat to go on and have a great poker career. After all, just because you win the Main Event doesn’t mean you are destined for greatness, even if you have already clinched some degree of immortality.
In the years since, Cada has proven to be one of the best in the world. Though John Cynn emerged as the WSOP Main Event Champion this year, Cada was arguably the story of the WSOP, as he finished fifth in the Main Event, becoming the first player in poker’s “modern” era to reach another Main Event final table after winning the tournament in an earlier year. Achieving a first and a fifth in such massive fields might be the greatest accomplishment in poker history (though Cynn’s first place this year following an eleventh place two years ago is right there, too).
In addition to the Main Event, though, Cada won Event #3, the $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout, early in the WSOP. That plus the Main Event run would have qualified his WSOP as fantastic, but the day after he was knocked out of the Main Event, following day after day of grueling poker, he entered Event #75, The Closer – $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em (30-minute levels), and proceeded to win it that weekend for his second bracelet of the 2018 World Series of Poker and his fourth overall.
The WSOP ended this week with the conclusion of the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop. While perhaps a bit disappointing this year, as only 27 players entered after the WSOP had announced that 30 players had already confirmed participation back in June, it is still one of the highlight events of the summer. The excessive cost, insane prize money, absolutely packed star power, and charitable contribution of the tournament still make it extremely prestigious.
Justin Bonomo, who is just 32 years old but has seemingly been playing poker forever, won the Big One on Tuesday night to claim the $10 million first prize. He came from behind to defeat Fedor Holz heads-up to become the third double bracelet winner of the summer. Earlier in the WSOP, he won the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship.
We are only in July, but Bonomo has already had a 2018 that only the best players in history could even hope to dream about. He has now won nearly $25 million in this calendar year. Yes, that is correct. Even before the Big One for One Drop, he had won $15 million in the 2018.
This sick heater of a year has also catapulted Bonomo to the very top of the all-time live tournament money list with $42,979,593. The Big One victory vaulted him past both legends Erik Seidel ($34,575,437) and Daniel Negreanu ($39,656,197). Fedor Holz, the runner-up, jumped up to fourth place with $32,550,886 in live earnings. Doing well in super high roller-type tournaments has its perks.
In addition to being the 19th consecutive year the WSOP has had a double bracelet winner, this is also the fourth year in a row with more than one double bracelet winner. The most double bracelet winners in a single year during this two-decade stretch is six, which happened in 2003. It was quite the murderer’s row of poker players, as well: Johnny Chan, Chris Ferguson, Layne Flack, Phil Hellmuth, John Juanda, and Men Nguyen.