2013 'Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?' Winner Wins First Bracelet
July 5, 2017 (Las Vegas, NV) - Sebastian Langrock earned the biggest score of his poker career on Wednesday night, but it wasn't even close to the most money he's ever made in a night.
Langrock won his first bracelet in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em / Pot-Limit Omaha event, defeating a 1,056-player field to win $268,555. He defeated Ryan Laplante heads-up to deny Laplante his second career bracelet.
In 2013, the German won $1 million on the German version of the game show 'Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?' so he's used to the feeling of winning life-changing money.
"It's like I'm pretty calm, actually," said Langrock after the win. "The thing is, about four years ago, I was lucky enough to win a million on the TV show 'Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?' so I had this feeling before. It's not that I'm cool with it now because this is something special, of course. But I can not really get it right now. I think it takes a few days."
The final hand of the tournament came in pot-limit Omaha, but his seven-figure score on television came thanks to his knowledge of fine dining.
"The final question was 'Who should be familiar with the twenty past four position?'" said Langrock. "The idea behind the twenty past four is like the knife and the fork is positioned on the plate when you're ready. And one of the answers was 'The waiter.' And I knew right away. I had a good run at that heads-up and I had a good run at this heads-up. History repeats itself."
Langrock used the money won from his game show appearance in order to support him while he began to take tournament poker more seriously.
He doesn't consider himself a professional player since his living expenses are already taken care of with other money. But after spending several years playing tournaments in Europe and coming to Las Vegas every summer, he feels he's taken his game to new level.
"This is my fifth year here in Vegas," said Langrock. "I've been here five consecutive years. And the first time was pretty tough. I could not adapt at all and my game was bad. I specialized in PLO the last two years. In these years, you get to know many poker players, better players and I finally got to know some very good players. They helped me a lot and I improved my game a lot. Every year I think 'How bad was I 12 months ago?' And this time it's like I feel I'm close to the peak now."
Having put in a lot of work into his pot-limit Omaha game over the last several years, Langrock came in with what seemed like an obvious strategy for the final day. Stay away from no-limit hold'em and focus on the Omaha rounds.
"PLO is my specialty and there were a few players that I knew to avoid in no-limit hold'em and I did that, so I had the plan," he said.
The final day of play got underway at 2 p.m. with 16 players still vying for a bracelet. The 40-year old came in as one of the shorter stacks and was still one of the short stacks when they got down to the final table. The tournament was played eight-handed, which gave the final eight players a final table, as opposed to the usual nine.
Langrock got a hold of some chips early on at the final table, when he eliminated Fernando Brito in eighth place. He won a flip with his king-queen against Brito's pocket fives. That got Langrock trending in the right direction. It's the hand that he felt turned it around for him. He went from one of the shorter stacks with eight left to the chip leader on dinner break with five players remaining.
"The key hand was obviously the coin flip I had against Brito," said Langrock. "Actually, I think it was the wrong call, but I had the feeling that if I want to win it, I have to go with it this time because if I fold, I'm down to seven big [blinds] and I have no chance at all. So, I called and won the flip and then I could spin it up."
This was the 64th event on the 2017 WSOP schedule and the preliminary events are winding down. The Main Event is just a few days away and for most people, a win at this point would give them confidence heading into one of the biggest events of the year.
Not for Langrock.
"I've actually had bad experiences with the Main Event," said Langrock. "The four years I've played here, I played the Main. I had good tables, bad players and I couldn't get myself going. Again, I think I have improved my game, but this is just two cards, so I don't get my hopes up."
After Brito was eliminated in eighth place the final seven players battled for several hours before another player hit the rail. Jerry Callahan and Zahir Gilani hit the rail in back-to-back hands just before the final five players took a one-hour dinner break.
While action slowed from seven players down to five, after the players came back from break, Langrock had all the chips less than two hours later.
Shannon Shorr was eliminated by Victor Choupeaux in fifth place when he ran his king-jack into Choupeaux's ace-jack and Esther Taylor hit the rail shortly after. She got all in with pocket threes against Laplante's ace-queen. Laplante flopped an ace to eliminate Taylor in third.
Choupeaux moved all in with king-nine and was eliminated by Langrock's ace-five suited, which left Langrock heads-up with Laplante. Langrock started with a slight lead, but the two started the match with a nearly identical chip stack.
Langrock steamrolled Laplante heads-up and won the match in quick fashion. In pot-limit Omaha, Langrock got all in with the nut straight against Laplante's combo draw. Langrock's straight held up to win it all.
Other notable pros that were eliminated shy of the final table include Connor Drinan in 12th place and two time bracelet winner Mark Radoja in 10th place.
Over all of the years Langrock traveled out to Las Vegas for the summer, he almost always made a trip back home to recharge before the Main Event. This year, he felt fresh enough to stay.
"I was planning on going home like a week ago," said Langrock. "I was here for three weeks, but then I was like I"m not that Vegas tired like I was the years before after three weeks. So, I decided, spontaneously, to extend my stay. And that worked out pretty well."
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Final Table Results:
1st: Sebastian Langrock - $268,555
2nd: Ryan Laplante - $165,983
3rd: Victor Choupeaux - $118,190
4th: Esther Taylor - $85,225
5th: Shannon Shorr - $62,242
6th: Zahir Gilani - $46,048
7th: Jerry Callahan - $34,515
8th: Fernando Brito - $26,216