Poker pro scores fourth career bracelet, second of the summer and $814,179 in rematch with Paul Volpe
July 14, 2018 (Las Vegas, NV) - In 2015, Shaun Deeb defeated Paul Volpe in the $10,000 pot-limit hold’em championship. It was Deeb’s first World Series of Poker bracelet.
Fast forward three years later. Each with three bracelets to their name and they were squaring off again with a bracelet on the line. A few hours before the sun started to rise in Vegas on Saturday morning, they were the final two players in the $10,000 no-limit hold’em six-max championship.
History repeated itself.
Deeb came back from a sizable chip disadvantage against Volpe heads-up to take home his fourth career bracelet and second of the 2018 WSOP, becoming the first player to accomplish the feat this year. The Troy, NY native defeated the 355-entry field and took home $814,179.
It’s the continuation of an absolutely monstrous summer for Deeb. It was his 15th cash of the series, his third final table and his second victory. His first came in the $25,000 pot-limit Omaha high roller, where he took home $1,402,683. With his victory in the six-max championship event, he brings his earnings for the 2018 WSOP alone to $2,458,241.
“I don’t know. This year has just been ridiculous,” said Deeb after his victory. “To win two tough events, you know … I said it after the PLO and I’m going to say it again. It still isn’t going to sink in until I’m home, but this is exactly the summer I came out here to do.”
For most players, this type of positive variance is either unattainable or just simply something that can’t put into words. Not only has Deeb experienced this type of run, but he thinks that the extended positive variance makes players tougher to beat.
“I actually did in my online days a couple years ago when I won four SCOOP titles,” said Deeb. “I think there is a lot to be said in poker when you’re running good. You’re fearless and you trust yourself that you’re not going to run bad.”
Deeb is much more than a one-trick pony. No-limit hold’em isn’t even his best game. Deeb plays all the games very well and cashed in tournaments in nearly every variant of poker. Many of today’s top players today are working with equity calculators, figuring out game theory optimal strategy and working with programs to help figure out the best lines to take.
Not Deeb. He relies on his card sense and his instincts at the tables. It’s served him well so far.
“I just play poker, man,” he said when asked how he stays on top of all the games. “I am not a studious guy. I don’t study the game, I don’t use solvers. I just trust my instincts, trust my knowledge of the games and equity and just think that I’m going to be comparable in any game and figure out a way to get an edge.”
Deeb went on to say that he didn’t even believe he was the best player at the final table, but he found a way to use his preflop aggression to gain an edge on the others.
“I think I got a lot of folds and got a lot of opens through that really keep you alive,” he said.
Aside from the third scores of six-figures or more, Deeb’s victory gave him a little bit of breathing room atop the WSOP Player of the Year race. Coming into the final table, Deeb was neck-and-neck with John Hennigan. While he loves the money that comes from the success of winning POY, he wants to win that title and have his banner on the wall of the Brasilia room.
“POY is everything,” he said. “The first thing that motivated me in poker was the PokerStars TLB leaderboard. You know, I’ve always cared about the leaderboard. It’s been a pride in my grinding ability.”
During the final table, he found out that Hennigan had a huge stack on Day 2 of the $3,000 HORSE. Hennigan finished Day 2 sixth in chips, which didn’t surprise Deeb in the slightest.
“It’s just like a boxing match," said Deeb. "I know it’s a silly cliché, but every time I throw a jab, every time he counters back, and then I throw this uppercut here and now I know he’s coming for first place in that one. I will still be ahead even if he wins, but he’s always within striking distance. He’s a great guy and a great poker player. This has been a battle for the ages in POY.”
It took quite a while to reach the final table, with cards getting in the air for the final day at 2 p.m. with 17 players still vying for one of the summer’s final bracelets.
After five levels of play, they reached the unofficial final table of seven players was reached. Volpe scored a huge double through Martin Zamani, which left Zamani with just a couple big blinds. He was eliminated shortly after and Volpe took the chip lead into the official final table.
Scott Margereson was the short stack at the start of the final table with about 15 big blinds, but it was John Andress who finished in sixth. Margereson followed right behind him to the cashier’s cage in fifth and Bin Duan busted in fourth.
Duan’s elimination left the final three players fairly close in chips. Three-handed play lasted for most of the final table with the chip lead changing hands on a few separate occasions.
Eventually, Deeb opened a slight lead over Volpe with Lewis steadily becoming the short stack. The tables turned, however, when one of the tournament’s biggest pot was played between the two biggest stacks.
With blinds of 60,000/120,000 and a 120,000 big blind ante, Volpe raised to 260,000 on the button. Deeb three-bet to 825,000 out of the small blind and Volpe four-bet to 1,950,000. Deeb moved all in and Volpe called for his last 6,700,000.
Volpe was in great shape with pocket 10s against Deeb’s pocket sixes. The board ran out clean for Volpe and he took a massive chip lead.
“[I thought] That I just punted another tournament,” said Deeb about his thoughts after the hand. “I thought that Paul wouldn’t induce with 10s and like he even said, ‘You’re one of the few people I would induce with 10s.’ I hadn’t three-bet the small blind a lot, but with the stack sizes, I thought there wasn’t a lot of hands that he could four-bet and call.
“And he’s seen me three-bet a lot of weaker hands, so a lot of the you know, suited Broadway hands I can’t rip, but with the sixes, I thought I could three and five-bet the smaller pairs. He knew that as well, so he induced with the 10s. It’s kind of old school online poker.”
Deeb moved all in the next hand with six-five suited and doubled through Lewis’ queen-jack. That left Lewis with about five big blinds, and he busted to Volpe the next hand. For the 22-year-old French pro, it was his third top-three finish of the summer, leaving Volpe and Deeb heads-up.
Volpe started heads-up play with a better than 4-to-1 chip lead, but the first few hands went Deeb’s way and he cut that down to about a 2-to-1 advantage. They finished the level, the blinds went up and Deeb continued to win the majority of pots, pulling nearly even with Volpe.
The momentum had completely swung back in Deeb’s direction and he really put Volpe away with a well-timed river bluff.
With blinds of 100,000/200,000 and a 200,000 big blind ante, Volpe limped in on the button and Deeb raised to 750,000 out of the big blind. Volpe called. The flop was and Deeb checked. Volpe bet 800,000 and Deeb check-raised to 1,850,000. Volpe called and the came on the turn.
Both players checked the turn and the came on the river. Deeb moved all in for effectively Volpe’s remaining 3,000,000 tournament chips. Eventually Volpe folded. Deeb admitted he was bluffing with , which was confirmed on the Twitch live stream.
“I had the ace of diamonds, so I was planning on bluffing diamonds and I know he’s got a lot of jack-10s and king-jacks, but when he checks back the turn, I’m convinced he just has two pair,” said Deeb. “I thought he thought his skill edge was larger, so I thought he’s not going to call off there. And it’s such a goofy line for me to bluffing. I was pretty convinced he’d fold kings up there, and he did … He didn’t really have much momentum after that.”
Deeb opened up a better than 4-to-1 chip lead after his bluff, and finished Volpe off a few hands later. Both Deeb and Volpe were battling for their fourth career bracelets and second of the summer. Volpe won the $10,000 Omaha hi-lo championship for $417,921 earlier in the summer. He bested that score with $503,196 for his runner-up finish.
Final Table Results:
1st: Shaun Deeb - $814,179
2nd: Paul Volpe - $503,196
3rd: Romain Lewis - $325,842
4th: Bin Duan - $216,370
5th: Scott Margereson - $147,431
6th: John Andress - $103,152
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