Roberly Felicio tops Colossus, wins first bracelet and $1 million
Las Vegas, NV (7 June 2018) - Coming into Thursday’s final table, Roberly Felicio had only three World Series of Poker cashes, two of which were Circuit events, totaling $4,682.
By the early hours of Friday morning, however, Felicio achieved poker’s greatest honor. He is taking a bracelet and a seven-figure score back to his home country of Brazil. The 49-year-old entrepreneur defeated a massive 13,070-entry field and earned $1,000,000 in the $565 Colossus.
“I’m very happy,” said Felicio through an interpreter after his win. “It was a very tough final table with very tough opponents. And the heads-up, especially, was much emotional. But I’m very happy to be able to win. I still don’t realize what is happening, but I’m very happy to take a bracelet and that’s very rewarding for me.”
Despite it being one of the smallest buy-ins and biggest fields of the summer, Felicio still had to battle through several tough professionals before battling Sang Liu heads-up for the title. Liu was also new to the bright lights of the WSOP. This was his first final table and first cash in an open event.
Like most Brazilian poker players, Felicio had a loud and boisterous rail, full of fellow Brazilian poker players. Having a bunch of his countrymen cheering him on only made the experience sweeter for Felicio.
“That was the best part,” said Felicio about his rail of support. “I came here to Vegas with only one friend and being here, I had a lot of Brazilians cheering for me and also some professionals. I think that was the difference heads-up. When I was down, I would look at the rail and the people that are there cheering for me. I’m sure that is what made the difference for me to get the title.”
Two of Brazil’s most prominent poker pros were both on hand to watch Felicio turn $565 into $1 million, Felipe Ramos and Andre Akkari.
It was Ramos who helped lay the foundation for Felicio’s success and Akkari was one of the first players to strike fear into Felicio at the table.
“I study a lot. I started like four years ago and I had a great teacher, which is Felipe Ramos,” said Felicio. “He helped me a lot when I was beginning in poker and I started talking to some really great players from Brazil. I remember a few years ago when I sat at a table with Andre Akkari and I was shaking. Now, three years later, I have a bracelet like Akkari.”
Aside from battling through a couple tough pros with more money on the line than most people make in a decade, Felicio battled through fatigue of playing for four days, with the final one playing for nearly 12 hours.
When he would feel fatigued at the table, he would think back to his home in South America and think about all the people that were pulling for him.
“Every time I got tired, I thought back about my family in Brazil,” said Felicio. “I have a great family structure, so I think back to my two kids and my wife in Brazil. And also thinking that it’s not just them, but the entire Brazil community that is cheering for me. So, any time I got ried, I would think of them and that made me keep going.”
The final table started at 2 p.m. with the final nine players and saw a quick elimination. On the fifth hand of the day, Steven Jones hit the rail in ninth place. He came in as the short stack with less than 10 big blinds and moved all in with ace-deuce against Song Choe’s jack-seven.
Jones flopped bottom pair, but Choe flopped top two pair. Jones didn’t improve on the turn or river to hit the rail in ninth place.
Arguably the most accomplished player at the final table was the next to go. John Racener fell in eighth place just a couple orbits later. He got all in preflop in a race situation with his ace-jack against Song Choe’s pocket sevens.
The sevens held up and Choe eliminated the only bracelet winner at the final table.
On the very next hand, Choe scored another knockout. After defending his big blind and check-calling a bet on a six-high flop, Choe check-called a shove from Gunther Dumsky on a king turn card.
Dumsky showed pocket eights but was behind Choe’s king-jack. The river was another king and Dumsky was eliminated.
That gave Choe a short-lived chip lead before Scott Margereson took it from him six-handed. Margereson, who is two months off of a seven-figure score at a major tournament in South Florida, hit runners to make the nut straight and doubled up in a monster pot against Choe’s top set. It ended up being a nut vs. second nuts situation which moved the British pro into the chip lead.
Choe lost more than half of his stack and held on for another few orbits before being eliminated in sixth place. He got all in preflop against TK Miles with ace-seven against Miles’ pocket eights. Miles’ pair held up and won the pot. Choe was the first player to leave with a six-figure payout, earning $126,158 for his sixth-place finish.
Five-handed play lasted for quite a while. It took another 59 hands before another player departed. Miles and Liu got all the chips in the middle preflop, flipping for the chip lead. Liu showed ace-king and was up against Miles’ pocket jacks.
The ace on the flop sealed Miles’ fate and Liu took over the chip lead with four players remaining heading to dinner break. Liu started four-handed play with the chip lead, but over the next 92 hands, the blinds continued to go up, the stacks got shallower, the chip lead changed hands several times and nobody was eliminated.
It took nearly four hours for another player to fall. It was Margereson to break the streak and got all in with ace-six against Felicio’s pocket nines. The board ran out dry and Margereson was eliminated just shy of his first bracelet.
Joel Wurtzel was eliminated just a couple hands later when he moved all in on the button with and was called by Liu in the big blind with . Liu paired his king on the flop and turned a club flush to leave Wurtzel drawing dead to the river.
Wurtzel, an actuary from New York, picked up his first-ever WSOP cash and $300,000 for his third-place finish.
With Wurtzel out of the way, Liu and Felicio went on to battle in one of the more epic heads-up battles of the summer so far.
Felicio started with a slight chip lead and extended it throughout the early stages of heads-up. Liu doubled up and took the chip lead when he got all in preflop with pocket jacks against Felicio’s pocket tens.
Liu flopped quad jacks, leaving Felicio drawing dead on the flop.
With second place taking home $500,000 and the winner earning $1 million, the tension was palpable and both players were animated while sweating their all ins. Nothing showed that more when Felicio regained the chip lead for good.
On a flop of , Felicio and Liu got all the chips into the middle with Liu showing and in great shape against Felicio’s .
The turn was the and Liu was one card away from a seven-figure score. The river, however, was the . Felicio spiked a three-outer on the river to stay alive and regain the chip lead. He immediately dropped to his knees in disbelief, knowing that it was eventually a $500,000 three-outer.
“That was really the key moment,” said Felicio about spiking the eight on the river. “I know that in poker these things happen and afterwards, he pulled even again. I looked at Andre Akkari and he told me to keep calm and play my game. That’s what I did and that came my result.”
That gave the Brazilian an 8-to-1 chip lead, but Liu closed the gap again when his pocket eights doubled up against Felicio’s jack-nine. Felicio still had about 38 million to Liu’s 27 million, but with a big blind of 2 million, the chips were still flying.
It was only fitting that the final hand, much like most of this final table, was filled with drama. Liu moved all in with and was called by Felicio’s .
Liu flopped a straight draw, the nut flush draw and his six was a live out. The turn was the and the river was the . Felicio’s bigger ace held up and he was immediately mobbed by his rail.
Final Table Results:
1st: Roberly Felicio - $1,000,000
2nd: Sang Liu - $500,000
3rd: Joel Wurtzel - $300,000
4th: Scott Margereson - $220,040
5th: TK Miles - $166,091
6th: Song Choe - $126,158
7th: Gunther Dumsky - $96,431
8th: John Racener - $74,178
9th: Steven Jones - $57,425
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