34-year-old Benjamin Moon collects $315,346 and bracelet with first-ever WSOP cash.
8 June 2018 (Las Vegas) – Benjamin Moon, a 34-year-old poker pro from San Diego, California, has captured the title in Event #13 of the 2018 World Series of Poker, Big Blind Antes $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em.
Moon collected $315,346 and his first WSOP gold bracelet in what was also his first-ever WSOP cash. The breakthrough win for the southern California pro came in a format also making its first appearance at the WSOP.
Moon arrived at this event's streamed final of six with the lead and never looked back, closing out the win in less than three hours of play. Moon's final foe was France's Romain Lewis, whose runner-up finish here was worth $194,837.
Third place in this Big Blind Antes tourney went to Anthem, Arizona's Colin Robinson. Robinson earned $138,938 in his own second-ever WSOP cash.
Fourth place here was claimed by Huntersville, North Carolina's Steven Snyder. Snyder, a three-time WSOP Circuit ring winner and the Casino Champion at April's WSOP Circuit Cherokee (NC) stop, earned $100,268 here.
It was a final-table romp for Moon, who was never seriously challenged here. The event's last hand saw France's Lewis get his remaining chips in with , while Moon called with . The flop gave Lewis added out to a straight, but the turn and river missed, giving Moon the win.
Having one's first-ever WSOP cash causes quite the adrenaline rush. Following the win, the San Diego cash-game pro – who just started playing live tourneys in February – admitted to “trembling”. “I'm so excited right now. Obviously.”
Moon said, “I've played poker for a long time, but I went on hiatus. Just this past October, I decided I'd go and and give it a try. Go pro. I've been grinding cash in San Diego and playing tournaments in L.A.”
In his own words, Moon described “dominating” as an understatement regarding his Day 4 rush to the win. “My table draw was really fortunate. Colin (Robinson) was the next biggest stack, but I had position on him. I knew there was so much pressure on everybody with the big pay jumps, so I stayed aggressive the whole time.” Moon added, “I was just bullying the whole time.”
“I love the big-blind ante,” Moon said about the new format. “They do it in L.A. All the tourneys I've played there have been big-blind... . It plays faster.”
Day 4 action in the Big Blind Antes event found six players returning to a streamed-online final table. Three others made the Event #13's official final table of nine before being bounced later in Thursday's Day 3 play. Those three were Coral Springs, FL's Eric Polirer (7th, $40,549), Cerritos, CA's Raymond Ho (8th, $30,742), and Las Vegas pro Russell “Dutch” Boyd (9th, $23,605).
Out first from the streamed final was Ukraine native Bohdan Slyvinskyi, who started play as the short stack and failed to improve. Slyvinskyi, who now lives in Chicago, moved his last 540,000 all in from under the gun, then saw Robinson call with . The board ran out , sending Slyvinskyi off to a $54,160 payday.
Nhathanh Nguyen departed next, a short while after Slyvinskyi's exit. Nguyen, a native of Saigon, Vietnam now living in Seattle, got the last of his chips in with against Moon's . The flop gave Moon trips and left Nguyen drawing to a runner-runner straight, but the turn closed that door. A meaningless river completed the hand, leaving Nguyen to collect $73,242 in fifth-place money. Moon, meanwhile, added more to his leading stack, as he held roughly 60% of the chips in play as four-way action began.
Three-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Snyder exited next, shortly after losing most of his chips in a big hand against Lewis. Snyder made his last stand with in a hand moments later. Moon claimed this knockout as well, after calling Snyder's re-raise shove and showing . The board ran out dry for Snyder, , and the Huntersville, NC pro earned $100,268 here.
The rapid bustout pace continued with Colin Robinson's exit just minutes later. Robinson moved all in on a draw after Moon raised on a flop. Moon wasn't going anywhere with his , while Robinson opened . Robinson's draws whiffed, however, as the turn and river completed the hand. Robinson made his second-ever WSOP cash a memorable one, pocketing $138,938 for the deep run.
The knockout set the stage for the duel between Moon and Lewis, with Lewis holding the dominating lead as heads-up play began and closing out the win just 30 minutes later.
Event #13 built a prize pool of $1,763,100 based on 1,306 total entries. The top 196 players cashed, with a mini-cash here worth $2,264. The Big Blind Antes (no-limit hold'em) event, a new variant at this year's WSOP, replaces the traditional antes offered by all seated players during later levels with a single, cumulative ante posted by each hand's big-blind player.
Among those cashing in this big-blind-ante debut but falling short of the final table were Jan Christoph Van Halle (10th, $18,360), Stephen Song (11th, $18,360), Shaun Deeb (16th, $11,553), Ankush Mandavia (27th, $9,350), and Dylan Wilkerson (32nd, $7,670).
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Final Table Payouts (POY points in parentheses):
1st: Benjamin Moon, $315,346 (1,073.46)
2nd: Romain Lewis, $194,837 (536.73)
3rd: Colin Robinson, $138,938 (483.06)
4th: Steven Snyder, $100,268 (429.38)
5th: Nhathanh Nguyen, $73,242 (402.55)
6th: Bohdan Slyvinskyi, $54,160 (375.71)
7th: Eric Polirer, $ 40,549 (322.04)
8th: Raymond Ho, $30,742 (295.20)
9th: Dutch Boyd, $23,605 (268.36)