06/29/16 10:58:06 PM PDT
Ankush Mandavia is the newest member of poker’s gold bracelet club.
The 29-year-old professional poker player from Kennesaw, GA won the $5,000 buy-in Turbo No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which was played over two days and nights and just concluded at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Mandavia collected $548,139 in prize money, making this the biggest win of his career. However, he’s no newcomer to the tournament scene, having first cashed at the series five years ago. He’s now posted 16 in-the-money finishes, two very deep runs, and now a debut victory.
“I’ve had a lot of deep runs in the past, but until now had never closed the deal,” Mandavia said in a post-victory interview. “So, it’s really gratifying to win. It feels really good.”
The Detroit-born pro won his victory by coming out on top at a final table which included several tough adversaries, including 14-time gold bracelet winner, Phil Hellmuth. However, even the most accomplished players in the game proved no match for Mandavia in this tournament which he seemed to dominate as the finale became shorter handed.
After Christian Niles, from Germany was eliminated in third place, which left Daniel Strelitz and Mandavia neck-and-neck, heads up play for the gold bracelet commenced. The players and spectators braced for what was expected to be a long and tough battle given how deep both players were in chips, relative to the blinds.
However, the highly anticipated duel lasted only about ten minutes.
The ultimate moment of triumph came when Mandavia scooped the final pot of the tournament holding pocket jacks against Strelitz who finished as the runner up. This was Strelitz’s best WSOP showing to date, which doubled his previous career WSOP earnings. The consolation prize amounted to $338,774.
Mandavia is a second-generation Indian-American. He credited his family, being supportive of him in the course of his decision to become a professional poker player, as one of the essential building blocks of his foundation to pursue the unorthodox profession. In fact, his parents visiting Las Vegas from their home in Georgia came to see him play in this tournament.
“I’m really close to my family – my sister and my parents,” Mandavia said. “I also have such great friends. Everyone around me is so supportive of what I do.”
Mandavia noted that since he’s been playing poker full-time, he began switching over to playing more tournaments about three years ago. He had previously played a lot of online poker, which started back while attending college at the University of Georgia, where he obtained a degree in economics in 2009, which seems most appropriate. His online specialty was playing short-handed and heads-up.
Mandavia was cheered to victory by a noisy rail which included several other top young pros.
“It feels amazing to have people supporting you and people believing in you. I just gave it my best, and let it happen, and it just happened to get me a gold bracelet – so I’m happy,” Mandavia said.
This tourney attracted 524 entrants which created a prize pool totaling $2,462,800. The top 79 finishers collected prize money.
Aside from the winner, here’s a brief report of the other top finishers who made the final table:
Second Place: Daniel Strelitz, a poker pro from Torrance, CA made a noble effort to win the gold bracelet but came up just short. This was his 18th time to finish in the money at the series. With this cash, he crossed the $1 million mark in career earnings at the WSOP. His fourth final table appearance paid out $338,774, his biggest score, to date.
Third Place: Christian Niles, age 35, from Germany caused quite a splash in his WSOP debut, cashing for $232,934.
Fourth Place: Thiago Macedo, from Ponta Grossa, Brazil posted his nation’s deepest run at this year’s series, coming in fourth. Macedo came close to becoming only the fourth Brazilian ever to win a gold bracelet. Instead, he had to settle for a sizable $162,924 payout in what was only his third time to cash in a series event.
Fifth Place: Pedro Oliveira, from Portugal became this year’s deepest run by a player from that European country with this impressive fifth-place finish. Oliveira cashed for only the fourth time, but sure added to his WSOP resume with this $115,957 payout.
Sixth Place: Sean Getzwiller, from Las Vegas, NV came in sixth place. He was seeking a second gold bracelet after winning a WSOP title back in 2011 ($1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em). Getzwiller received a $84,004 payout. He now has 27 cashes at the series for his career and is close to $1 million in career earnings here in the world’s biggest annual tournament series.
Seventh Place: Sergey Lebedev, a musician from Troitsk, Russia has now made four WSOP final table appearances. He made his big splash in last year’s $111,111 buy-in High-Roller Championship, coming in fourth. This time, Lebedev outlasted a much larger field and pocketed $61,964 for the accomplishment.
Eighth Place: Phil Hellmuth, Jr., from Palo Alto, CA made his first final table of this year’s summer series, but his stay didn’t last long. He busted out within the first hour and was left to ponder over a nice-sized $46,553 payout, but no would-be 15th gold bracelet victory. Hellmuth holds virtually every meaningful WSOP record – most cashes, most final tables, most wins – and added to his legacy with yet another deep run.
Ninth Place: Kyle Julius, from Naperville, IL was seeking his second gold bracelet of the ’16 series, but was short stacked and exited rather quickly from the final nine. Julius won a similar event opening week called “Top Up Turbo,” which gave him his first WSOP win. This was Julius’ fourth cash in 2016, which have all taken place in tournaments with very large field-sizes. Julius added another $35,636 to his poker bankroll.
06/29/16 08:47:27 PM PDT
Ankush Mandavia wins his first WSOP bracelet
Daniel Strelitz raises all in for 1,065,000 from the button and Ankush Mandavia calls from the big blind.
The flop is , drawing "Ooooooh's" from both players' rails, as Strelitz picks up a few outs to survive.
The turn is the , giving Mandavia a set of jacks to lock up the hand, rendering the river moot.
Ankush Mandavia captures his first WSOP bracelet and the first-place prize of $548,139, while Daniel Strelitz finishes runner-up for $338,774.
Daniel Strelitz - 2nd Place
06/29/16 08:40:39 PM PDT
Ankush Mandavia raises to about 1,300,000 from the button and Daniel Strelitz folds his big blind.
06/29/16 08:40:37 PM PDT
Daniel Strelitz raises to 525,000 from the button and Ankush Mandavia calls from the big blind.
The flop falls and Mandavia checks. Strelitz continues for 500,000 only to have Mandavia check-raise to 1,400,000. Strelitz calls.
The turn is the and Mandavia moves all for 3,895,000. Strelitz thinks for roughly one minute before calling.
Mandavia leads with bottom two pair and four to a diamond flush. The finishes the board to give Mandavia a winning flush.
Ankush Mandavia - 11,655,000 (48 bb)
Daniel Strelitz - 1,350,000 (5 bb)
06/29/16 08:34:30 PM PDT
Ankush Mandavia is on the button and makes it 500,000 to go. Daniel Strelitz folds the big blind and Mandavia wins the pot.
06/29/16 08:33:58 PM PDT
Daniel Strelitz raises to 525,000 and wins the pot preflop.
06/29/16 08:33:38 PM PDT
Daniel Strelitz receives a walk in the big blind.
06/29/16 08:26:07 PM PDT
Daniel Strelitz - 7,085,000 (29 bb)
Ankush Mandavia - 6,020,000 (25 bb)
06/29/16 08:25:21 PM PDT
Christian Nilles - 3rd Place
Ankush Mandavia raises all in from the small blind and Christian Nilles calls all in from the big blind for about 990,000.
The board comes down , giving Mandavia aces and nines to eliminate Nilles in third place for $232,934.
Ankush Mandavia - 6,020,000 (25 bb)
Christian Nilles - Eliminated in 3rd place for $232,934
06/29/16 08:22:35 PM PDT
Daniel Strelitz raises all in from the small blind and Ankush Mandavia folds his big blind.
06/29/16 08:21:17 PM PDT
Daniel Strelitz receives a walk in the big blind.
06/29/16 08:21:06 PM PDT
Daniel Strelitz raises to 525,000 from the button and Ankush Mandavia calls from the small blind. Christian Nilles calls all in for 365,000 from the big blind and all three players are off to the flop.
The flop comes down with Mandavia and Strelitz active in a side pot. Both players check and do the same after the falls on the turn. The pairs the board on fifth street and Mandavia bets 425,000. Strelitz folds and the active hands go to a showdown.
Mandavia shows for nines and deuces. Nilles has that beat, however, with for queens and nines. Nilles scoops the pot and now sits over one million in chips.
Christian Nilles - 1,215,000 (5 bb)
06/29/16 08:20:24 PM PDT
Christian Nilles calls all in for 95,000 from the button, Daniel Strelitz calls from the small blind, and Ankush Mandavia checks his option.
They check down a board of and Nilles wins the hand with .
Christian Nilles - 405,000 (1 bb)
06/29/16 08:18:04 PM PDT
Ankush Mandavia raises to 500,000 from the button and Christian Nilles is already all-in from the small blind for his last ante. Daniel Strelitz calls from the big blind.
The flop is and Strelitz checks. Mandavia bets and Strelitz immediately folds.
The board finishes with the and the , allowing Nilles to drag the pot with ten-high.
Christian Nilles - 135,000 (<1 bb)
06/29/16 08:14:09 PM PDT
|Level:||34 ||Blinds:||120,000/240,000 ||Ante:||40,000|
06/29/16 08:14:00 PM PDT
Daniel Strelitz opens the button with a raise to 450,000. It folds over to Christian Nilles, who calls from the big blind.
The flop falls and Nilles leads for 675,000. Strelitz immediately moves all in and Nilles calls.
Both players have a pair of queens and a flush draw, with Strelitz holding the nut draw and better kicker. They both make trips when the falls on the turn and Strelitz seals the double up after the hits the river.
Nilles has Strelitz covered by a mere 40,000 and the German is left with one ante.
Daniel Strelitz - 6,940,000 (28 bb)
Christian Nilles - 40,000 (<1 bb)
06/29/16 08:07:57 PM PDT
Christian Nilles raises to 400,000 from the button and Daniel Strelitz three-bets to 1,100,000 from the small blind. Action folds back to Nilles and he four-bets all in for 1,770,000. Strelitz snap-calls and rolls over .
Strelitz is stunned to find that Nilles has him beat with and runs to inform his rail. The board comes out , keeping Nilles aces in the lead for the double up.
Christian Nilles - 3,750,000 (18 bb)
Daniel Strelitz - 3,335,000 (16 bb)
06/29/16 08:04:56 PM PDT
Ankush Mandavia makes it 400,000 to go from the button. Action folds to Daniel Strelitz and he moves all in from the big blind. Mandavia folds.
06/29/16 08:01:43 PM PDT
Ankush Mandavia limps from the small blind and Christian Nilles checks his option.
The flop is and Mandavia bets 200,000. Nilles calls.
The turn is the and both players check.
The river is the and Mandavia bets 250,000. Nilles calls.
Mandavia tables for a flush, beating Nilles's to win the pot.
Ankush Mandavia - 6,000,000 (30 bb)
Christian Nilles - 2,100,000 (10 bb)
06/29/16 07:59:09 PM PDT
Thiago Macedo - 4th place
Thiago Macedo raises all in from the small blind for 1,405,000 and Ankush Mandavia calls from the big blind.
The flop is , giving Macedo and a flush draw and getting his Brazilian rail chanting for a club.
The turn is the , keeping Mandavia ahead.
The river is the , no help to Macedo, prompting "USA, USA" chants from Mandavia's and Strelitz's rail, and eliminating Macedo.
Ankush Mandavia - 5,350,000 (26 bb)
Thiago Macedo - Eliminated in 4th place ($162,924)