One of the wildest and most entertaining final tables in recent memory took place at the Rio in Las Vegas when Taylor Paur dominated play during much of the final day and ended up winning his first WSOP gold bracelet.

However, the real story of this tournament wasn't just the destination – which was manifested in Paur's well-deserved victory – but rather the journey to get there, which included an absolutely riveting conclusion.

Paur was pretty much coasting along during much of the Day Three finale.  In fact, much of the crowd was in speculation mode about who would finish as the runner-up, since the winner seemed a foregone conclusion.  Yet one player in the crowd wasn't about to concede defeat.  That was Roy Weiss, who ended up finishing in second place.

Weiss played what many should probably judge as a brilliant strategy.  It didn't work.  That said, Weiss put Paur to the test and came up with what must be considered to be a masterful countermeasure versus a dangerously skilled, more experienced opponent.

Weiss, making his first WSOP in-the-money finish, seemed to conclude that he wasn't going to outplay Paur, acknowledged as an online savant with far more tournament experience.  There's no shame in admitting a skill disadvantage and so Weiss, in what must be considered as one of the boldest and bravest counter-strategies in quite soe time, decided to bombard his opponent with an all-out, take-no-prisoners approach that put Paur to the supreme test and made for a wildly entertaining finale.

Each time Weiss had what he considered to be a playable hand, he jammed.  Paur reacted with a mix of shock, confusion, and at times – his own hyper-aggression.  The heads-up duel became a dog fight between two fearless players who acted as though they had nothing to lose.

In the end, Paur prevailed.  However, Weiss deserves more than just a passing reference for his part in a fabulously entertaining finale.  It might not have been Weiss' intent to provide entertainment for the crowd, nor the thousands watching on the live stream.  Yet, he deserves just as much of the credit for making what was a wonderfully memorable match.

Taylor Paur, the winner ended up collecting $340,260 in prize money.  He also received his first gold bracelet.  

The champion is a 24-year-old poker pro from El Dorado Hills, CA.  He was previously a college student at San Diego State University.  With this victory, he now has $867,985 in total WSOP earnings.


Name:  Taylor Paur
Current Residence:  El Dorado Hills, CA (USA)
Birthplace:  San Clemente, CA (USA)
Age:  24
Marital Status:  Single
Children:  None
Occupation:  Professional Poker Player
Previous Occupation:  College Student
Hobbies:  Avid Baseball Player and Amateur Athlete
WSOP Cashes (including this event):  10
First WSOP Cash (year):  2010
WSOP Final Table Appearances:  3
WSOP Wins (with this victory):  1
Total WSOP Earnings:  $867,985


WSOP:  How does it feel to win your first WSOP gold bracelet?
Paur:  I feel absolutely incredible.  It feels like a dream come true.  

WSOP:  Did it shock you to see the runner-up (Weiss') dramatic change of strategy against you?
Paur:  I have never seen anything like it.  I can't imagine anyone just going all in every single hand.  I could not believe it.  We came back from dinner and before that he was not even raising, except on the button.  Then, all the sudden he's raising and moving all in.  I said, 'oh, so this is how he's going to play.'  It was a bit of a surprise.

WSOP:  What happened at dinner that changed the way the heads-up match played out?
Paur:  Most of all, I was hanging out with Paul Volpe and was doing what he was advising.  He was telling me things....I actually mentioned on the way back that I wouldn't be surprised if he started moving all in every hand.  I couldn't believe it actually happened.  I said it as a joke.  Then, it actually happened.

WSOP:  So you think someone gave him that advice – to move all in every hand?
Paur:  Oh, one-hundred percent.  I think that was their strategy.  I don't think he just randomly decided that.  I think someone told him to do it that way.  

WSOP:  How do you counter a strategy like that?
Paur:  I knew he was shoving with anything.  You can only wait so long when the blinds are this big....I just wanted something good, where I was dominating some hands at least.  I made the call with ace-five.

WSOP:  At one point you made a comment about what was going on, saying something about disrespecting the game.  Can you explain?
Paur:  I honestly said something to him afterward and apologized.  You don't get heads-up for a gold bracelet very often and I thought he was just taking away my chance....I was trying to play for the bracelet, not flip coins for it.  So, I just feel it's disrespectful to everyone who played this tournament.  Everyone is trying to play their best.  Whether or not they can, is one thing, but they are not just trying to see who can win a flip.

WSOP:  Might that have been his best strategy playing against you as a more experienced player?  
Paur:  He was doing fine heads up.  He started to lose traction at the end, but he could have won playing normal.  Whether that was his best strategy, I'm not sure.

WSOP:  Did you really say you are going to go see a movie after this?
Paur:  I'm not sure.  There is some movie called “This Is the End,” or something like that.  I'm getting too old to celebrate.

WSOP:  How big a moment for you is this for your poker career?
Paur:  As a poker player, this is it.  I mean, the WSOP Main Event would be the dream.  But winning the gold bracelet is a dream, too.  It's hard to live in the moment, but I'm absolutely thrilled.  It's hard to appreciate right now.


This was Kyle Cartwright's best WSOP finish, to date.  He finished ninth and made his first final table in Las Vegas.  Cartwright is a five-time gold ring winner on the WSOP Circuit.

Phil Ivey, a nine-time gold bracelet winner, finished 14th.

Men “The Master” Nguyen cashed in this event, the 77th of his career.  This ranks second on the all-time WSOP cashes list.