The action was fast and furious in the final $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event of the summer. On Day 3, players busted at a staggering pace. Just eight and a half hours after the day had begun, only two players remained. Then the pace completely shifted. Brandon Hall and Sam Jaddi battled in an epic heads-up match and played all the way through Day 3 into a fourth day. They were a two-man wrecking crew as the two combined to knock out all of their final table foes. Someone had to give in, though, and only one would be able to take home the hardware and the top payday of $614,248. It would end up being Pembroke Pines, Fla. resident Sam "MSH" Jaddi, who won his first WSOP gold bracelet Friday afternoon.
In many ways, Jaddi is an unlikely winner. He is an amateur player who owns his own IT management and consulting business. Considering the success of professionals this year and the massive field size of the tournament (over 2,500 players), it seems Jaddi entered with a disadvantage. On top of that, at one point, he was down to 16,000 in chips going into a break. When play resumed, the blinds were 5,000/10,000 with 1,000 ante. Jaddi went all-in from under the gun on the first hand back from break, doubled up, and went on to win. "It's a story for all amateurs," he said. "I'm a business owner. I love playing the game of poker. Anyone has a shot to win this thing."
This was Jaddi’s first WSOP final table appearance, and he had his work cut out for him as he entered the final table in the middle of the pack. Determined to win his first bracelet, Jaddi scored the first five knockouts to eventually take the chip lead. But by the time heads up play began, Jaddi was at a two-to-one chip disadvantage. Despite entering heads-up play behind, Jaddi felt he had a good plan to come out ahead. "When Brandon and I got heads up, I knew he was going to have the chip lead early," he said. "So I tried to play off a little bit of an image that I didn’t know what I was doing, so I could try to steal a bunch of pots early and try to get some chips."
His plan worked, and he was able to pull even. By the end of Day 3 he enjoyed a small chip lead and he took full advantage of that lead on day 4, pulling away early. Hall doubled up, but Jaddi pulled away again, and after a little more than an hour, he held all the chips.
Jaddi had only four prior cashes at the WSOP totaling just over $12,000. His win in this event is just over fifty times that amount, and today this father of three lived up to his nickname, "MSH" or “Making Success Happen.”
The final table featured mostly amateurs with only three players having previous WSOP final table experience. Zachary Gruneberg (3rd) has been running hot this year, and this event marked his third final table appearance of the summer. Cherish Andrews (5th) made her second final table appearance, her first coming last year in the same event where she finished fourth. Steve Sung (8th) was the only bracelet winner in the bunch with two bracelets to his name. His most recent came last year in the $25,000 Six Max where he defeated Phil Galfond heads-up to earn his largest WSOP cash for more than $1.2 million. Kurt Jewell (9th) made his first WSOP final table appearance. Jewell has been a force on the WSOP Circuit, winning five rings in the last four years.
There were 2,563 players in the event, generating a $3,460,050 prize pool. The top 270 players finished in the money. Some of the notables who cashed include Will Failla (227th), Vinny Pahuja (165th), Shannon Shorr (149th), Dutch Boyd (45th) and Jamie Armstrong (18th).
1st: Sam Jaddi - $614,248
2nd: Brandon Hall - $381,885
3rd: Zachary Gruneberg- $270,299
4th: Guillauma Marechal - $194,393
5th: Cherish Andrews - $142,346
6th: David Bravin - $105,185
7th: Thomas Dietl- $78,681
8th: Steve Sung - $59,547
9th: Kurt Jewell - $45,603