Jordan Morgan, a.k.a. “Jo Mo” certainly has the mojo. He’s the latest winner at the 2014 World Series of Poker. The professional poker player from Oklahoma City already has a resume filled with cashes at tournaments throughout the United States, as well as significant online poker experience. However, this was truly a career achievement for the 30-year-old, who won on the day of his ninth wedding anniversary. Morgan topped a huge field of 1,914 players en route to his first career WSOP gold bracelet victory in the latest $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event. First place paid $478,102.“It’s validation to win,” Morgan said afterward. “I’ve been coming here for ten years. It’s great to finally get the bracelet that I’ve always wanted.” The victory didn't come easily. In fact, the tournament was forced into an unscheduled fourth day of action because of an unforeseen heads-up marathon between the final two players, who locked into a back and forth struggle that became this summer’s longest heads-up match so far. Morgan was nearly deadlocked in chips with Evan McNiff at the conclusion of Day Three, which mandated a continuation of the duel on the following afternoon. The duel lasted for a combined total of more than six hours.“I’ve played a lot of heads-up poker, so for me this was a game of adjustments,” Morgan said. “He adjusted really well pretty quickly. Then it took me a while to adjust back….we were playing a game where the other guy kinda’ knew what the other was doing, so we had respect for each other. A lot of minor changes back and forth can make a big difference.” Morgan played brilliantly, but was also exceedingly fortunate on one occasion when it mattered most. Morgan's moment of good fortune occurred when he was behind in chips and all-in, holding A-K near the end of Day Three. McNiff called the preflop shove instantly, and tabled K-K. Morgan was down to a final card, when an ace fell on the river, rescuing his gold bracelet hopes. That magical instant propelled Morgan back into the chip lead. Still, McNiff wasn't finished yet. The match finally ended the following afternoon. The players drew close to even in chips again before Morgan finally won the tournament with 6-6 versus McNiff's A-K. The pair held up, giving Morgan a breath of relief and a well-deserved victory. Morgan admitted afterward that a break in the action allowed him to refocus. He acknowledged that McNiff was outplaying him at one point. So, the 11-hour break between Days Three and Four gave Morgan the opportunity to rethink strategy and come back fresh. Nevertheless, the match was ultimately determined by a coin flip, fitting for a heads-up duel where both players probably deserved to win.“I’m not in great poker shape, since this is the first tournament of the summer for me and I haven’t played that much live this year,” Morgan said. “The long days wear on me, but I felt fresh coming back into the final day.”This marked Morgan’s 22nd time to cash at the WSOP. He has two previous seventh-place finishes, the latest back in 2007. Morgan also won a WSOP Circuit gold ring in the championship event played at Tunica in 2008. Among his other achievements are a second-place finish in the 2006 United States Poker Championships played in Atlantic City.
The victory was all the sweeter since Morgan was celebrating his ninth wedding anniversary. His wife was watching back in Oklahoma. “Today’s my wedding anniversary,” Morgan said. “I think I might fly home for a day and then come back and start playing some more.”
Morgan also revealed that his life as a full-time poker pro was upset by what’s become known as Black Friday. He’s forced to travel more, and now even plays poker outside the U.S. “After Black Friday, my enthusiasm for poker waned because I don’t like to travel that much,” Morgan said. “But this victory will make anyone get their love back for the game.”Even in defeat, Evan McNiff, from La Jolla, CA put up a noble effort. He arrived at the final table as chip leader, but finished as the runner up. McNiff collected a nice consolation prize totaling $295,727. This final table featured only one gold bracelet winner, Ray Foley, who was making his third career final table appearance, all in $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em events. The veteran poker player from Northville, MI finished in fourth place.Morgan and Jason Johnson were the other competitors with previous final table experience. In fact, Johnson added his name to the growing list of players who have made multiple final tables this summer. Johnson kicked off the 2014 series with a bang by taking seventh place in the Millionaire Maker event, which was good for a $211,394 payday. Johnson ended up finishing third in this event.The latest $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event drew 1,914 players, producing a $2,583,900 prize pool. The top 198 finishers each earned a payday. Some of the notable players who cashed include Jeff Madsen (153rd), Ylon Schwartz (117th), Jake Balsiger (103rd), Men Nguyen (101st), Barry Greenstein (58th), Randal Flowers (22nd), and Vinny Pahuja (12th).Here are the final table results for the $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Event #44:1st: Jordan Morgan - $478,1022nd: Evan McNiff - $295,7273rd: Jason Johnson - $204,4644th: Ray Foley - $147,4635th: Bryan Dillon - $107,8006th: Robert Chorlian - $79,8427th: Joseph Iarussi - $59,9208th: Ryan Spittles - $45,5549th: Michael Anselm - $35,063