Arizona Poker Pro Comes Up Big in Short-Handed Event, Collects $230,799 and Gold Bracelet

Longtime Parisian Poker Pro Gabriel Nassif Barely Misses His First WSOP Win, Comes in Second


Name:  Matt Elsby
Birthplace:  Torrance, CA (USA)
Age:  38
Current Residence:  Chandler, AZ (USA)
Marital Status:  Single
Children:  2
Profession:  Poker Pro
Number of WSOP Cashes:  3
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances:  2
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament):  1
Best Previous WSOP Finish:  5th (2011)
Total WSOP Earnings:  $282,655
Personal Facts:  All three of his WSOP cashes are in Limit Hold’em events

Matthew Elsby a 38-year-old professional poker player from Chandler, Arizona, won his first career gold bracelet at the 2015 World Series of Poker.  The victory was well-deserved and long overdue given Elsby’s patience and fortitude in the $3,000 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em tournament, which was the 19th event on this year’s schedule.

Elsby outlasted 319 players in the three-day event, which created a prize pool totaling $870,870.  The Arizonan pocketed $230,799, the biggest cash he’s achieved at the WSOP since first coming to the annual classic held in Las Vegas back in 2011.  Elsby had previously cashed in two other Limit Hold’em events, coming in as high as fifth place on one occasion four years ago.  This marked a career breakthrough in an event that went almost 30 complete levels, putting the finalists and spectators to the test as the betting limits escalated to the point where the swing of just a few hands made all the difference in the final outcome.

Elsby managed to catch a nice run of cards late in the tournament, ultimately defeating Gabriel Nassif heads-up.  Nassif, from Paris, France, has been coming to the WSOP since 2005 and had 31 career cashes up to this point on his impressive resume.  However, he was denied his first WSOP win, after losing the chip lead when the two rivals were heads up and finally succumbing to a blistering flurry of pots surrendered to Elsby in the tournament’s final stages.

Brian Hastings was the only gold bracelet winner who made the final table.  However, he bounced out of the gathering quickly, exiting first among the seven players.  Other gold bracelet winners who barely missed making the final table in this event included Keven Stammen (8th) and Matt Hawrilenko (12th).

Here’s the succession of other finishers who made the official final table, which clocked in at about eight hours of actual playing time:

Second Place:  Gabriel Nassif can claim his third six-figure score here at the WSOP, but he remains still without a gold bracelet.  Nassif, a 31-year-old poker pro from Paris, earned $142,631 and was cheered on by a large and vocal group of French players who left the finale in disappointment.  However this added to his reputation as one of the best tournament players in the game from France.  Interestingly, Nassif is one of many players who came into poker from another game called “Magic the Gathering.”  He says he intends to return to Magic after playing in the Main Event of this year’s WSOP.

Third Place:  David J. Tobin, a 54-year-old contractor who lives in Lubbock, TX came in third, his best WSOP finish to date.  He earned $92,582.

Fourth Place:  Joseph Thomas, a 42-year-old poker pro, came in 4th.  This was the first WSOP cash for the Paxton, MA player, which paid $61,892.

Fifth Place:  Alex Kuzmin, a 38-year-old financier from Moscow, Russia earned $42,515 for his 5th-place finish.  This was his 26th cash at the series, and fourth final table appearance.

Sixth Place:  Haran Sapmaz, a 36-year-old financier from Brea, CA pocketed $29,975 in his first WSOP cash.

Seventh Place:  Gold bracelet winner and high-stakes cash game pro Brian Hastings, from Ft. Lauderdale, FL rounded out the final table, finishing 7th.  He earned $21,684.


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