Event #45: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em
Prize Pool: $2,234,250
Places Paid: 171
First Place Prize: $424,577 + WSOP Gold Bracelet
Dates: Monday, June 22 through Thursday, June 25
UPESHKA DE SILVA WINS $1,500 NLHE TITLE AND $424,577
Upeshka De Silva Runs Over Final Table to Capture His First Career WSOP Gold Bracelet
Latest Champ Knocks Out 7 of 8 Finalists
MEET THE LATEST WSOP GOLD BRACELET WINNER:
Name: Upeshka De Silva
Residence: Katy, TX
Occupation: Professional Poker Player
Number of WSOP Cashes: 10
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 2
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories: 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 7th (2013 in the $1,500 Millionaire Maker)
Total WSOP Earnings: $651,462
[The above stats include De Silva's Event #45 victory]
Las Vegas (June 25, 2015) — Absolute domination. That's the best way to describe Upeshka De Silva's final table performance. The 27-year-old came to the final table as the chip leader and knocked out seven of his eight opponents to earn his first career WSOP gold bracelet and the first place prize money of $424,577.
“This is surreal, that’s the best way to describe how I feel right now,” De Silva said afterward. “I waited my whole life for this. When you imagine how the last hand will be played out, that’s what I experienced. It was like a dream coming true.”
At the beginning of the final day of play (Day Three), two of the best No-Limit Hold'em players in the world sat at the top of the chip counts. Jason Koon sat as the chip leader and Barry Hutter was second in chips. All eyes were on those two as they sat as the two biggest favorites to come away with gold. De Silva sat under the radar and sixth in chips. Hutter's day would end with a 12th place finish, but Koon made the final table and was arguably the biggest obstacle standing between De Silva and the gold bracelet.
De Silva didn't have to worry about Koon for long because he knocked him out in 9th place. With Koon being the first elimination from the final table, the path to victory was more open than ever for De Silva. De Silva held the lead throughout the final table and never was in eminent danger of being knocked out. He really turned up the heat midway through the final table when he knocked out three players in the span of six hands. De Silva eliminated Bobby Moore in 6th place. With that elimination, De Silva had more than half of the chips in play with just five players remaining. Just two hands later, De Silva sent Ilkin Amirov to the rail in 5th place. His heater wasn't over quite yet. Three hands after knocking out Amirov, De Silva busted Patrick Rojek in 4th place. The three bust outs earned De Silva enough chips to have more than three quarters of the chips in play with three players remaining.
Things finally slowed down for De Silva and his two opponents, but eventually De Silva was able to notch his sixth and seventh knockouts at the final table by eliminating 2010 November Niner, John Dolan, in third place and Dara O'Kearny in second place. It took an unscheduled extra day of play for the heads-up battle between De Silva and O'Kearny to be completed.
The final hand came when De Silva won a race against O’Kearny. His A-K bested O’Kearny’s pocket deuces in an unusual way. The board ran out with two pair – tens and sixes. That meant De Silva’s ace played as the fifth card, counterfeiting O’Kearny’s small pair.
“No doubt about it, I ran really well at the final table,” De Silva said. “But also, it was being prepared for this moment that made a difference. My friends and I talk about poker and situations all the time. So, when it happens in the tournament it’s not like you are seeing it for the first time. We apply the science to the situations. So, none of this is new when you have prepared yourself for it.”
When asked to elaborate on a specific situation where his preparation made a difference, De Silva noted that when the tournament was in the midst of pay jumps, he was able to take advantage of some tightness and weakness at the table by more timid players.
De Silva was born in Sri Lanka. He moved with his parents to the United States when he was two-years-old. He is a professional poker player from the Houston suburb of Katy, Texas. In fact, De Silva graduated from the University of Houston with degrees in political science and history.
This marks his 10th career WSOP cash and is his second career final table. De Silva's first final table came two years ago when he finished in seventh place in the inaugural Millionaire Maker event for $175,113. Until now, that was De Silva's largest ever WSOP cash.
Event #45 was the 45th of 68 events on the 2015 WSOP schedule. The $1,500 no-limit hold’em tournament drew a field of 1,655 players generating a $2,234,250 prize pool. Each of the top 171 finishers received prize money with a min-cash awarding $2,949. Notable in-the-money finishers included Jason Koon (ninth, $30,095), Barry Hutter (12th, $23,660), Phil Hui (13th, $18,857), Tyler Patterson (18th, $15,215), Andrew Lichtenberger (47th, $7,283), Eric Baldwin (55th, $6,255), Tim West (67th, $5,451), Nacho Barbero (69th, $5,451), Martin Staszko (74th, $4,803), Steve Sung (75th, $4,803), Aaron Massey (108th, $3,485), Loni Harwood (116th, $3,485), and Alex Kravchenko (165th, $2,949).
The event played out over a four-day stretch beginning Monday, June 22 and concluding during the fourth day on Thursday, June 25th.
Here’s a look at the final table results:
1st: Upeshka De Silva - $424,577 + WSOP gold bracelet
2nd: Dara O'Kearny - $262,502
3rd: John Dolan - $172,752
4th: Patrick Rojek - $124,537
5th: Ilkin Amirov - $91,157
6th: Bobby Moore - $67,697
7th: Jorden Fox - $50,985
8th: Vasily Tsapko - $38,920
9th: Jason Koon - $30,095
EVENT FUN FACTS:
The 1,655-player field was made up of 1,593 males and 62 females
The average age of participants was just over 39 years old
The field was made up of players from 57 different countries (1,220 from the U.S. and 435 international players)
Players from 48 different states participated in this event.
(Note: Will appear 48 hours after event concludes)