EVENT #51: $3,000 buy-in (Six-Handed) No-Limit Hold’em
PRIZE POOL: $2,847,390
FIRST PLACE PRIZE: $640,711
PLACES PAID: 108
DATES: June 25-28, 2015 Justin Liberto Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in One of Toughest Events of the Year
Baltimore Poker Pro Tops 1,043-Player Field and Collects
Deep Run in “Millionaire Maker” Event Two Years Ago Propels a Later Victory
Runner-Up Seamus Cahill Denied Chance to Become First Irish Gold Bracelet Winner Since 2007
MEET THE LATEST WSOP GOLD BRACELET CHAMPION
Name: Justin Liberto
Birthplace: Baltimore, MD (USA)
Current Residence: Baltimore, MD (USA)
Marital Status: Engaged
Profession: Professional Poker Player
Number of WSOP Cashes: 6
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 2
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories: 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 4th (2013)
Total WSOP Earnings: $1,199,624
Personal Facts: Liberto owns two WSOP Circuit gold rings and finished 4th in the WSOP “Millionaire Maker” back in 2013
[Note: All statistics above include the results of this tournament]
Sometimes, an event in someone’s life can propel even bigger and better things later on.
That happened to Justin Liberto two years ago, when he came to Las Vegas, entered a major event at the World Series of Poker, and managed to make the final table for the first time. Liberto ended up cashing in 4th place in the “Millionaire Maker” championship, which was a staggering accomplishment. He collected a whopping $400,000.
The big boost to the bankroll and confidence propelled Liberto to play in more tournaments. This past season, he entered 8 events on the WSOP Circuit, made 4 final tables, and won 2 gold rings – one of the best returns on investment by any player on the national tournament series. In fact, Liberto won the “Best All-Around Player” at the stop in his hometown of Baltimore, MD (at the Horseshoe Casino), which qualified him for the upcoming 2014-2015 WSOP Circuit National Championship tournament, taking place at the end of July at Harrah's Cherokee in North Carolina.
“Qualifying for the National Championship was kind of my fallback,” Liberto said. “Even if things didn’t go well here at the series this year, I still have that to look forward to.”
Well, things didn’t just go well at the 2015 WSOP for Liberto. He managed an even bigger accomplishment, a higher payout, and achieved a career breakthrough victory in one of this year’s most competitive tournaments. Liberto won a gold bracelet in the mega-tough $3,000 buy-in (Six-Handed) No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which concluded today at the Rio in Las Vegas.
The latest champ topped a tournament field which drew 1,043 entries, consisting of many of the world’s most respected No-Limit Hold’em players from more than 40 countries. The short-handed nature of Six-Handed play accelerated the skill factor, making this title one of the most coveted on the entire WSOP schedule.
The total prize pool amounted to $2,847,390. The top 108 finishers collected a payout, with the lion’s share of the money going to Liberto. He earned $640,711 in what was his fifth time to cash at the series. With this victory, Liberto not only crossed the $1 million mark in career earnings, at age 29, he is still free-rolling for what could be another big score and gold bracelet number two in the WSOP Circuit National Championship.
Liberto is a graduate of Virginia Tech University. He has gradually moved into the game full-time, starting out slowly at first, never putting his bankroll seriously at risk or biting off more than he could handle. In other words, he’s played his cards right, not just at the table but in life.
“When I came to the series a few years ago and finished 4th in the Millionaire Maker that allowed me to bypass some steps that most players would normally have to go through,” Liberto said. “I was careful not to overshoot my goals after that. Now, getting this win just makes things a lot easier.”
Liberto has even bigger plans ahead this summer, not including what happens in poker. He’s engaged to be married on July 25th.
Meanwhile, Seamus Cahill, from Dublin, finished as the runner up. It looked like Cahill might get the victory when play was heads up and he was ahead in chips by close to 2 to 1. However, Liberto staged a late comeback and denied Cahill the opportunity for a first WSOP win for an Irish player since the year 2007, when two fellow countrymen won gold bracelets -- Alan Smurfit and Ciaran O’Leary (Note: Marty Smyth, from Belfast, Northern Ireland won a gold bracelet in 2008). Cahill collected $395,986 for second place.
Following Liberto’s finish in the top spot, the descending order of results was as follows:
Second Place: Seamus Cahill, from Dublin, Ireland came in 2nd. He collected a nice consolation prize, totaling $395,986. This was Cahill’s second time to cash at the series, and first appearance at the payout window since 2010.
Third Place: Kiryl Radzivonau, from Gomel, Belarus finished in 3rd place. He had the chance to become only the third WSOP winner in history from the nation of Belarus, but busted out just two spots short of the top prize. Nonetheless, Radzivonau enjoyed the biggest payout of his poker career, collecting $251,168 in prize money.
Fourth Place: Alexander Delbus, from Lorsh, Germany came in 4th. He was in contention to be the second WSOP winner this year from Germany. He scooped $164,863 from the prize pool.
Fifth Place: Cornel Cimpan, from League City, TX posted his first WSOP cash in three years with a 5th-place finish in this event. Cimpan collected $111,475 in prize money.
Sixth Place: Benjamin Heath, from the U.K. ended up in 6th place. This was his first time to cash at the WSOP, which paid out $77,591. Had Heath won, he would have been the second winner at this year’s series from England.
Seventh Place: Harley Thrower, from Cummings, GA rounded out the official final tables as the 7th-place finisher, earning $55,552 for the effort.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS
Aside from the final table finishers, other gold bracelet winning players who cashed included – Taylor Paur (18th), Rep Porter (19th), Amir Lehavot (23rd), Tim Adams (26th), Leo Wolpert (42nd), Bryn Kenney (44th), Tyler Patterson (47th), Jared Jaffe (49th), Jeff Madsen (53rd), Joe Hachem (66th), Sean Getzwiller (68th), Alex Bolotin (78th), Antonio Esfandiari (86th), Jim Collopy (106th), and Chris Dombrowski (108th).
Tom McCormick, a.k.a. “The Shamrock Kid” cashed in this event, which was the 52nd time for his career. McCormick ranks second on the all-time cashes list among players without a gold bracelet victory.
EVENT DIRECT LINKS:
For this event’s results, visit:
For Justin Liberto’s official player profile page, visit:
For photos from this event, please visit:
For official winner photo, please visit:
For the live stream archive of this event, please visit:
(Note: Will appear 48 hours after event concludes)
Written by Nolan Dalla (WSOP Media Staff)