Florida poker pro collects $298,849 top prize in Event #44 

Wolansky dominates heads-up match and wins second WSOP gold bracelet 

2,076-player field jams the 2016 WSOP 

Wenlong Jin finishes as runner up 


Name:  Steven Wolansky
Birthplace:  Cleveland, OH
Age:  28
Current Residence:  Cooper City, FL
Marital Status:  Single
Children:  None
Profession:  Professional Poker Player
Number of WSOP Cashes:  19
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances:  3
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament):  2
Best Previous WSOP Finish:  1st (2014)
Total WSOP Earnings:  $623,891

Winner’s Quote:

“My next goal is to just to keep doing what I am doing – to learn from what I’m doing, to play well, and to have fun.”


Steven Wolansky has won his second World Series of Poker gold bracelet.

The 28-year-old poker pro from Cooper City, FL won the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which was played over four days and three nights and just concluded at the Rio in Las Vegas.

Wolansky collected $298,849 in prize money, making this one of the biggest wins of his career.  He’s now posted 19 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP, dating back to 2013.  He won his first gold bracelet in 2014 in the $1,500 buy-in Deuce-to-Seven Lowball event.  Wolansky also finished second the previous year in the Eight-Game mix event.

“This win is just as meaningful, if not more,” Wolansky said.  “The first one I won was more about me wanting to avenge my second-place finish the previous year.  I lost heads-up and that motivated me to prove to myself I could do it.  But this time, it was a lot more money and plus the odds I had to overcome.”

[ Read story of Wolansky’s previous WSOP victory here: ]

Wolansky won this hard-fought victory by coming out on top at a final table which included several rivals who were all aspiring champions.  Besides the eventual winner, each other was seeking a first gold bracelet.  The ultimate moment of triumph came when Wolansky scooped the final pot of the tournament against Wenlong Jin, from Arcadia, CA who finished as the runner up.

That said, the heads-up match was one of the toughest of the entire summer series.  Jin began the duel with a solid 3 to 1 chip advantage.  However, Wolansky began pecking away at the bigger stack, mostly pushing small edges and putting his adversary on the defensive.  The two warriors battled for more than two hours until the action was called on Day Three and the two finalists were forced to return for an unscheduled fourth day of play.

At noon on Wednesday, Jin and Wolansky were virtually deadlocked in chips.  Wolansky applied more and more pressure until he had the chip lead.  In fact, Wolansky seemed to win more than two-thirds of the heads-up hands that were dealt out.  Within an hour, the final outcome had been determined.

“I don’t know that I won that nigh a percentage against him heads-up, but things did go my way,” Wolansky said of his domination of the short-handed table.  “We played a lot of hands, that’s for sure.”

That latest WSOP winner, Wolansky was born in Cleveland, OH.  He now lives in Florida and plays in local cash games when he’s not traveling to play poker.

“I mostly play the tournaments in Florida, but I also travel once or twice a year.  But for the most part I stay in Florida and I come out here for the series.”

This exciting tourney attracted another big field as 2,076 entrants took their shot at the latest budget-priced gold bracelet event.  The prize pool totaled $1,868,400.  The top 312 finishers collected prize money.

Aside from the winner, here’s a brief report of the other top finishers who made the final table:

Second Place:  Wenlong Jin, originally from Shanghai, China and now living in Arcadia, CA finished as the runner up.  He put up a tough fight, but couldn’t overcome the opponent’s ceaseless aggression.  This was Jin’s 13th time to cash at the series, and second time to make a final table.  His payout, $184,631 was the largest of his poker career. 

Third Place:  Bradley Myers, from Essex Junction., VT collected $133,955 for third place.  This was his eighth time to cash at the series.  Myers defines his profession as “sports analytics.”

Fourth Place:  Young Sik Eum, from Los Angeles, CA is Brazilian but now resides in the U.S.  He’d only cashed once here at the series prior to this deep run, which paid $98,150. 

Fifth Place:  Justin Zaki, from Tampa, FL came in fifth place and received $72,634.  This marked his 31st time to finish in-the-money.  The graduate of the University of Central Florida has now earned more than $600,000 at the series, dating back to his WSOP debut in 2010. 

Sixth Place:  Dejan Boskovic, from New South Wales (Australia) earned his biggest WSOP paycheck, which came to $54,294.  The auctioneer and developer also cashed in the 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific Championship. 

Seventh Place:  Walter Rodriguez, from Edinburg, TX cashed for the very first time at the WSOP and really made the occasion count.  His deep run was good for $40,999.  Rodriguez, who works as an accountant, didn’t even know the amount of money he’d won when he was eliminated.  He was ecstatic at the amount and enjoyed his first time to come in the money at the series. 

Eighth Place: Zaher Sayegh, from Northridge, CA cashed for the third time at the series, and earned $31,278.  He also came in-the-money in the 2012 WSOP Main Event Championship.  He works as a property manager.  He says the best thing that has ever happened to him is – his family, including two children. 

Ninth PlaceDanny Illingworth, a poker pro from Carlsbad, CA rounded out the final table as the ninth-place finisher.  He now has 11 cashes at the series and another nine cashes in the WSOP Circuit.  This nice effort paid out $24,111. 

This was the 44th official event on this year’s schedule.  This leaves 25 gold bracelet events still to be played at the 2016 WSOP.



Phil Laak, a gold bracelet winner, finished in 23rd place.

Chris Dombrowski, a gold bracelet winner, finishes in 50th place. 

Jennifer Shahade, the chess grandmaster who won two U.S. National Championships, finished in 55th place. 

Jeremy Ausmus, a gold bracelet winner, finished in 95th place. 

Ronnie Bardah, a gold bracelet winner, finished in 100th place. 

Chris Ferguson, a five-time gold bracelet winner and the 2000 world poker champion, cashed for the seventh time as this year’s series. 

Other notable players who cashed included – David “ODB” Baker, Steve Sung, Victor Ramdin, Dan Kelly, Ben Yu, Matt Waxman and Benny Chen.



For this event’s official final results (listing all players who finished in-the-money), please visit:

For Steven Wolansky’s official player profile page, please visit:

For the live reporting logs for this event, please visit:

To access licensed images from this all other 2016 WSOP gold bracelet events, please visit:

Written by Nolan Dalla (WSOP Media Staff)