LAS VEGAS (2 July 2017) – Argentina's Andres Korn has collected $618,285 and his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet in Event #56 of the 2017, $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em.
Korn entered the Day 3 finale with the chip lead and continued to separate himself from the other players, eventually eliminating Taiwan's Pete Chen to seal the victory.
Korn's big payday here dwarfed his total previous WSOP winnings of $79,763; that total includes two previous Main Event cashes, in 2006 and 2011. The payday roughly doubled Korn's overall recorded tournament winnings, as he's been an occasional participant in events around the world for more than a decade.
The triumph by the Argentinian closed out an internationally dominated final table, where no US players cracked the top four finishers.
Chen, who battled upward after starting the day as one of the shortest stacks at the table, earned $382,122 for the second-place showing. As with Korn, this was the largest cash of Chen's WSOP career, and it stretched Chen's lifetime earnings to $442,989.
Finishing in third was Belgium's Thomas Boivin, who earned $264,306. This was the second deep final-table run of the series for Bovin, who finished as the runner-up in Event #43, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout.
Korn enjoyed a wire-to-wire run at this final table. He began the day with a narrow lead over Boivin and a major edge over the rest of the field, and as short-stacked players exited quickly, Korn's lead grew. Korn dominated Chen during the final two-player duel, in the end connecting with a holding to eliminate Chen, who had moved in the last of his chips with a dominated that failed to hold up. Eights had treated Korn well all day, and that held true in this event's final hand, as the board ran out . The river six triggered an enthusiastic celebration from Korn's Argentinian rail, with this being only the second bracelet won by an Argentinian player. Korn joined Ivan Luca, who captured a bracelet in the 2015 WSOP. Luca also cashed in this event, finishing 36th.
"This was beautiful," said Korn. "I connected with every flop. I won every flip -- the cards just kept coming my way. It was my way.
Korn is likely to have a particular fondness for eights in the future. Before spiking the eight on the flop in the event's final hand, reversing a dominated showdown, Korn twice had pocket eights hold up in knockout hands that sent final-table foes to the rail. "I definitely will; I didn't before [have a great feeling for them], but after today, with any eights, actually. In the last hand, when I had the eight-nine, all my friends were shouting, 'This is the day of the eight!'"
Korn had warm words for his friends as well, who were the loudest cluster at this final's rail. "It was amazing to have them there all day, supporting me."
He also credited his own experience in being able to close out the win so convincingly against Chen. He said, "I've been playing a lot of heads-up online. That experience was one thing, and the other was, well, the cards kept coming my way. Whatever I played, the flop just kept helping me."
Among Day 3's virtual certainties was that Sunday's nine-player final would offer early action, since several short stacks shared the table with runaway leaders Korn and Boivin as play began. That held true, as the final offered fireworks from the first hand. Spain's Sergio Cabrera's first and last hand of the day was , with which he re-raised all in and was called by the hand's original raiser, Marton Czuczor. Czuczor had , and the middle pair held for the knockout as the board brought .
Just seven hands later, Mark Zullo joined Cabrera on the rail. Zullo's exit occurred in a hand where Korn raised from late position and Zullo moved all in from the big blind with . Korn called with , and moved farther ahead when the flop came . Zullo needed runner-runner help but the turn dashed those hopes, with a meaningless completing the hand.
Next out was former WSOP Circuit ring winner Andy Spears, who moved in for his last 705,000 with but ran into Chen's waiting . Chen dodged the ace or other forms of help for Spears as the board ran out , trimming the final to six players within the day's first 20 hands.
The next three bustouts occurred at a barely slower pace. Only ten hands after Spears' exit, a short-stacked Simon Lam moved all in on the river of a hand against Chen with the board showing . Chen called Lam's shove and showed a pair of fives for a straight, while Lam could offer only Q-10 for a not-good-enough pair of queens.
Then came Mike Sowers' bustout in fifth, just one orbit later. Sowers re-raised from the button for his last 725,000 with , and Korn, the original raiser, called . Korn paired up on the flop and stayed ahead through the turn and river.
Sowers' departure guaranteed an international winner in Event 56, but it wouldn't be Hungary's Czuczor, who busted in fourth. An all-in Czuzor lost a virtual race against Korn when Czuczor's couldn't catch up with Korn's . The flop gave Korn a set, and though the turn gave Czuczor outs to a gutshot straight, his needed nine didn't show, the river being the instead. Czuczor's bustout, the sixth at this table, occurred in just the 48th hand of Day 3 play.
That left three relatively deep-stacked players in Korn, Boivin, and Chen, with Korn still holding more than half the chips in play. Chen was the shortest stack early but doubled up in a hand against Boivin, and instead it was Boivin who would finish third here. Boivin was down to just over a million chips when Korn moved all in from the small blind, putting Boivin to a choice for his remaining chips. Boivin called and showed , up against Korn's , but again, the runout favored Korn. This time Korn connected on the flop, and the turn and river meant heads-up play was at hand.
Chen possessed about a quarter of the chips in play, but Korn kept applying pressure and whittling away at Chen's stack. Chen survived one previous all-in, after moving in with flush and straight draws after the flop against what turned out to be a Korn overpair (pocket kings), and Chen doubled up when he filled that flush draw on the turn. That double, however, didn't event return Chen's stack to where it was when the duel began, and Korn soon closed out the win.
This $5,000 no-limit hold'em tournament drew 623 entrants. A prize pool of $2,896,950 was at stake, and 94 players earned a cash in the event.
Among those cashing in Event #56 but exiting short of the final table were Alan Engel (13th), Pierre Neuville (15th), Matt Affleck (16th), Mike Watson (20th), Barny Boatman (22nd), Juha Helppi (23rdd), Dietrich Fast (25th), Matt Stout (28th), Aditya Agarwal (31st), Kevin Stammen (33rd), Tim West (34h), and Luca, in 36th.
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Final-Table Payouts (earned POY points in parentheses):
1st: Andres Korn, $618,285 (205.9)
2nd: Pete Chen, $382,122 (175.4)
3rd: Thomas Boivin, $264,306 (155.1)