LAS VEGAS (5 July 2017) – Rulah Divine has earned $262,501 and a coveted World Series of Poker gold bracelet for winning Event #63 of the 2017 WSOP, $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em.
Divine, 37, originally from Albuquerque, earned the quarter-million dollar payday in only his third career WSOP cash. Prior to his finish here, Divine had cashed in this year's $333 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold'em Event #8, along with a cash in a similar $1,000 no-limit hold'em event in 2013.
Divine, who now lives in North Las Vegas, seized the chip lead during three-handed play by winning an all-in race against Michael Amato that sent Amato to the payout window in third. Divine then closed out the triumph by eliminating Texas's Patrick Truong after a brief heads-up duel. Divine trailed Amato and Truong through much of the final table's action before climbing back to secure the win.
Truong, from Pflugerville, Tex., collected $162,170 for the runner-up showing. Boca Raton's Amato cashed for $116,940 in this event.
The top four finishers in Event 63, also including China's Yunsheng Sun, recorded career-best WSOP cashes in this tournament.
The key moment of the final table was the all-in flip between Divine and Amato, where Divine knocked out Amato and sent this event to heads-up play. The chips went in pre-flop, with Amato having but being slightly covered by Divine. Divine had , and he won the virtual flip by spiking an ace on the river of an otherwise dry board. Truong then stated that he'd folded what would've been a bracelet-clinching A-K in the face of Amato's and Divine's all-in moves.
The hand pushed Divine into the lead for the first time on Day 3 and he quickly closed out the win from there. He'd come all the way back from having just five big blinds part way through Day 2, but once he survived into the final three, he closed with a rush.
After eliminating Amato in the final table's pivotal hand, Divine and Truong ended up in another major collision. That final hand saw Divine complete from the small blind and Truong check from the big. Truong bet 100,000 on the flop and Divine called. The chips flew in on the turn. Divine checked, Truong bet 250,000, and Divine raised all in. Truong called, then found he had the worse two-pair hand, his trailing Divine's . Truong couldn't find another four on the river, it being the instead, and Divine leaped in celebration with his friends at the rail as the card hit the table.
Divine was no less than jubilant after securing by far the largest cash of his career. "It's surreal," he said. I've been dreaming of a World Series of Poker bracelet since I was a teenager. I've been an off-and-on pro. I haven't been a [full time] pro; I've had twins, since 2014. This was only my second bracelet event, along with the online $333. And I won into this – I won my seat online for 60 bucks."
Divine also touched on his struggles to stay in the even prior to the latter sections of Day 3: "I was short, I kept hanging in. I was getting a lot of rags all the time. I just kept hanging, hanging... it's unreal."
Then there was that key race against Amato in a hand where Truong opted to fold his own A-K. "I could have lost the whole thing if [Truong] calls with ace-king; I lose it, and he ships the bracelet right there, if he doesn't fold ace-king there."
"It solidifies everything," he said, regarding his struggle for a major tournament breakthrough. "My family, my wife, they've supported me forever." And yes, Divine is now planning to play the WSOP's Main Event.
This $1,000 no-limit hold'em tourney entered its third and final day of action with 20 players still in the running, and all three of the days earlier leaders, Amato, Truong, and Hughes, stayed near the top of the boards most of the day.
Busting in tenth to set the official final table was two-time bracelet winner Andy Frankenberger, whose pocket eights failed to connect against Truong's pocket jacks in his all-in final hand.
Next to exit was Jeffrey Silverstein, who lost a battle of short stacks against Fabio Felice Cudia. Silverstein's pocket nines led Felice Cudia's until the turn of a board that showed .
Eddy Sabat made this final but busted in eighth. Sabat moved the last of his stack in with , but Truong called and had Sabat in deep trouble with . The trouble became permanent when the board ran out , with the river completing an unnecessary flush for Truong.
Felice Cudia's final-table journey ended in seventh. Still battling with his own short stack, he lost most of his chips in a hand against John Monnette, then was forced to put his final few into the next pot with . Divine and Ryan Hughes were both in the hand and called it down from there, with Hughes' K-10 being good enough to take the pot.
Amato doubled through Monnette just a few hands later to leave Monnette on fumes, and Monnette was soon in for his last chips with against Hughes'
. The board brought no surprises and only the suspense of whether an ace would show. When that didn't happen, five players remained.
Just thirteen hands later, that five became four, when Hughes picked an inopportune moment to re-raise all in over an Amato open. Amato called and showed his pocket aces, which stayed way ahead of Hughes' on a board of .
Four-handed play began with Amato and Truong well in front of Divine and China's Yunsheng Sun, but both Divine and Sun soon doubled up to tighten the fight. Divine doubled up again to challenge the leaders, though Sun's luck finally ran out. In his last hand, he called Divine's all-in re-raise for the last of his own chips, and he was ahead with to Divine's . However, Divine's late run-well included this hand: The flop gave Divine a pair, but the turn returned Sun to the lead. Then came the river, filling Divine's flush and setting the stage for the fireworks to come in three-handed play.
Among the many well-known players earning a cash in this event were Frankenberger (10th), seven-time Circuit ring winner Joshua Reichard (32nd), Dimitar Danchev (57th), Marc MacDonnell (81st), Ankush Mandavia (82nd), Kevin Stammen (99th), Cliff Josephy (101st), Dan Shak (109th), Joe Kuether (122nd), Jackie Glazier (123rd), and Joe McKeehen (125th).
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Final-Table Payouts (earned POY points in parentheses):
1st: Rulah Divine, $262,501 (202.4)
2nd: Patrick Truong, $162,170 (172.3)
3rd: Michael Amato, $116,940 (154.5)
4th: Yunsheng Sun, $85,226 (139.1)
5th: Ryan Hughes, $62,785 (125.6)
6th: John Monnette, $46,758 (113.9)
7th: Fabio Felice Cudia, $35,207 (103.6)
8th: Eddy Sabat, $26,806 (94.6)
9th: Jeffrey Silverstein, $20,640 (86.7)