LAS VEGAS (16 July 2017) – Chino, California's Adrian Moreno survived an up-and-down final table to claim the next-to-last gold bracelet to be awarded at the 2017 World Series of Poker this summer, winning Event #74, $1,000 + $111 Little One for One Drop No-Limit Hold'em.
Moreno, 48, a Los Angeles-area native, earned a healthy $528,316 payday along with his first WSOP bracelet on Sunday. Moreno's win came in this massive, charity-themed tourney that also benefited the One Drop foundation in addition to awarding nearly $4 million in prize money. The event drew 4,391 entries and stretched well into an unscheduled and extended Day 4 session.
For Moreno, a full time trade-show decorator and part-time poker player, this was by far the largest of his WSOP paydays to date. Moreno had previously logged four previous WSOP cashes for a total of $90,419.
Moreno topped Norway's Martin Lesjoe for the title after a near-two-hour duel for the bracelet. Lesjoe, a 28-year old resident of Oslo, earned $326,314 here, This was the first-ever WSOP cash for Lesjoe, an air traffic controller in Norway.
Las Vegas pro Matt Berkey finished in third, collecting $240,588 for the deep final-table showing here. This was Berkey's 31st WSOP cash and swelled his career WSOP earnings to well over $1.4 million.
“It's a dream come true,” said Moreno, reflecting on the moment. “I had a rough week; I was playing [earlier in the series]; I ran so deep in the Monster Stack and the Crazy Eights, top 20's and that, and I had one of my good friends pass away ten days ago so I had to fly home for a day. I come back... and it's a dream come true.”
Moreno plays both cash gams and tourneys at a couple of large L.A. cardrooms, though he suggested he'll be playing more tournaments in the future. He's been working at multiple jobs, too, being a part-time poker player and a part-time trade-show decorator. “We set up at convention shows, Moreno explained, “things like this.” He gestured to the stage-like setup in the Rio Convention Center's Brasilia Room, where action continues late in the Main Event at other nearby tables. “We set up something like this, any type of show you can think of.”
“I've been trying to do half and half, work and play, when I can.” Moreno added. “With some good cashes this year and a good little run, I've sort of decided to become more of a tournament player lately. It worked out all summer.”
As for the action itself, Moreno said, “I think I started playing old-school. I talked with T.J. Cloutier and watched the way [he and others] play. I think I like to play more old-school than the new guys in Europe. Really aggressive, though, I like that style."
Moreno was indeed relentless in his duel against Lesjoe once he pulled even in chips, grinding Lesjoe down to less than a fourth of the chips in play. In the final hand, Moreno checked on a flop. Lesjoe bet 1.2 million, and Moreno check-raised all in, having Lesjoe well covered. Lesjoe called showed a king for top pair, while Moreno opened for the flush draw and other outs. The turn locked the hand and the win for Moreno, and the completed the board.
“He's a good player,” said Moreno, about Lesjoe, who was unable to close out the win despite having a 3:1 edge early in heads-up play. “Real good post-flop, a great player.” Moreno mentioned Berkey as well, whose previous poker accomplishments were well known at the final table. “Matt is a super player, and he just lost some big hands.”
Moreno survived a couple of tight moments on the way to the win after starting the day 11th of the 12 remaining players. Spiking the set of threes to double through Lesjoe was likely the event's key hand, but Moreno wouldn't even have made it that far had he not rivered an ace earlier in the day to stay alive while all in. “The ace gave me two pair to save me,” he said, about the hand that occurred during six-handed play.
Event #74, the Little One for One Drop $1,000 + $111 No-Limit Hold'em tourney was the last of 74 bracelet events on the WSOP's summer schedule – noting that Event #73, the $10,000 Main Event, is still ongoing and will determine its winner later this week.
The Little One for One Drop tourney drew 4,391 paid entries and generated a very healthy $3,951,900 prize pool. That purse was in addition to the $487,401 generated for One Drop, the Guy Laliberte-founded charity that strives to provide sustainable access to safe, clean water for underprivileged people around the globe.
Seth Palansky, VP of Corporate Communications and the Editor-in-Chief of WSOP.com, noted that all 4,391 individual entries paid that non-mandatory $111 add-on, for which they received bonus chips. “Every single person who entered, did the donation.” Palansky also stated that when combined with the donations generated in Event #6, $111,111 HIGH ROLLER for ONE DROP No-Limit Hold'em, more than $992,000 was raised for One Drop via the WSOP this summer.
The massive field meant that for a second year in a row, a full Day 4 session was needed. Twelve players returned for Sunday's finale, led by Berkey, whose 12,000,000 million at day's start was more than double his closest competitor.
The final table was setting following the early eliminations of Dejuante Alexander (12th), Kyle Shappelle (11th), and Alexander Haber (10th). Meanwhile, Berkey expanded his lead over the other competitors during the first level of the day's play.
Greece's Alexandros Papadopoulos departed in ninth, the first of the official final table's bustouts. Short-stacked, Papadopoulos moved all in for his last 2,500,000 with , and Lesjoe called with . The board ran out , keeping Lesjoe's sixes in front and giving him the knockout.
Just eleven hands later, Samuel Vonkennel busted in eight, sent to the rail by Berkey. In Vonkennel's last hand, the chips went in after a flop. Vonkennel moved all in with pocket eights, and Berkey quickly called with pocket tens, which held up through the turn and river.
The knockout moved Berkey near the 20-million chip mark, over 50 percent of the chips in play, though Lesjoe soon doubled through Berkey in a major collision to take the lead during seven-handed play. That hand saw Lesjoe make a full house, queens over kings, on a rivered queen, while that same card gave Berkey trip queens. Berkey thought for several minuted before calling Lesjoe's all-in river bet, shipping roughly seven million chips in total Lesjoe's way.
Seventh went to Brazil's Ricardo Ramos. Ramos was under two million in chips when he shoved all in with , only to find Germany's Giuseppe Pantaleo waiting with . Pantaleo's aces held, though not without a momentary sweat, as the board ran out .
Pantaleo was next to exit, though, when he re-raised all in with another pair, pocket queens, and was called by Lesjoe, who had A-K. Pantaleo led until the river, when the appeared to give Lesjoe the pot and the knockout.
Five-handed play extended for a lengthy stretch until Richard Dixon was bounced just after having his pocket aces cracked by Moreno in a hand that moved Moreno up the board and left Dixon on fumes. Dixon then moved all in for his last 475,000 with Moreno and Jimmy Guerrero calling Dixon's pre-flop shove, then checking down the rest of the way. Moreno rivered a straight for the knockout, leaving four players in the battle.
That became three when Guerrero busted when check-raising all in against Berkey with bottom pair and a flush draw. Guerrero had , to go with a flop. Berkey called with for top pair, and that held up through the turn and river.
Berkey again had nearly half the chips in play after that knockout, but then the cards turned against him. First, Moreno spiked a set of deuces to double through Berkey's . Moreno then took down another large pot against Berkey, and then Lesjoe hit an inside straight draw -- filling a flush draw on the turn in hand where Berkey was already all in, to set up heads-up play. The knockout would mirror Lesjoe's own exit against Moreno a couple of hours later.
Among those who cashed in Event #74 but busted short of Day 4's final table were Eugene Todd (23rd), Matt Affleck (42nd), Dan Heimiller (48th), Sean Getzweiler (66th), Jean Gaspard (69th), Chris Ferguson (96th), Dietrich Fast (101st), Roberto Romanello (118th), Rep Porter (36th), and Pierre Neuville (147th).
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Final-Table Payouts (earned POY points in parentheses):
1st: Adrian Moreno, $528,316 (255.5)
2nd: Martin Lesjoe, $326,314 (217.6)
3rd: Matt Berkey, $240,588 (196.6)