Cranbrook, British Columbia's Tim Andrew wins $116,015 in PLO GIANT's first edition
3 July 2018 (Las Vegas) – Tim Andrew, from Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada, has taken down the debut edition of the PLO “GIANT”, a $365 pot-limit Omaha event.
Andrew, who had never before even entered a WSOP bracelet event, earned $116,015 for the gigantic triumph here. Andrew's sole prior experience at the WSOP was a single Daily Deepstack event last year.
Andrew, 31, came back for the win against Lubbock, TX's Pedro “Pete” Arroyos, who held a huge chip lead during his heads-up duel against Andrew before losing three straight all-in pots, the last of which gave Andrew the comeback win.
Third place in Event #11 went to another Canadian player, Robert Cicchelli. Cicchelli, from Mississauga, Ontario, collected $71,703. Fourth place and $40,379 went to prior bracelet winner Sandeep Pulusani.
Fifth-place money of $30,461 went to four-time bracelet winner and three-time Poker Players Championship victor Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi.
Andrew was overwhelmed in the moments after his win, especially given the unexpected way in occurred, with he and Arroyos getting all the chips in before the flop in three out of four hands, with Andrew winning all four hands to seal the win. “It's a pretty good feeling [right now],” he admitted, with a soft chuckle.
Andrew is a PLO lover, frequently playing in cash games in Calgary, Alberta, the closest casino destination to his home. He's also played the occasional PLO tourney, though his biggest-ever cash in those – a second-place showing for about $4,000 – barely prepared him for the spotlight finale on the Brasilia stage.
“I didn't want to get clipped early,” Andrew said, regarding his final-table strategy. I wanted to stay from the big pots and try to win a lot of little pots. I didn't want to have to make big decisions where my whole stack had to go in. … I pretty much stuck to it the whole final table.”
Perhaps that “staying away from the big pots early” thing was why Andrew was tardy on Day 3; he showed up 30 minutes late and missed the first round and a bit more of the final table. He was stunned to discover that the day's early leader, Srinivas Balasubramanian had already lost most of his stack and would soon be the first player to bust.
“I was actually late today, and then when I showed up, he only had three million in chips. He had 18 million. It was a good thing I missed it!” Andrew added, knowing that early action couldn't have had his desired small pots.
“I woke up at quarter to two,” he said, meaning just 15 minutes before play began. “I was going to leave right then, but I was like, 'You know what? I'm going to miss some hands anyway.' So I was going to take a shower and at least feel good. I had a cold shower and cleared my head.
“I slept over 12 hours last night,” he added, admitting to a bit of an adrenaline crash after just making the final in his first-ever event. There's no telling how long he'll sleep tonight, whenever he's done celebrating the unexpected victory. Andrew, a former student who now plays poker at last semi-professionally, also plans to play a few more PLO events while in Las Vegas this summer.
An official final table of nine returned on Tuesday for the conclusion of the PLO Giant, a brand new event on this year's WSOP schedule. The nine were led by Chennai, India's Srinivas Balasubramanian, whose 18.3 million chip stack to start the finale was more than seven million ahead of his closest competitors.
Balasubramanian's Day 3, however, ran very bad. Other players doubled through Balasubramanian three times in the first hour's action, leaving him short. He soon jammed all in for his last 2.8 million with , and Sandeep Pulusani called and showed . The board missed both player, sending Balasubramanian to the rail in ninth for $17,541.
Three-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Raymond Walton busted next. Walton, from Cartersville, GA, saw his final-table appearance end when he shoved for his last two million from the button, and Arroyos, in the next seat, called. Walton showed and was ahead of Arroyos' . The board, though, brought , the rivered six giving Arroyos two pair and the knockout. Walton collected $13,384 for eighth.
Monroe, LA's James Sievers (6th, $23,076), Salt Lake City, UT's Kevin Nomberto (7th, $17,541) busted a short while later in a double-knockout hand won by Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, the big-name draw in this final. Nomberto was down to his last 1.375 million when he moved all in from under the gun; Mizrachi called from the cutoff, Sievers pushed all in from the button for 4.3 million, and Mizrachi called again.
The three opened their hands: for Nomberto, for Sievers, and . Mizrachi went from worst to first, however, the runout giving him a wheel and the twin knockouts.
That pot moved Mizrachi to about 15 million in chips, but that was near the highest point for the four-time bracelet winner, whose past titles include this year's Poker Players Championship. Mizrachi exited after losing two big pots to Arroyos, the latter a 16-million-chip collision. Arroyos opened from the button for three million with , and Mizrachi shoved all in with , with Arroyos calling. The flop put Arroyos ahead, and the turn and river sent Mizrachi off to a fifth-place, $30,461 payout.
The event went from four players to one in a rush. Fourth spot and $40,379 went to Huntsville, AL's Pulusani, who won a $3,000 no-limit hold'em bracelet and nearly $600,000 back in 2013. Pulusani's charge toward a second bracelet ended when he squared off against Arroyos. Pulusani raised to 3.6 million before the flop, Arroyos called, and they saw an flop. Pulusani bet his last 2.1 million and Arroyos called again. Pulusani showed , for a pair of tens plus flush and straight draws. Arroyos had to led with his pair of aces, and he stayed ahead through the turn and river.
That pot gave Arroyos a big chip lead, which he expanded further by bouncing Cicchelli just a handful of hands later. Most of Cicchelli's last eight million in chips went in before the flop, the rest after, with Arroyos calling both times. Cicchelli had for flush and straight draws, while Arroyos had for a pair of eights. That proved to be enough; the turn was the , putting a pair on the board, and the river gave Arroyos a second pair to set up heads-up play.
It looked to be a closing rout for Arroyos, who won the first big pot against Andrew to open up a near 4:1 edge. From that point on, however, it was all Andrew's turn to haul in the chips. The final hand started with Arroyos's stack slashed to under ten million in chips. Andrew bet the pot before the flop, Arroyos called, and they saw that flop. Andrew bet again and Arroyos called for his last few million in chips. Andrew led with his , but Arroyos had for a wrap and plenty of outs to double. The turn paired the board, though, and the river closed out Andrew's unexpected win.
Event #11, PLO GIANT - $365 Pot-Limit Omaha, drew 3,250 entrants and built a $975,000 prize pool. 464 players made the money, with a min-cash worth $556.
Among those cashing in Event #11 were Randy Holland $5,609), Leif Force (17th, $5,612), Arkady Tsinis (55th, $2,340), Vincent Moscati (59th, $2,940), and Layne Flack (80th, $1,885). This event's format allowed players to cash in multiple opening flights, meaning a few players earned a larger total cash than others despite being eliminated earlier on Day 2 and being placed lower in the final standings.
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Final Table Payouts (Approx. POY points in parentheses):
1st: Tim Andrew, $116,015 (997)
2nd: Pedro “Pete” Arroyos, $71,703 (498)
3rd: Robert Cicchelli, $53,709 (441)
4th: Sandeep Pulusani, $40,379 (399)
5th: Michael Mizrachi, $30,461 (374)
6th: James Sievers, $23,076 (349)
7th: Kevin Nomberto, $17,541 (299)
8th: Raymond Walton, $13,384 (274)
9th: Srinivas Balasubramanian, $10,250 (249)