Las Vegas resident picks up $197,461 and his first bracelet

July 12, 2018 (Las Vegas, NV) - For quite a while, the name ‘Phil’ was synonymous with poker success. Between Hellmuth, Ivey and Laak, there is plenty of players to choose from that can compete with the best.

With Jordan Polk’s win in the $1,500 no-limit hold’em/pot-limit Omaha eight-max event on Thursday night, the last name ‘Polk’ could end up being in that same category. Jordan joins three-time bracelet winner Doug Polk as the second ‘Polk’ to win a World Series of Poker title.

Polk defeated 707 entries to take home $197,461 and his first bracelet.

“It feels unreal,” said Polk after his victory. “It’s hard to believe. I haven’t even digested it quite yet, but pretty excited and a lot of hard work paid off.”

Most of the spectators in the Rio were over in the Amazon Room watching the Main Event play down to the final six players, but just down the hall in the Brasilia Room, there were three events playing to a winner with raucous rails at all three final tables.

At his first-ever WSOP final table, Polk was able to battle the noise, stay focused and worry about the cards in front of him like a seasoned veteran.

“It actually felt much better than I expected it to,” said Polk. “The first time my blood started rushing is really when I beat seat one or two in a big PLO hand when I flopped a set of threes. After that, the blood started rushing, but up until then, I was pretty calm.”

Polk is a local player from Las Vegas. He works full-time in sales but spends a decent amount of time playing cash games. This summer he decided to play a few more tournaments and finally had his breakthrough.

“I’ve been playing poker for a very long time,” he said. “I played probably millions of hands, I know a lot of good friends that play poker for a living. I don’t play poker for a living, but I do play a lot of cash games. I don’t really play any tournaments except for the World Series.”

With tournament strategy differing from a cash game perspective, the friends that play poker full-time were vital to improving his game.

“I mean, I get a lot of advice from my friends throughout the day and go over hands with them,” said Polk. “You know, I don’t really study the game. I play more on experience and instincts. They help me in situations that I’m not too familiar with.”

This was his first career final table, but Polk has been cashing events all summer long. He earned his first win in his seventh cash of the summer, with a couple top 100 finishes in some massive no-limit hold’em fields.

Polk noted that his tournament buy-ins are somewhat like lottery tickets to him, but this specific event was one that he marked on his schedule long ago. This was the one event he was looking forward to.

“I skipped a few events earlier this week just specifically to make sure I was able to play this one,” said Polk. “I love pot-limit Omaha and I just think it’s a huge edge when you play against no-limit players that are playing pot-limit Omaha.

“They just overvalue hands. They are used to getting two cards, you get four cards, there is a lot more variance in this game, they don’t know how to get off hands in certain situations.”

Polk defeated long-time veteran of the WSOP, Fernando Brito heads-up. The final table featured plenty of poker talent, including Kevin Iacofano and two players that were looking to earn their second bracelet of the summer – Dan Matsuzuki and Ryan Leng.

Iacofano busted in seventh place, Leng finished right in front of him in sixth and Matsuzuki was eliminated in fourth.

While the 31-year-old originally from Maryland didn’t cash this event last year, he did notice that this year’s field was more difficult than 12 months ago.

“I played this event last year and it was really fun,” said Polk. “This year was a much tougher field I thought.”

Earlier in the tournament, he was seated directly to the left of Daniel Negreanu, as well as battling with several other top pros en route to his victory. For Polk, that just made the victory more special.

“It wasn’t intimidating at all,” he said. “I get excited. It’s nice playing against professionals. I love competition. I mean, that’s what makes me love this game is the competition.”

The final day started with 15 players battling for the title and cards getting in the air at 2 p.m. They reached the unofficial final table of nine about two hours into the day, and quickly lost Christopher Lappas in ninth place to send the event to its official eight-handed final table.

They battled eight-handed for nearly two full levels before Alexander Ziskin busted in eighth place to Jesse Vilchez. They were all in preflop in PLO with Vilchez holding      against Ziskin’s     . Vilhez turned quad deuces, eliminating Ziskin in eighth.

The next two levels saw a flurry of eliminations with Iacofano busting to Samuel Welbourne in no-limit hold’em, all in preflop with ace-five against Welbourne’s ace-jack, and Leng busting to Matsuzki in a PLO cooler.

They were all in on the turn with Leng tabling bottom set and an open-ended straight draw against Matsuzuki’s top and third pair along with his nut flush draw. Matsuzuki rivered the nut flush and eliminated the only other bracelet winner at the table.

Welbourne busted to Brito in fifth when his pocket 10s couldn’t outrun Brito’s pocket queens. After the three eliminations in that level, the final four played a full level without an elimination before heading on dinner break.

When they returned, the chips continued to get pushed into the middle and the players continued to bust at a rapid pace. A now-short-stacked Matsuzuki found himself all in with ace-seven against Polk’s king-queen. A queen on the flop sent Matsuzuki home in fourth before Polk crippled Jesse Vilchez three-handed to take a commanding chip lead.

Brito got the last of Vilchez’s chips in no-limit hold’em when his    bested Vilchez’s    to leave Brito heads-up with Polk at a slight chip disadvantage.

The lead changed hands a couple times, but Polk had the advantage when all the chips got into the middle. On queen-high flop, Polk flopped top pair top kicker and got all the money in against Brito’s second pair.

Polk’s hand held up and Brito fell just shy of a first bracelet of his own. Polk immediately hugged his friends and family in attendance as Brito and his loud, but friendly rail headed to collect his $122,032 second-place money.

Final Table Results:

1st: Jordan Polk - $197,461
2nd: Fernando Brito - $122,032
3rd: Jesse Vilchez - $85,320
4th: Dan Matsuzuki - $60,556
5th: Samuel Welbourne - $43,641
6th: Ryan Leng - $31,942
7th: Kevin Iacofano - $23,751
8th: Alexander Ziskin - $17,945

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