Stavrakis more than doubles career WSOP earnings in 21st lifetime WSOP cash.

14 June 2018 (Las Vegas) – Baltimore, Maryland's Filippos Stavrakis has claimed his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet in Event #26 of the 2018 WSOP, $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha.

The $169,842 winner's payday for the 46-year old Stavrakis easily exceeded his previous WSOP career winnings of $92,737, spanning 20 previous WSOP cashes. Stavrakis, a native of Athens, Greece who now works in manufacturing in Maryland, topped a final table of professional players to claim this win.

Stavrakis's final foe was Oceanside, New York's Jordan Siegel, who was seeking his own first bracelet in his 33rd career cash. Siegel, 46, who's known within the poker world as the emcee of NBC's “National Heads-Up Poker Championship”, collected $104,924 for the second-place run.

Third place in this event went to popular Brazilian pro Felipe Ramos, whose effort here fell short despite the support of a huge, vocal rail. Ramos, 35, of Sao Paulo, earned $73,989 here.

Long Beach, California's Clinton Monfort collected fourth-place money of $52,879. Finishing fifth and earning $38,309 was another California player, Olympic Valley's Peter Klein.

Stavrakis claimed the last of Siegel's remaining million-plus in chips in a hand where Stavrakis bet 160,000 pre-flop, Siegel called, and they saw a     flop. Siegel, with first action, bet 320,000, and Stavrakis bet the pot to cover Siegel's remaining chips. Siegel called it off with      for flush and straight draws. However, Stavrakis showed      for a set and a better flush draw, needing only to dodge a non-diamond five and not much else. The   and   completed the board instead, sealing Stavrakis's win.

As WSOP bracelet wins go, this one was more family-oriented than most. Filippos, or Phil as he's commonly called, dedicated the victory to his deceased younger brother, Jimmy. “We lost my little brother a couple of years ago,” said Stavrakis. “I've been playing poker for a long time, and I always said that if I was fortunate enough to win a bracelet, I'd dedicate it to him. It means a lot; it felt like he was there for me all day.”

Stavrakis, who came to the US at age five and now owns a machine shop in the Baltimore vicinity, was railed through most of Day 3 by his wife Dorie, who welled up in tears watching Phil's winner's-bracelet photo shoot. Dorie also spoke with the WSOP after the win, claiming, “As soon as I got there, he lost a big hand,” and she had to fight from leaving the rail at the final.

“She's very superstitious,” said Phil, with a chuckle, “and I had to yell at her because she thinks she's bad luck and she's actually quite the opposite. I ran deep in a hold'em main event in Connecticut a couple of months back, and she was good luck there as well.”

Stavrakis entered Day 3 with the chip lead and finished on top at the end, but the ride wasn't straightforward. “It was a rollercoaster at first,” he noted. “I shot straight up, but then it got rocky for a while. Then at the end it worked out.”

Stavrakis gave some perspective on his up-down-and-up ride, beginning with a huge hand that sent Ruslan Dykchteyn to the rail in 13th place. “I had the button and I raised with aces – I believe they were double-suited. The player in second place [Dykchteyn], he potted me, I re-potted, and he-repotted, and [in the end] I zoomed up like 500,000. He had six or seven hundred thousand, and I went up to 1.6 or 1.7 [million]. And later, I had over half the chips in play. I had 2.5 [million].

“And then, I made one mistake early on when we got to the final table, when we were like six-handed, against Jordan [Siegel]. My major mistake was against Jordan, where he made a 400,000 bet. I played the hand bad and I gave him 400,000 there. I should've just folded but I gave him the extra 400,000 there.

“My downswing started there. I know I should have folded. But I just regrouped. A couple times when I got it in, I had strong hands and I doubled up. You have to get lucky, especially in PLO, more so than hold'em. That's part of why I felt my little brother was with me. When I needed hands to hold up, they held up. Then after I busted out Felipe in third, I took over the chip lead at that point.”

Stavrakis said he expected that Siegel would end up being his final opponent, this despite the presence of Ramos in the final three, who Stavrakis said “just felt like more of a hold'em player”.

He also expected the final duel against Siegel to last longer than it did, even if the cards themselves decided the matter. “I dwindled him down and dwindled him down and then he opened... and then I hit middle set. And I had a flush draw, and I pretty much knew that was all she wrote.”

Day 3 in Event #26: $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha began with 14 players remaining, yet a fast-paced first hour of bustouts saw that trimmed to an unofficial final of ten, and then to nine, the official final table, with the ouster of Winston-Salem, NC's Arthur Morris ($9,435) in 10th.

Swansea, UK player Robert Cowen exited next. Cowen got the last of his chips in before the flop with      against Stavrakis's     , but Stavrakis turned what would be the winning flush on a         board. Cowen's first WSOP final-table appearance was worth $12,133.

Georgios Karavokyris fell next, bounced by Siegel in another hand featuring a pre-flop all-in. Karavokyris, originally from Greece had     , yet Siegel had that topped with     . The board ran out       , bringing Karavokyris some help but not enough, and he was off to the cashier for eighth-place money of $15,832.

Seventh place went to Las Vegas pro Thayer Rasmussen. All in on his big blind, Rasmussen ended up squaring off against Peter Klein after Klein raised two other players out of the hand on a     flop. Rasmussen's      was well behind Klein at that point, who showed      for the flopped set. The   turn and   river were no help, giving Rasmussen a $20,957 payday.

France's Pascal Damois was bounced just a few hands later. Stavrakis picked up this knockout as well in pre-flop all-in battle. Damois started ahead with      to Stavrakis's     , but Stavrakis made two pair on the
    flop. That held up through the   and   turn and river, sending Damois (6th, $28,137) to the rail.

The parade of short-stacked exits continued with Peter Klein's bustout in fifth. Klein, from Olympic Valley, California, squared off against Siegel, and was all in for his last 150,000 after a     flop. Klein showed     , but Siegel had      for another flopped set. The   turn and   river missed Klein as well, leaving him to collect $38,309 here.

Four-handed play lasted well over three hours until California's Clinton exited. Monfort was down to 100,000 in chips at one point during seven-handed play before surging back into the hunt. In a hand against Ramos, Monfort got his last 440,000 in with the lead, showing      to Ramos's     . Ramos spiked an eight on the flop and held on through a         runout. Monfort's run was worth $52,879.

That set up the big knockout hand featuring Stavrakis and Ramos. The hand saw Stavraks raise from the button, Ramos calling, and the pair seeing a     flop. Ramos checked, Stavrakis bet 300,000, Ramos called again, and the turn card was the  . Ramos checked again and Stavraks pushed out enough chips to cover Ramos's remaining stack.

Ramos pondered, then called, and Stavrakis showed      for the straight, while Ramos opened      for a lower straight, and the   river changed nothing, sending Ramos to the cashier for $73,989 in third-place money.

Event #26, $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha, offered a prize pool of $887,400 based on 986 entries. 148 players cashed, with a min-cash in this event worth $1,503.

Other Notables:
Among the players making the money in Event #26 were Nick Guagenti (21st, $4,852), Shannon Shorr (29th, $4,008), Mikhail Semin (36th, $4,008), Martin Finger (59th, $2,485), Kirill Gerasimov (64th, $2,190), John Kabbaj (65th, $2,190), Joe Cada (75th, $1,962), Christian Harder (92nd, $1,658), and Marcel Vonk (98th, $1,658).

Click here for Full Results.
Click here for live updates from Event #26.

Final Table Payouts (POY points in parentheses):

1st: Filippos Stavrakis, $169,842 (985.18)
2nd: Jordan Siegel, $104,924 (492.59)
3rd: Felipe Ramos, $73,989 (443.33)
4th: Clinton Monfort, $52,879 (394.07)
5th: Peter Klein, $38,309 (369.44)
6th: Pascal Damois, $28,137 (344.81)
7th: Thayer Rasmussen, $20,957 (295.55)
8th: Georgios Karavokyris, $15,832 (270.92)
9th: Robert Cowen, $12,133 (246.29)