Millbrae, CA's Lee turns third-ever WSOP cash into bracelet triumph

21 June 2018 (Las Vegas) – Preston Lee, a 32-year-old poker pro from Millbrae, California, has emerged as the winner of Event #39 of the 2018 World Series of Poker, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout.

Lee triumphed in three successive rounds of play in this event featuring the distinctive shootout format, with only the winner of each sit-'n'-go style table advancing to the next round.

Lee's $236,498 winner's payday came in only his third-ever WSOP cash, with the prior two, in 2011 and 2017, amounting to just over $4,000.

The final player between Lee and the bracelet was Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Corey Dodd. Like Lee, Dodd is a relative newcomer to WSOP bracelet events, with his only earlier cash coming in 2013. Dodd, also 32, earned $146,146 for the second-place run.

Prior bracelet winner Anthony Reategui finished third for $105,307, while well-known Las Vegas pro Dylan Linde claimed fourth for $76,829.


The story of this final table was the protracted heads-up duel between Lee and Dodd, which stretched 131 hands past Reategui's bustout in third. For the most part, Lee held the edge, but both players spiked three-outers at separate points late in the duel to stay in the hunt.

First, Dodd got the last of his chips in K-10 against Lee's K-J, but Dodd spiked the ten and the rest of the board blanked, allowing him to double through. A few hands later, with Dodd now well ahead, Lee got it in with the worst of it, K-5, against another K-10 for Dodd. This time the five came on the flop, and the battle began anew.

The event-deciding collision between the two happened on the duel's 128th hand, when Lee raised, Dodd moved all in with   . Lee called with   , and was close to clinching with the     flop. The   turn gave Dodd one last gasp with outs to the gutshot straight, but the   river gave Lee the event's largest pot and almost 99% of the chips in play.

Dodd was left with just 75,000 in chips, but wasn't done quite yet. Both players called all-in dark for the next three hands; Dodd won the first two, and Lee finally closed it out on the third. That last hand found Lee with    against Dodd's   . The     flop paired Lee's five, but gave Dodd an open-ended straight draw. This time, though, Dodd didn't connect, as the   turn and   river closed out action in the event.

“It was pretty insane,” said Lee, about his lengthy duel with Florida's Dodd. “We got it all in multiple times. He got lucky a few times. Then I got lucky. Then he got lucky. It was back and forth; it was pretty crazy.”

Lee did have the better of it for the most part, however. “The plan was just to grind him [Dodd] down, get it in, hopefully win...” which brought a chuckle, given how many times the trailing hand ended up taking down the pot.

Lee also didn't think endurance entered into it, despite the 12-hour Day 3 that ended with the five-hour heads-up duel. “I was a little tired, but I've played longer sessions.”

The huge payday also changed Lee's plans. He's now going to be around for the rest of the WSOP's summer run, playing cash games and the occasional tournament, including next month's Main Event.

Each of Thursday's final ten players began the day with roughly equal chip stacks of abut 665,000, due to the nature of the event. The nominal Day 3 leader was prior bracelet winner Reategui, and soon opened a real lead in the finale's early action, then logged the day's first knockout, of the UK's Endrit Geci.

Geci, who'd taken a hit in an earlier pot, busted two hours into Day 3 when he called off the last of his chips to a Reategui jam on a         board. Geci tanked for nearly four minutes before calling with    for two pair, but found that Reategui, claiming beforehand that he was on tilt, had raised from the hijack pre-flop with   . The “hammer” (actually the statistically worst starting hand in hold'em) worked here, and Geci was out in tenth for $15,180.

Reategui picked up the next knockout as well, this time of Dutch player Bas de Laat. De Laat shoved for his last 150,000 with    over the top of a Reategui open, and Reategui called with   . The middle cards won out as the completed board showed        , giving Reategui two pair and sending de Laat off to collect $19,245 for ninth.

Out in eighth was St. Petersburg, Russia's Alexander Lakhov, who lost an all-in race for his last 260,000 chips against Preston Lee. Lakhov had   , Lee had    and the king arrived on the flop of a        board. That made Lakhov the eighth-place finisher, $24,728 richer for his three days' work.

Just four hands later, Traverse City, MI's Royce Matheson busted in one of the largest pots of the day. Lee opened the action by raising from the hijack to 35,000. Matheson re-raised from the small blind to 116,000, Lee called, and they saw a     flop. Matheson bet 105,000, Lee called again, and the turn brought the  . Matheson bet 275,000 and Lee called once more. Matheson checked the   river, and Lee moved all in, having Matheson covered. After a couple of minutes, Matheson called and showed   . Lee, though had spiked a set on turn with his   , meaning Matheson was out in seventh for $32,198.

Poker veteran and prior WSOP Circuit ring winner Young Phan busted in sixth for $42,476 after colliding with Reategui. Phan moved all in from the small blind for 365,000 with   , but ran into big-blind Reategui's waiting   . Reategui's queens won out, but not without unexpected drama; Phan caught an ace on the     flop, but Reategui caught the   on the turn to seal the hand and trim the final to five.

The tables two shortest stacks collided a couple of dozen hands later, with Dylan Linde surviving while Jesse Kertland hit the rail. Kertland jammed his last 414,000 in with   , and Linde, having Kertland barely covered, called with   . The K-Q held up through the board's        runout, and Kertland, a 29-year-old casino dealer now living in Yakima, WA, headed to the cashier for fifth-place winnings of $56,763.

Linde's near-double-up temporarily moved him ahead of Dodd and into third, but Dodd soon caught his own double-up to slide just past Linde in return. Then the two collided, all in pre-flop, with Linde showing    to Dodd's   . Dodd's kings weren't challenged as the board brought        , giving him a spade flush and a two million-chip pot.

Meanwhile, as Lee had gotten the best of Reategui in a few mid-sized pots, Dodd's knockout of Linde moved him into second and dropped Reategui to third. Reategui slipped further in the following hands

Event #39, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout, attracted 908 entrants and offered a prize pool of $1,225,800. 100 players locked in a cash by winning their Round 1 shootouts.

Other Notables:
Among those cashing in Event #39 by winning their first-round shootout but failing to win in the second round were Steven Wolansky, Phil Hellmuth, Arkadiy Tsinis, Scott Blumstein, Shannon Shorr, Martin Jacobson, Justin Liberto, and Rep Porter. Each of these players and many others earned $5,227 for their first-round wins.

Click here for Full Results.
Click here for live updates from Event #39.

Final Table Payouts (Approx. POY points in parentheses):

1st: Preston Lee, $236,498 (1,026)
2nd: Corey Dodd, $146,146 (513)
3rd: Anthony Reategui, $105,307 (462)
4th: Dylan Linde, $76,829 (410)
5th: Jesse Kertland, $56,763 (385)
6th: Young Phan, $42,476 (359)
7th: Royce Matheson, $32,198 (308)
8th: Alexander Lakhov, $24,728 (282)
9th: Bas de Laat, $19,245 (256)
10th: Endrit Geci, $15,180 (205)