Israel's Timur Margolin earns more than half a million and his first WSOP gold bracelet in $2,500 NLHE triumph

24 June 2018 (Las Vegas) – Timur Margolin, a native of the Ukraine now living in Israel, has won $507,274 for taking down Event #43 of the 2018 World Series of Poker, $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em.

Margolin's first gold bracelet came in the same event in which he finished as the runner-up in 2015. It's Margolin's fifth career WSOP cash, including one WSOP International Circuit payday, and it moves his lifetime WSOP winnings to $947,804.

Margolin, 34, a poker pro, led as his heads-up duel against another European pro, Ismael Bojang, got underway. Bojang surged into the lead partway through the duel before Margolin battled back for the win.

Bojang's second-place cash boosted his own lifetime WSOP earnings to more than 1.6 million. Bojang, 31, is a native of Germany now living in Ireland.

Michael Marder, a 31-year-old native of Philadelphia now living in Sewell, NJ, finished third. The $223,564 payday was nearly ten times his previous WSOP career winnings.

Six-time bracelet winner Chris Ferguson finished fourth in this event after leading at the start of Day 4. Ferguson, of Pacific Palisades, CA, earned $161,371. Las Vegas pro Dylan Linde finished fifth in his second final table in less than a week, collecting $117,894.

Margolin said he “felt really good” about this $2,500 NLHE event, not all that surprising given that the last time he played it, in 2015, he took second. Yet his ride to the win was bumpy, and included being dropped to short-stack status in the lengthy four-way battle against Bojang, Marder, and Ferguson. Margolin arrived at heads-up play with nearly a 2:1 margin against Bojang and soon increased it to nearly 4:1.

However, Bojang doubled to gain ground when his    – all in pre-flop with Margolin calling – held up against Margolin's    when an ace on the flop defined the result. Then Bojang went on a run of smaller pots to move into the lead.

Margolin then doubled through to take a lead similar to his original edge when his pocket kings held up against Bojang's pocket nines, but Bojang again clawed ahead, including a large pot where his A-J was good against Margolin on a         board.

One more time, Margolin doubled through, this time from behind when he moved all in with    and Bojang quickly called with   . The     flop gave Margolin more outs, and the   turn moved him ahead. The   river made the double-through official.

The see-saw duel soon ended. In the next hand, Bojang moved in for his last 4.1 million with   , and Margolin called with   . Bojang hit a king on the     flop, which killed one of the remaining aces as a redraw out for Bojang. Bojang needed only a non-spade three after the turn brought the  , but the river was the   instead.

Thoughts of the runner-up finish in 2015 were never far from Margolin's thoughts. As he told the WSOP, “I started with kind of a big chip lead [in the duel against Bojang], so I thought 'Finally,' and then Ismael is obviously a very, very strong player. It could go either way and he had some good hands. Then all of a sudden the chips were opposite, and I thought, 'Oh, not again! Will it ever end?'

“But I kept playing like I play in all tournaments. I had kind of a feeling; I'm in a better mental place nowadays. I'm just happy to be here. Happy with the experience, anyway. I felt good, like I'm going to do the same decisions.” Then, according to Margolin, “Some good cards came my way!”

Margolin's been honing his tournament game for the past several years in the hope of having another shot for gold in this event, which he quipped would have to be his “home event” from now on. “The last couple of years I've played more cash games, though,” he added. “Just because I have to. But tournaments are mostly my game and when I work on it, it's on tournaments.”

Six players returned for an originally unscheduled fourth day of action on Sunday in Event #43, with three players already bounced from the official final table before Day 3's play was halted. Josh Bergman (9th, $38,009), Andre Haneberg (8th, $49,498), and Jeff Hakim (7th, $65,284), all earned healthy cashes and recorded official final-table appearances.

Chris Ferguson led Sunday's returning six as play resumed, with Ryan LaPlante on the short stack, and it was LaPlante who exited a half hour in. In his bustout hand, LaPlante re-raised all in before the flop with   , and Margolin called with   . The         board offered nothing for LaPlante, and he was out in sixth for $87,189.

Las Vegas pro Dylan Linde busted next, earning $117,894 for fifth. Linde was down to 1.1 million when he moved all in with   , while Bojang, in the next seat, pushed all in over the top with   . Linde spiked a ten on the     flop, and looked set for the double after the   turn, but the   river gave Bojang a Broadway straight and the knockout.

Over three hours of four-handed play ensued before start-of-day chipleader Chris Ferguson busted in fourth. Each of the four remaining players took turns as either the leader or the short stack during this stretch, and Ferguson became the shortie after Margolin doubled through by spiking a queen in an earlier all-in hand. Ferguson made his own last stand in a hand against Bojang, when Ferguson check-raised Margolin all-in after a     flop. Margolin called and opened    to Ferguson's   , and after the   turn and   river missed his flush draw, Ferguson was out.

Marder busted in third 18 hands later. In his last hand, Marder moved all in before the flop for his last 2.11 million, and Margolin called. Marder showed    and Margolin had   , and Marder departed after not catching any part of a         board. Marder's previous 14 cashes had all come in WSOP Circuit events, and this deep run represented his first Vegas WSOP cash.

Marder's departure set up the see-saw final between Margolin and Bojang, which began with Margolin holding about two thirds of the chips in play.

Event #43, $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em, attracted 1,248 entrants and created a prize pool of $2,808,000. 188 players cashed, with a min-cash worth $3,743.

Other Notables:
Among those making the money in Event #43 were Andrew Brokos (13th, $23,296), David Peters (20th, $15,051), Faraz Jaka (33rd, $12,345), Taylor Paur (38th, $10,266), and Chance Kornuth (40th, $10,266).

Click here for Full Results.
Click here for live updates from Event #43.

Final Table Payouts (POY points in parentheses):

1st: Timur Margolin, $507,274 (1,137.76)
2nd: Ismael Bojang, $313,444 (568.88)
3rd: Michael Marder, $223,564 (511.99)
4th: Chris Ferguson, $161,371 (455.10)
5th: Dylan Linde, $117,894 (426.66)
6th: Ryan Laplante, $87,189 (398.22)
7th: Jeff Hakim, $65,284 (341.33)
8th: Andre Haneberg, $49,498 (312.88)
9th: Josh Bergman, $38,009 (284.44)