July 4, 2019 (Las Vegas) - Juha Helppi is the winner of the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship. He takes home $306,622 and the World Series of Poker gold bracelet. He topped a field of 118 players and claimed his first bracelet. This was his seventh final table appearance, and he has three runner-up finishes.
“Of course it feels great. I don’t feel that tired right now because it’s so exciting to play for a bracelet. I’ve been coming here since 2003,” Helppi said
“This means a lot to me to win a bracelet. It’s such a long journey.”
Helppi captured the bracelet after a 12-hour final day, which included about five hours of heads up play. When heads up started Mike Lancaster had the lead. He and Helppi would pass the lead back and forth a few times, before Helppi finally took the lead for good.
“I felt like I could come back and I had good support from my rail and they gave me confidence. And this is my game, this is how I built my bankroll playing this game, limit heads up. So I was pretty sure I have a small edge heads up. Although I know he was an experienced player too.”
The rail stayed active throughout the night. By the end of the tournament, the five-person rail made up a majority of the handful of people still in the Amazon room early Friday morning.
“I think it helped me during bad times when I was losing pots. I didn’t want to play bad because they were here. It kept me playing my A game.”
The final table began with nine players vying for the top prize, a few of them looking to add another bracelet to their collection.
Robert Como fell in ninth place to bracelet winner Kevin Song. Como had aces, but Song turned a straight and sent Como home with $25,566. This was Como’s third-ever cash at the WSOP and first final table appearance. His previous best finish was in this same event in 2014 where he finished tenth.
Then Josh Arieh, who recently finished runner-up to Phil Hui in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, knocked out Qinghai Pan. Pan was only a little more than 48 hours removed from a sixth place finish in the $10,000 Stud Hi-Lo Eight or Better. Before making two final tables this summer, Pan’s best finish was a 13th place finish in the 2009 $2,500 Limit Hold’em.
Kyle Ray hit the rail next. Anthony Marsico rivered a straight against Ray’s trips and sent Ray home with an extra $40,709 for his seventh place finish. This was Ray’s third final table appearance, all of which have been in Limit Hold’em events. Ray has two top seven finishes in this event and all of his eight WSOP cashes are in Limit Hold’em or Mixed No-Limit/Limit events. He has $449,164 in career tournament winnings.
Mike Lancaster held the lead with six remaining. Juha Helppi was in second and Marsico in third. All three of the top three players were seeking their first bracelet. Tommy Hang, Arieh, and Song were the bottom three stacks and all had at least one bracelet.
Arieh fell in sixth place to Lancaster. The two got all in preflop with Arieh drawing to a seven. Lancaster held and eliminated Arieh, who cashed for $53,095.
Another bracelet winner hit the rail after nursing a short stack for a while. He was yet another victim to the chipleader Lancaster. Both flopped top pair, but Lancaster had the best kicker and Song was left with a fifth place finish for $70,750.
Lancaster was in commanding position with four players remaining.
Helppi took the lead when he eliminated Marsico in fourth place. Marsico went all in preflop with ace-high, but Helppi had a better ace. Both players paired their ace, but Helppi won the hand to eliminate Marsico thanks to his kicker. Marsico won $96,272 for his finish.
Hang fell in third place, taking home $133,718. This was Hang’s best finish since 2014 when he won the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E..
Helppi and Lancaster exchanged the lead twice before Lancaster took a 1.5-million lead. Then, after about four more hours of heads up play, it was Helppi in the lead. Helppi extended his lead, and eventually finished off Lancaster to claim his first WSOP gold bracelet.
Final Table payouts: (Click here for a full list of results)
1) Juha Helppi ($306,622)
2) Mike Lancaster ($189,505)
3) Tommy Hang ($133,718)
4) Anthony Marsico ($96,272)
5) Kevin Song ($70,750)
6) Josh Arieh ($53,095)
7) Kyle Ray ($40,709)
8) Qinghai Pan ($31,902)
9) Robert Como ($25,566)