New York's Song collects a WSOP-best $341,854 payday in Event #28 triumph 


13 June 2019 (Las Vegas) – Connecticut native and two-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Stephen Song has added a first gold bracelet to his poker resume by claiming the title in Event #28 of the 2019 World Series of Poker, $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em.

Song's triumph in this event came over a giant 2,477-entry field and was worth $341,854, the largest payday of Song's WSOP career. Song has now earned $791,871 in 32 WSOP and Circuit cashes.

Song began Thursday's final six in this event with a huge lead over the other five players, though he was dragged back to the pack at one point during four-handed action. However, Song soon reestablished control over the final.

Song's final opponent in this event was another prior Circuit ring winner, Kenova, West Virginia's Scot Masters, who ended up posting a career-best $211,177 payday. Third place and $154,268 went to the only prior bracelet winner in Event #28's final six, Minnesota's Ryan Laplante.

Brazil's Renato Kaneoya, who briefly surged into the lead before faltering, finished fourth for $113,712. California's Sevak Mikaiel (5th, $84,581) and Australia's Dominic Coombe (6th, $63,491) rounded out the top finishers.

An enthusiastic Song was quick to celebrate his win with a larger-than-average rail, which to Song's surprise included his father. Song's parents still live in their native Connecticut, and after learning of Song's big lead entering the final table, his mother arranged for his father to catch an early-morning flight to Las Vegas, arriving just a half hour before Event #28's finale. “My mom found out and she booked a secret flight for him for the morning, and he [got here].”

Song, 23, of Korean heritage, quickly offered to late-register his dad into the ongoing Seniors event as part of the celebration, though he was more serious when it came for his plans for his life-altering payday. “I already invest most of my money with my parents. My dad's the smartest guy I know. He's super-good with money. I just give it to him and he takes care of it for me. They're going to help me buy my first house, which is pretty sick.” Then he joked, “Now I'll have to buy a couple more, just for the tax write-off.

Getting from a large lead early on to the finish line wasn't exactly a straight path for Song. “At first I thought it was going to be pretty smooth sailing,” he said, about his start-of-day lead. “But then Renata flush-over-flushed me right away, and he's pretty good, so that was not ideal. Laplante kept on getting jams through so he kept on chipping up swiftly. It wasn't going as planned for sure; it was definitely a bumpy ride.”

A couple of hours later, that led to Song's own all-in moment against Laplante, which occurred just after Kaneoya busted. He was the short stack himself (by just a small margin) and landed a key double-through. Song got all his chips in with a flush draw while Laplante had already flopped trip aces, and Song needed help to stay alive. He then caught a club jack on the turn to make his flush, Laplante couldn't complete his own full house, and Song used the huge pot to retake control. “If he wins that, he has a sizable lead and probably wins the tournament.”

“The money's insane!” he added. “WSOP summer – it's where you can actually make life-changing money. It's pretty unreal.”

Song plans to perhaps try another step up in stakes to see if he can build upon his recent successes, and he's already planning on next month's Main Event. “I hope to play the Main Event every year for the rest of my life!”

Song had no particular plan for attacking this big-field event, except for raking in chips early and often. “You need to accumulate a stack to get deep in this tournament.

Six players returned for Thursday's finale in Event #28, led by New York's Stephen Song. Song, a two-time Circuit ring winner, brought over 24 million in chips to the final six, about half of the chips in play. Three players busted from the official final table late on Day 2. Those three were Pedro Ingles (7th, $48,101), Vegard Ropstad (8th, $36,783), and Yosef Lider (9th, $28,394).

The remaining five players were clustered between 3.5 million and 6.4 million in chips, guaranteeing some early collisions. Australia's Dominic Coombe was on the shortest stack, and he was the first to bust, heading off to a $63,491 payday when his    couldn't connect against Kaneoya's    on an interesting         runout.

Kaneoya moved into the lead at one point, doubling through Song in a flush-over-flush hand, but then momentum shifted again. Yet he up suffering some setbacks, then busted in fourth after moving all in from the small blind with   , only to run into Laplante, who had limp-called from the button with    in the hope that Kaneoya might jam his stack. That's how it played out, and when the         board was complete, Kaneoya was locked into $113,712 in fourth-place money.

Laplante was down to just ten big blinds at that point and managed to get several all-in jams through, but he couldn't complete the surge. In Laplante's last hand, Song opened for one million and Laplante moved all in, for a little over nine million. Song called at once and opened   , while Laplante's    needed help. No such help appeared on a         runout, and Laplante settled for a $154,268 third-place cash.

That left Song and Masters to battle for the bracelet. Song started heads-up with four fifths of the chips, and he ground down Masters a bit more before Masters made his last stand with   , all in preflop. Song, though, had an easy call with   , and the nines held up as the board brougth         to seal Song's first bracelet win.

Event #28, $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em, drew 2,477 entries, building a $2,229,300 prize pool. 372 players cashed, with a min-cash worth exactly $1,500.

Among those cashing in Event #28 were Aditya Sushant (13th, $17,409), Phil Hellmuth (16th, $13,830), Shaun Deeb (28th, $8,989), Jessica Dawley (38th, $7,356), Steven Snyder (41st, $7,356), Giuseppe Pantaleo (87th, $3,145), Ryan van Sanford (105th, $2,410), Daniel Zack (108th, $2,410), and Eddy Sabat (113th, $2,410).

Click here for Full Results.
Click here for live updates from Event #28.

Final-Table Payouts:

1st: Stephen Song, $341,854
2nd: Scot Masters, $211,177
3rd: Ryan Laplante, $154,268
4th: Renato Kaneoya, $113,712
5th: Sevak Mikaiel, $84,581
6th: Dominic Coombe, $63,491
7th: Pedro Ingles, $48,101
8th: Vegard Ropstad, $36,783
9th: Yosef Lider, $28,394