Mueller boosts lifetime WSOP earnings to nearly $2.85 million
14 June 2019 (Las Vegas) – Greg “FBT” Mueller has landed his third career World Series of Poker gold bracelet in winning Event #29 at the 2019 WSOP, $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Along with that third bracelet win, the big $425,347 payday boosts his lifetime WSOP winnings to $2,846,696.
Mueller came from behind at the final table to claim victory in this event, which is one of the more coveted titles on the WSOP slate. This mixed-games event draws a top roster of the game's most talented pros, including this year, when four of the final eight players had already posted previous WSOP bracelet wins.
Mueller was one of those four prior winners, having claimed prior WSOP titles, both in 2009. Here, he came back from near elimination and survived an extended three-way battle to secure the win.
Second place an $262,882 in this event went to Columbia's Daniel Ospina, who came up just short in his own search for a second WSOP win. Third place in this event went to Italy's Dario Sammartino, whose deep run was worth $184,854.
Fourth-place finisher Scott “BigRissky” Clements came close to becoming the year's first double bracelet winner but settled instead for a $132,288 cash. Fifth went to California's Craig Chait, who earned $96,378.
Mueller first earned WSOP by winning two bracelets in 2009, but has played somewhat less poker in recent years, making that third career win a tougher get. “I just haven't played that many tournaments in a long time,” he said, “and I had the bug to play a little bit again. I was working hard in the offseason to get fit, like, I wanted to know if I could still play the game. You know, in the fantasy draft, I used to get drafted all the time. Then I got complacent and just played cash games and just didn't want to be bothered with the schedule to play.
“I just felt like, 'Do I still have it? Has the game passed me by?' That type of thing.” Mueller told himself that he was going to be focused this year, getting up every morning and going to the gym. “It's nice in this [tournament]; it has the best of the best in all the variations of the game.”
A “pumped” FBT – his famed nickname stands for “Full Blown Tilt” – thought back to his earlier bracelet wins. “To win the first bracelet, which was ten years ago, obviously it was awesome, chasing the dream. I loved poker. I loved it; I couldn't wait to walk to the Rio and play another event. I just loved it.
“Being a little bit older, I don't really love poker as much any more. It's more of a grind and stuff for me, right? Sitting a long time at the table. But winning one a long time ago, and not really caring as much, I was like, 'You know what? I want to win one again.'
“I put a lot of effort into not so much studying the game, but into my own physical and mental state. I got really fit and was able to endure the hours and do the right things. I said five days ago when I posted on Instagram that I was going to final-table an event ASAP.” Being “really fit” means something more to Mueller, too: Mueller, 48, originally from Switzerland but a long-time Canadian national, played eight seasons of professional hockey in the '90s.
“I didn't know it would come this quick and I didn't know I would win the bracelet. It feels amazing.
Mueller survived a wild final table that saw early leader Sammartino eventually reeled in by both Mueller and Ospina, with each of the three taking turns in the lead during the day's later levels. Mueller credited some huge reads for his success, particularly against Sammartino. “It was a long grind; the play was awesome. I was down low a lot of times, and I went with a couple of reads and never gave up.” One key hold'em hand found Mueller riding bottom pair on a very scary board and accurately picking off a Sammartino bluff. The big pot pulled Mueller out of danger and he eventually surged to the lead himself.
Mueller also credited long-time friend and fellow pro Shawn Buchanan for providing encouragement and advice at the rail all day. “Any time I got low, he just gave me the same encouraging advice: 'You're not going to win it in one hand. You're going to have ups and downs. Stay tough. Don't be defeated. Put your phone down and focus.”
Seven players made it to the live-streamed Day 4 finale of the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E event, with Italy's Sammartino holding a big early lead, his 5.03 million stack representing over half of the chips in play. Three-time bracelet winner Phil Galfond also made the official final table, finishing eighth for $42,625, but he busted late on Day 3.
San Ramon, California's Matthew Gonzales made it to Day 4, but with just a single big bet's worth of chips, and his stay was brief. Gonzalez exited to a $54,043 cash in a round of Omaha hi-lo in a three-way hand against Mikhail Semin and Clements. With Gonzales already all in, Semin and Clements checked down through a board. Gonzalez showed , having aces up for high, but Semin had trip sixes for a better high and Clements made a low, chopping the pot and leaving Gonzales out of the running.
Semin busted in sixth ($71,505) after surviving a lengthy string of all-in hands spanning action both late on Day 3 and early on Day 4. His luck ran out in a seven-card stud battle against fellow short stack Craig Chait. Semin was all in on third for his last 130,000 with / , and he ended up catching / , failing to improve on the early pair of jacks. Chait started with / , and from there he pulled and an unneeded river for the knockout.
Chait briefly surged from there but eventually drifted back and ended up bowing out in fifth ($96,378) some two hours of play later. Chait also busted in a stud hand, with Ospina delivering the knockout. Chait was all in for his last 355,000 on third street and started with / . Ospina's completed hand was / / , for an eight-seven low and a pair of fours for the high. Through sixth street, Chait added , and he had plenty of outs to the chop, but a blank river sent him to the rail.
Clements' run at a second bracelet this series (and fourth overall) ended in fourth spot for $132,288. Clement's exit came in a hand of hold'em when he was all in for his last 205,000 before the flop. Sammartino and Mueller were also in the hand, and they checked down what turned out to be a dry board. Clements had , which was better than Mueller's but not Sammartino's , and the final was trimmed to three with Sammarino still holding a healthy lead.
Three-handed play saw Ospina surge into the lead with some strong and aggressive plays, but eventually it was Mueller who took control. With the blinds rising, both Ospina and Sammartino ended up on short stacks. Ospina doubled up once to gain a couple of big bets, and then Sammartino busted in a hand of stud hi-lo against Mueller. Sammartino was all in on a third with / , and he pulled and an unshown river card – Mueller had already sealed the hand by that point by making trip nines – so they were already shaking hands as the final cards were dealt.
Ospina's bustout in second came just moments later, also in stud hi-lo. The final hand turned out to be a battle between two high-only hands, with Ospina all in on sixth street. At that point he had / , while Mueller had / . Mueller opened his last card first, and it was the for a flush to seal the win. Ospina then turned up his meaningless to officially end the event.
Event #29, $10,000 H.O.R.S.E., drew 172 entries, building a $1,616,800 prize pool. 26 players cashed, with a min-cash worth $15,176.
Event #29 cashers included Phil Galfond (8th, $41,625), Marco Johnson (9th, $32,683), Anthony Zinno (10th, $32,683), Michael Ross (11th, $26,170), Brian Hastings (12th, $26,170), Tom Koral (14th, $21,380), and Jennifer Harman (16th, $17,826).
Click here for Full Results.
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1st: Greg Mueller, $425,347
2nd: Daniel Ospina, $262,882
3rd: Dario Sammartino, $184,854
4th: Scott Clements, $132,288
5th: Craig Chait, $96,378
6th: Mikhail Semin, $71,505
7th: Matthew Gonzales, $54,043
8th: Phil Galfond, $41,625