Florianopolis, Brazil's Dzivielevski bests 401-entry field in mixed split-pot tourney

24 June 2019 (Las Vegas) – Brazilian poker pro Yuri Dzivielevski has won Event #51 of the 2019 WSOP, $2,500 Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo 8 or Better.

Dzivielevski, 27, a former musician business owner and dedicated online player from Florianopolis, Brazil, bagged this event's $213,750 winner's payday along with his first career WSOP gold bracelet. The big payday more than doubles his lifetime Series winnings to just over $420,000, which he's earned in 18 cashes to date.

Dzivielevski came from during heads-up play against Plano, Texas's Michael Thompson. Thompson, a 54-year-old businessman whose only previous WSOP cash was in this same event one year ago, earned $132,113 as the runner-up.

Third place and $89,744 went to Moscow, Russia's Denis Strebkob, who nearly bagged a title along with his first-ever WSOP cash.

Another player from Moscow, Andrey Zaichenko, placed fourth for $62,176. New Jersey's Dan Zack pocketed $43,950 for fifth, while London, England's New Philip Long finished sixth for $31,710. Zaichenko, Zack and Long were the three prior bracelet winners who reached this event's final table.

Dzivielevski led for a good portion of Event #51's final table, though he was pushed to the brink of elimination early in his heads-up duel against Thompson, only to storm back to the win. Nor was it his first time clawing back from the edge, as happened earlier in the final.

“It was an amazing run,” he said. “I ran so good. I was down to two big bets, I think, or a bet and a half, and then I started winning every pot.

“I had been running really bad, but starting with one and a half big blinds, I ran very, very well, winning every pot, winning a lot of pots with no showdown. Then when I had three million, or about half the chips in play, I was super comfortable. Everyone else was super short and I started to put pressure [on them] and everything worked.”

Dzivielevski applied his pressure selectively, however, being one of the tighter players seated at this final. He explained his strategy: “I have a lot of experience in no-limit hold'em tournaments, and I have a lot of experience with [statistical models], so I knew that the chips I could lose weren't worth the same as the chips when I win. That was my strategy – attack very specfic spots, but play tight.” The tactic kept him from running bust at his lowest points and gave him a chance to claw back into contention at several points over this event's final two days.

Dzivielevski also had an advantage at this very internationally-flavored final table: He was familiar with most of the other pros from his online wars, and as luck would have it, those were the players who reached the final with the shortest stacks, thus allowing him to exert more pressure.

This Brazilian pro cuts a unique figure at the WSOP. A former musician, he frequently meditates as a way to prepare himself for the poker grind, and he can be seen on occasion in the Rio hallways working on that inner calm. “It was like six years ago,” that he began to meditate, and he added, “I think it's perfect for poker players. It fits so perfectly for us because we have a lot of information at the table. It's super important to know yourself.”

Day 3 in this mixed hi-lo tournament began with 12 players still in the running, though the field was quickly whittled to an official eight-player final when California's Gerard Rechnitzer busted. Eight became seven not long after when Canadian native Daniel Ratigan hit the rail. Ratigan busted in a hand of Omaha hi-lo, getting his last 80,000 in before the flop, with both Denis Strebkob and Andrey Zaichenko also in the hand. The other two players checked it down until the river of a         board, when Strebkob bet, Zaichenko folded, and Strebkob showed his     . The trip eights were good enough to top Ratigan's      for kings up, sending Ratigan to collect $17,584 for eighth.

Seven-handed play becama a mini-marathon that stretched into the evening hours even as several players' stacks ran short. The logjam broke when another Canadian, Alex Livingston, exited in seventh ($23,362). Livingston's night ended in a hand of stud hi-lo that also include both Dzivielevskii and Strebkob, with Strebkob and Livingston betting Dzivielevskii out of the hand on sixth. Livingston was all in himself on seventh, and he finished with    /      /   for a pair of sevens, while Strebkob had    /      /   for two pair and the knockout.

The UK's Philip Long busted in sixth after the game switched back to Omaha hi-lo. London, England's Long collected a $31,710 payday after betting every street on an       board and being called all the way by Thompson. Long showed     , while Thompson had     . The   river left Thompson ahead both ways, and the scoop sent Long to the cashier's desk.

New Jersey's Daniel Zack made another run at becoming this WSOP's first double-bracelet winner, but his effort ended with a $43,950 fifth-place payday. In his last hand, playing Omaha hi-lo, Zack was all in before the flop against Zaichenko. Zack had      to Zaichenko's     . A     flop gave Zaichenko a flush and left Zack drawing thin, and a   gave Zaichenko a low as well and locked in the flush for the high. A meaningless   completed the hand.

Zaichenko himself busted next, however, after the game switched back to stud hi-lo. Zaichenko and Dzivielevski raised and reraised on third street, with Zaichenko the   and Dzivielevski the  , and from there on, the complete hands rolled out as follows:

Zaichenko –    /      /  
Dzivielevski –    /      /  

Dzivielevski's two pair gave him both halves of the pot and left Zaichenko with a $62,176 fourth-place finish.

A short-stacked Strebkob busted in third, though not after hanging on through numerous chops in this split-pot format. Strebkob's fortune finally ran out in a hand of Omaha hi-lo, all in from the big blind against Dzivielevski. Strebkob had      to Dzivielevski's     , but the board ran out         to give Dzivielevski both halves, two pair for high and a seven-five low, for the knockout scoop.

Thompson jumped to an early lead against Dzivielevski before Dzivielevski scooped three straight big pots to all but seal the matter. The end came in another Omaha hi-lo hand, where the pair raised and re-raised pre-flop to leave Thompson all in. He had     , and Dzivielevski had     . The board ran out        , with Dzivielevski making a clinching full house on the turn.

Event #51, $2,500 Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo 8 or Better, attracted 401 entries to create a $902,250 prize pool. 61 players cashed and a min-cash was worth $3,727.

Event #51 cashers also included Shaun Deeb (13th, $8,565), Jesse Martin (19th, $5,954), Tom Schneider (21st, $5,954), John Cernuto (27th, $5,149), Steve Wolansky (29th, $5,149), Roland Israelashvili (31st, $5,149), Ron Ware (40th, $4,566), Eli Elezra (42nd, $4,155), Chris Bell (44th,$4,155), and Gary Benson (47th, $4,155).

Click here for Full Results.
Click here for live updates from Event #51.

Final-Table Payouts:

1st: Yuri Dzivielevski, $213,750
2nd: Michael Thompson, $132,113
3rd: Denis Strebkob, $89,744
4th: Andrey Zaichenko, $62,176
5th: Daniel Zack, $43,950
6th: Philip Long, $31,710
7th: Alex Livingston, $23,362
8th: Daniel Ratigan, $17,584