Wednesday, July 5, 2023 5:03 PM Local Time
Sam Soverel Goes From Virtual Felt to Real WSOP Gold in the $5,300 Online No-Limit Hold'em High Roller Championship
Sam Soverel spent Monday night playing in one of the live high-stakes cash games to which he is accustomed. At the same time, he was taking to the virtual felt under the name "ApesSonIMHO," again competing against some of poker's elite on WSOP.com.
Two days later, it ended in a second World Series of Poker bracelet for the Florida native. Soverel prevailed over a field of 408 total entries and defeated Hungary's Gergely Kulcsar heads-up at the live final table of Online Event #13: $5,300 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller Championship to capture the $393,516 top prize and another piece of coveted gold jewelry.
The win was a long-time coming for Soverel. He earned his first bracelet in a $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event in 2016. In the seven years since Soverel has had near-miss followed by near-miss. He had made eight final tables, finishing in the top five spots five different times. Four of them came in events with a buy-in of $50,000 or greater. Soverel was establishing himself as one of the best high-rollers in the poker world, but further WSOP glory eluded him until today.
Soverel was in his element today when the six-handed final table began at noon local time. He isn't an online player and admits he hadn't played online in nearly three years before this tournament. He likes the live aspect of poker, of being able to look at his opponents in person.
"I much prefer live. I hadn't played online since late-2020," the new WSOP champion said following his win. "Honestly, I don't really trust the online environment. Live's fun. It's more social. It's way better to me."
Soverel's win today pushes his career earnings past $22,000,000 and moves him up to 31st in the all-time ranking. Despite his unquestioned success against the elites of the game, Soverel admits there isn't one thing that sets him apart in these tournaments. "I just play a lot of them," he said.
Final Table Results
|1||Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||United States||$393,516|
|2||Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||Hungary||$284,784|
|3||Yuval "Larrybird84" Bronshtein||Israel||$207,264|
|4||Aleksejs "APonakov" Ponakovs||Latvia||$150,144|
|5||Lingkun "CN_23" Lu||United States||$109,344|
|6||Ethan "Rampunts" Yau||United States||$80,784|
Final Table Action
Soverel came into the final table with a chip-leading stack of 2,875,000 and was facing a star-studded lineup that included two-time bracelet winners Yuval Bronshtein and Aleksejs Ponakovs, as well as popular vlogger and high-stakes cash game player Ethan "Rampage" Yau.
But it was Kulcsar, who began the final table with just 525,000, good for 11 big blinds, who made an early move up the leaderboard. He doubled up with aces against the tens of Lingkun Lu, then picked up jacks and eliminated Yau in sixth place.
Kulcsar cracked kings with a turned straight to send Lu out in fifth place as he moved up to second on the leaderboard behind Soverel. Ponakovs soon followed to the payout desk, calling off his last 555,000 with pocket threes against the tens of Soverel.
Kulcsar busted his third opponent at the final table when he moved all in from the small blind and Bronshtein called for his last 1,280,000 with king-six. Kulcsar flopped a set of sevens and dodged Bronshtein's straight draw to send Bronshtein out in third and set up a heads-up duel against Soverel.
Kulcsar led 5,690,000 to 4,510,000 at the start of heads-up, but it was Soverel who struck the first, and ultimately decisive, blow. Kulcsar flopped top pair with ace-king and bet 710,000 on the turn. Soverel, who turned threes and deuces, called before improving to a full house on the river. Kulcsar bet another 1,950,000 and Soverel now moved all in for 3,825,000. Kulcsar spent a few minutes in the tank before mucking as Soverel opened a wide lead.
It wouldn't take much longer before he got the rest of Kulcsar's chips. On the final hand, Kulcsar shoved for 1,680,000 with ten-nine of diamonds and Soverel called with ace-eight. Kulcsar picked up straight and flush draws on the turn, but bricked the river as Soverel finally had his long-awaited second bracelet.
For Kulcsar, it was a bittersweet ending to a spectacular performance at the final table. He had 11 WSOP cashes dating back to 2018, but today was his first appearance under the bright lights of a final table. The $284,784 he earned for his runner-up finish is more than triple his previous best cash. Kulcsar has had more success on the virtual felt, with more than $4,000,000 in career earnings.
It was no surprise that he thrived in an online tournament, but today he was in Soverel's element of a live final table. Soverel had the experience and the cards to come out on top. The tough field was no problem for him: this is what Soverel does every day.
That concludes PokerNews' coverage of Online Event #13: $5,300 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller Championed. Stay tuned for more coverage of the Main Event and other bracelet events as the 2023 WSOP soon draws to a close.
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 3:59 PM Local Time
Gergely Kulcsar Eliminated In 2nd Place ($284,784)
Gergely Kulcsar moved all in on the button for 1,680,000 and Sam Soverel quickly called in the big blind to put Kulcsar at risk.
When the flop came , the ace-high for Soverel was still well in the lead. The turn, however, came the giving Kulcsar some hope with a flush draw and straight draw. The bricked off on the river and Kulcsar was forced to settle for a runner-up finish.
|Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||10,200,000||1,200,000 |
|Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||0||-1,200,000 |
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 3:52 PM Local Time
Kulcsar Goes For a Bluff
Gergely Kulcsar limped in with and Sam Soverel checked with .
The flop came and Soverel checked over to Kulcsar, who bet 120,000. Soverel put in a raise to 265,000 with his trip jacks and Kulcsar now three-bet to 410,000.
Soverel reraised to 600,000 and Kulcsar paused for a moment before folding.
|Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||9,000,000||1,130,000 |
|Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||1,200,000||-1,130,000 |
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 3:38 PM Local Time
Kulcsar Hits the Turn to Get Some Back
Gergely Kulcsar limped in with and Sam Soverel checked .
Both players checked the flop before Soverel led out for 175,000 on the turn. Kulcsar, who made two pair, called to see the . river.
Soverel now checked and Kulcsar fired out 550,000. Soverel gave it some thought before mucking.
|Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||7,870,000||-175,000 |
|Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||2,330,000||175,000 |0
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 3:34 PM Local Time
Level 35 started
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 3:29 PM Local Time
Soverel Check-Jams River
Gergely Kulcsar opened to 200,000 on the button with and Sam Soverel defended the big blind with .
The flop came and Soverel check-called a bet of 175,000 from Kulcsar. On the turn Soverel made two pair and checked his option to Kulcsar who tossed out a bet of 710,000. Soverel made the call and the pair saw the river, improving Soverel to a full house.
Soverel set the trap with another check and Kulcsar bet 1,950,000. Soverel moved all in for 3,825,000 total and Kulcsar went deep in the tank. After close to two minutes, Kulcsar laid down his ace-king and the massive pot was sent to Soverel.
|Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||8,045,000||4,305,000 |
|Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||2,155,000||-4,315,000 |
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 3:06 PM Local Time
Gergely Kulcsar and Sam Soverel are heading off on a 15-minute break.
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 3:06 PM Local Time
Kulcsar Widens His Lead
Sam Soverel limped in with , then called when Gergely Kulcsar raised to 425,000 holding .
The flop came and Kulcsar continued for 350,000. Soverel called with king-high as the came on the turn.
Kulcsar tanked for nearly two minutes before he fired out another 750,000. Soverel quickly laid his hand down as Kulcsar began to open up a big lead in the heads-up match.
|Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||6,470,000||780,000 |
|Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||3,740,000||-770,000 |
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 3:00 PM Local Time
Yuval Bronshtein Eliminated In 3rd Place ($207,264)
The action folded to Gergely Kulcsar in the small blind who moved all in, covering the 1,280,000 remaining for Yuval Bronshtein in the big blind, who made the call for his tournament life.
Kulcsar was well ahead, and when the flop came , the flopped set put Kulcsar even further in the lead. On the turn Bronshtein picked up a gut-shot straight draw, however, when the river fell the it was the end of the road for Bronshtein who was eliminated in third place.
|Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||5,690,000||1,280,000 |
|Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||4,510,000||0 |
|Yuval "Larrybird84" Bronshtein||0||-1,280,000 |0
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 2:59 PM Local Time
Soverel Can't Bluff Kulcsar
Yuval Bronshtein folded the button before Sam Soverel raised to 275,000 out of the small blind with . Gergely Kulcsar defended his big blind with .
The flop came and Soverel bet 300,000. Kulcsar called with his nut flush draw as the fell on the turn.
Soverel fired out another 600,000 and Kulcsar again stuck around to see the river. Soverel now slowed down and checked, and Kulcsar checked behind and took the pot to draw nearly level with Soverel atop the leaderboard,
|Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||4,510,000||-1,300,000 |
|Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||4,410,000||1,590,000 |
|Yuval "Larrybird84" Bronshtein||1,280,000||-290,000 |
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 2:42 PM Local Time
Level 34 started
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 2:42 PM Local Time
Aleksejs Ponakovs Eliminated In 4th Place ($150,144)
Aleksejs Ponakovs opened to 550,000 from under the gun, leaving only 555,000 behind. It folded to Sam Soverel in the small blind who shoved all in, covering the whole table and Ponakovs put in the rest of his chips to make the call.
Ponakovs was in need of help, but when the board ran out , it was the tens for Soverel that held to send Ponakovs out in fourth place.
|Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||5,810,000||1,105,000 |
|Aleksejs "Aponakov" Ponakovs||0||-1,105,000 |
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 2:40 PM Local Time
Lingkun Lu Eliminated in 5th Place ($109,344)
Gergely Kulcsar shoved all in from the cutoff and Lingkun Lu called in the small blind for his last 680,000.
Lu had woken up with kings and was a big favorite to double up yet again as the flop came . Kulcsar's rail began chanting for an ace or a nine that would give him a straight, and they erupted in celebration at the sight of the turn.
The river came the and Lu was sent to the rail with his cracked kings.
|Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||4,705,000||-245,000 |
|Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||2,820,000||710,000 |
|Yuval "Larrybird84" Bronshtein||1,570,000||-200,000 |
|Aleksejs "Aponakov" Ponakovs||1,105,000||140,000 |
|Lingkun "CN_23" Lu||0||-840,000 |
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 2:22 PM Local Time
Soverel Takes Multi-Way Pot
Sam Soverel opened to 160,000 from under the gun with and both Lingkun Lu with and Yuval Bronshtein holding made the call from the blinds.
The flop came and action checked to Soverel who continued for 100,000. Both Lu and Bronshtein quickly folded and another pot was sent to the chip leader.
|Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||4,950,000||1,005,000 |
|Yuval "Larrybird84" Bronshtein||1,770,000||-480,000 |
|Lingkun "CN_23" Lu||840,000||-160,000 |0
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 2:14 PM Local Time
Ethan Yau Eliminated in 6th Place ($80,784)
Gergely Kulcsar raised to 175,000 from under the gun as action folded to Ethan Yau in the big blind, who moved all in for 500,000. Kulcsar called to put him at risk.
Yau was looking to pair his ace but found no help on the board as "Rampage" became the first casualty of the final table. Kulcsar, meanwhile, who began the final table at the bottom of the chip counts, has moved up to second with that bustout.
|Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||2,110,000||340,000 |
|Ethan "Rampunts" Yau||0||-700,000 |
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 2:12 PM Local Time
Lu Finds Another Double Up
Yuval Bronshtein opened to 225,000 from under the gun and it folded to Lingkun Lu in the big blind who moved all in for 440,000, which Bronshtein called.
Bronshtein was slightly in the lead, but when the board ran out , it was the turned straight for Lu that scored back-to-back double ups.
|Yuval "Larrybird84" Bronshtein||2,250,000||-180,000 |
|Lingkun "CN_23" Lu||1,000,000||480,000 |
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 2:05 PM Local Time
Lu Doubles His Short Stack
Lingkun Lu was left with 200,000 after doubling up Gergely Kulcsar and moved all in from under the gun. Action folded to Aleksejs Ponakovs in the big blind who called.
Neither player connected with the flop, while Lu made two pair on the turn. The river came the and Lu doubled up.
|Aleksejs "Aponakov" Ponakovs||965,000||-210,000 |
|Lingkun "CN_23" Lu||520,000||320,000 |
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 2:04 PM Local Time
Kulcsar Scores Double With Rockets
Gergely Kulcsar opened to 160,000 from under the gun and it folded to Lingkun "CN_23" Lu in the cutoff who moved all in for 985,000. The rest of the table got out of the way and Kulcsar snap-called for his last 785,000 total.
Kulcsar was in great shape, and when the board ran out , it was the aces that held up to score a full double up for Kulcsar and leave Lu short.
|Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||1,770,000||985,000 |
|Lingkun "CN_23" Lu||200,000||-965,000 |
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 1:56 PM Local Time
Level 33 started
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 1:51 PM Local Time
Updated Chip Counts
|Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel||3,945,000||-155,000 |
|Yuval "Larrybird84" Bronshtein||2,430,000||120,000 |
|Aleksejs "Aponakov" Ponakovs||1,175,000||-125,000 |
|Lingkun "CN_23" Lu||1,165,000||10,000 |
|Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar||785,000||10,000 |
|Ethan "Rampunts" Yau||700,000||-390,000 |