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2015 46th Annual World Series of Poker

Thursday, June 18, 2015 to Saturday, June 20, 2015

Event #38: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em

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  • Buy-in: $3,000
  • Prizepool: $2,699,970
  • Entries: 989
  • Remaining: 0


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Sunday, June 21, 2015 7:38 PM Local Time

EVENT #38: $3,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em
PRIZE POOL: $2,699,970

Thiago Nishijima Achieves His Poker Goooooooaaaaaaallllllll

Brazilian Poker Pro Wins Wildest Final Table of the 2015 WSOP in $3K NLHE Event

Sao Paolo Man Becomes Third Brazilian WSOP Gold Bracelet Winner in History


Name: Thiago Nishijima
Birthplace: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Age: 36
Current Residence: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Marital Status: Engaged
Children: None
Profession: Professional Poker Player
Number of WSOP Cashes: 17
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 3
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories: 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 3rd Place (2010)
Total WSOP Earnings: $1,060,481
Personal Facts: Nishijima becomes the third Brazilian gold bracelet winner in history, following Alexandre Gomes (2008) and Andre Akkari (2011)

[Note: All statistics above include the results of this tournament]

Thiago Nishijima, from Sao Paolo, Brazil, is the latest gold bracelet winner at the 2015 World Series of Poker. However, he had a little extra help from his friends.

The Brazilian national won the $3,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which drew a stacked field of 989 entrants. From the $2,699,970 prize pool, Nishijima collected the lion’s share of the huge pot -- which amounted $546,843. This marked not only the biggest payday of his career, but the pinnacle of his accomplishments in the game of poker.

“This is the happiest day of my life, no doubt,” an ecstatic Nishijima said afterward, as he was continually swarmed by dozens of friends and supporters who rushed onto the stage in a giant embrace of hugs and tears. “Having all of them with me here and thousands back in Brazil who were watching on online was like having the whole country behind me.”

Given the tough lineup and generous structures favorable to players, it was no surprise that this tournament originally scheduled for three days extended into overtime as a fourth day was added. Five players from the original final table of nine players returned to the Rio Las Vegas on a Sunday afternoon to compete for a gold bracelet and the title, which was won by Nishijimain amidst whirlwind of big hands and unpredictable momentum shifts that lasted nearly four hours.

Six different nations were represented among the final nine – including Austria, Brazil, England, Greece, Taiwan, and the United States (with four players). Arguably, the biggest name among the finalists was Jesse Sylvia, best known as the runner-up in the 2012 WSOP Main Event Championship. Sylvia came close mighty once again to a first career gold bracelet victory, but fell short by finishing in third place.

Having a Brazilian player at the final table certainly added to the festive atmosphere. Dozens of Brazilian supporters, waving national flags and singing songs, made the ESPN Main Stage closely resemble a World Cup match, and Nishijima didn’t disappointment them in achieving his poker gooooooooaaaaaaaaallllllllll.

“This is truly the dream of every poker player in the world,” Nishijima said. “I have to thank all of the Brazilians….having them all here makes a big difference. With my confidence, with wanting to play good, and not wanting to let them down. I know they helped me to win today.”

Indeed, the crowd nearly overwhelmed the action taking place at the table. So enthusiastic was the audience of perhaps 100 South Americans that part of the stage flooring began to sag from the strain of supporting such a huge mob. All the players at the final table took the noisy merriment in stride, as everyone seemed to understand that Brazilians have a special way of supporting their athletes and stars, which arguably has no rival by any other nation in the world. Whether soccer or poker, the level of enthusiasm was the same.

Sotirios Koutoupas finished as the runner up. He began heads-up play from a 2 to 1 chip disadvantage and simply couldn’t overcome either the spirit or the good fortune of an opponent that seemed destined for victory. Koutoupas’ consolation prize came to $338,414.

Thiago Nishijima is a 36-year-old poker pro. This marked his 17th time to cash in a WSOP event, dating back to 2009. Previously, Nishijima finished third, collecting $315,828 in an event held in 2010, which had been his best finish to this point. Now, with a victory and nearly double that in prize money, Nishijima crossed the $1 million mark in series earnings.

With this victory, Nishijima became only the third Brazilian poker player to win a WSOP gold bracelet in history. The first was Alexandre Gomes (2008). The second was Andre Akkari (2011).

Following Nishijima’s finish in the top spot, the descending order of results was as follows:

Second Place: Sotirios Koutoupas, from Greece, finished in 2nd place. He’s a 32-year-old self-employed part-time poker player who posted his first cash ever at the WSOP. The $338,414 payout made for quite a memorable debut.

Third Place: Jesse Sylvia, from Las Vegas, NV took 3rd place. Now with close to $6 million in WSOP winnings, the bulk of which was earned as the Main Event Championship runner up three years, at 29, Sylvia seems primed, if not overdue for a win. He’s now cashed 17 times since his debut showing at the WSOP back in 2011. The prize money he collected for this finish -- $211,731 – seemed to be the last thing on Sylvia’s mind as he walked away in disappointment.

Fourth Place: Sam Razavi, a 34-year-old British poker pro now living in Cebu City, The Philippines, is one of Asia’s top tournament players. He’s won the Asian Poker Tour (APT) “Player of the Year” three times, including back to back years. However, Razavi had yet to make a WSOP final table until this occasion. He picked up $153,682 for 4th place.

Fifth Place: Yun Fan, from Taipei, Taiwan, ended up in 5th place. This marked Fan’s fifth time to cash at this year’s series, which paid $113,452.

Sixth Place: Alexander Freund, from Vienna, Austria came in 6th. He’s a 27-year-old student. Freund cashed for the second time at this year’s series, which paid $85,049.

Seventh Place: Alex Keating, a 27-year-old poker player from San Jose, CA has now cashed 8 times at the WSOP. This was his first final table appearance, which paid out $64,691 for finishing 7th.

Eighth Place: Duncan McCallum, a Boston-area poker player who runs a charitable foundation, made quite a showing in his first WSOP cash, by making the final table and going out 8th. McCallum, who previously cashed in a WSOP Circuit event at Foxwoods two years ago, picked up the highest cash prize yet of his amateur poker career, $49,868.

Ninth Place: Steve Brecher, from Reno, NV has been playing on the tournament circuit for many years. He has numerous WPT deep runs, and has enjoyed much success at the WSOP, including 17 cashes. However, he’s yet to win a gold bracelet. Brecher’s wait will be extended following his 9th-place showing in this tournament, which paid $38,960.

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS: Some of the more notable players who cashed included former gold bracelet winners – Harry Thomas (14th), Eric Baldwin (15th), Barry Hutter (31st), Jason Lester (49th), Brian Rast (52nd), John Reading (76th), Tristan Wade (82nd), John Gale (86th), and Chris Drombrowski (92nd).


For this event’s results, visit:

For Thiago Nishijima’s official player profile page, visit:

For the Live Reporting Log for this event, please visit:

For photos from this event, please visit:

For official winner photo, please visit:

For the live stream archive of this event, please visit:

(Note: Will appear 48 hours after event concludes)

Sunday, June 21, 2015 5:13 PM Local Time

Thiago Nishijima

Thiago Nishijima calls from the small blind and Sotirios Koutoupas moves all in from the big blind. Nishijima double checks his cards and calls and turns over   .

"I just look at one," Koutoupas says as he reveals the   which is covering his other card. He moves it quickly out of the way to show the   and goes "aaahhhhhh" when he realizes he is behind. The Brazilian rail goes crazy when they see that their countryman is in the lead. Nishijima gives a pump of his fist.

The flop comes     which gives an inside straight draw to Koutoupas as well as some chop outs. The turn is the   and only one card separates Nishijima from the bracelet.

The river is the   and Nishijima's nine kicker plays. He runs to his rail and gets mobbed. The Brazilian crowd is so frenzied they break the rail and security guards rush over to hold it up and prevent injury. Nishijima seeks out Koutoupas and embraces him and the Greek smiles and takes in the scene.

Nishijima rushes back to his friends and gives an emphatic winning fist pump as he grabs a Brazilian flag and celebrates. He does a quick interview with Brazilian television crews and then kneels quietly amidst the chaos and says a silent prayer. Then it's back into the noise as he walks up the steps and is swarmed by every one who is within reach. Tears roll down Nishijima's eyes as he is obviously overwhelmed by the moment. He walks over and looks at the bracelet, holds it up, and smiles the biggest smile he's probably ever had.

Congratulations to Thiago Nishijima for winning Event #38: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em, his first WSOP bracelet, and $546,843. Sotirios Koutoupas finishes in second place for $338,414.

Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:59 PM Local Time
Sotirios Koutoupas shoves all in, and Thiago Nishijima shakes his head and mucks his hand.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:59 PM Local Time
Thiago Nishijima calls from the small blind, and Sotirios Koutoupas checks the big. The flop comes    , and Koutoupas check folds to a bet of 225,000.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:58 PM Local Time
Sotirios Koutoupas shoves all in, and takes down the pot.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:57 PM Local Time
Thiago Nishijima returns the favor and gives Sotirios Koutoupas a walk.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:57 PM Local Time
Thiago Nishijima gets a walk in the big blind, and shows   .
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:56 PM Local Time
Thiago Nishijima limps from the small blind, and Sotirios Koutoupas checks his option. After a flop of    , Koutoupas check folds to a bet of 200,000.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:51 PM Local Time
Sotorios Koutoupas calls from the small blind, Thiago Nishijima moves all in from the big blind, and Koutoupas folds.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:50 PM Local Time
Thiago Nishijima moves all in and Sotirios Koutoupas folds.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:50 PM Local Time
Level: 34
Blinds: 100000/200000
Ante: 30000
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:49 PM Local Time
Sotirios Koutoupas moves all in and Thiago Nishijima folds.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:49 PM Local Time
Thiago Nishijima moves all in and Sotirios Koutoupas folds.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:48 PM Local Time

Sotirios Koutoupas raises to 350,000 and Thiago Nishijima calls from the big blind. The flop is     and Nishijima check-calls a 325,000 bet from Koutoupas.

The turn is the   and Nishijima checks. Koutoupas bets 750,000. Nishijima looks at his chips, the board, then his cards, and calls.

The river is the   and both players check. Nishijima shows    for a pair of aces and Koutoupas mucks.

Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:42 PM Local Time
Thiago Nishijima bumps it up to 350,000, and Sotirios Koutoupas defends his big blind. The flop comes out    , and Koutoupas check calls a bet of 350,000. From there, both players check the   turn and the   river, and Koutoupas shows   . Nishijima shows   , but it's not good enough to take half the pot.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:40 PM Local Time

Thiago Nishijima makes it 350,000 to go, and Sotirios Koutoupas asks for the all-in button from the dealer. Nishijima gets a count, then quickly folds when he gets the number.

Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:39 PM Local Time
Sotirios Koutoupas moves all in, and Thaigo Nishijima folds   .
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:38 PM Local Time
Thaigo Nishijima makes it 350,000, and Sotirios Koutoupas folds his cards.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:37 PM Local Time
Sotirios Koutoupas makes it 350,000 to go, and Thiago Nishijima calls. The flop comes    , and both players check. The same happens on the   turn, and the river is the  .  Two more checks prompts Nishijima to show   , and it's good enough to take the pot.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:32 PM Local Time
Thiago Nishajima raises to 350,000 and wins the blinds when Sotirios Koutoupas folds.