Saturday, June 22, 2019 5:15 PM Local Time
Stephen Chidwick Captures First WSOP Bracelet in Event #45: $25K PLO High Roller ($1,618,417)
Stephen Chidwick has done it. After 52 previous World Series of Poker cashes and 13 final tables without capturing an elusive bracelet, the British poker pro from Deal finally claimed his first piece of gold. It came with a hefty payday of $1,618,417 after he bested 278 runners in the 2019 WSOP Event #45: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller. It was the biggest prize awarded during the 2019 World Series of Poker thus far and boosted his total live clashes to nearly $25 million, good for 18th spot on the all-time money list.
Following the trend of rising attendance numbers in each of the previous four editions of the tournament, the field was 48 bigger than last year and set a new record. The top 42 spots took home a portion of the massive $6,602,500 prize pool.
"I try really hard to detach the bracelet and everything around it. I have been here many times and I had a lot of heartbreak over the years, too," said Chidwick. "So I am just trying to put that as much out of my mind as possible. I guess I didn't really start to think that until the big aces hand that I won that left him [James Chen] with ten big blinds."
Chidwick defeated James Chen in heads-up play. Chen was also seeking his maiden WSOP bracelet and the first for his home country of Taiwan. A seven-figure payday of $1,000,253 will ease the pain and Chen will certainly try to take another shot at gold in the upcoming Event #52: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship.
"It means a lot, it feels great. It is obviously a great one to do it in and I am in shock, a little bit," Chidwick said in the interview after his victory not even five hours after he had taken a seat in the Thunderdome.
"I had so many people supporting me for the last 10 years since I have been grinding so hard to win a bracelet and I know I have a lot of people in my corner that are really happy for me and that means a lot," Chidwick added.
Several weeks into the series already, it was in fact the first event Chidwick played as he spent the previous two weeks with his wife and two-month-old daughter in Paris. Upon arriving the evening of Day 1, and with registration for the tournament still open, Chidwick entered at the very last minute in the first break of Day 2 and that decision proved to be golden.
"It is super ironic. Usually I play like every single tournament. I play a final table, bust and then register a $1,500 Stud immediately. Now I come here halfway through and haven't played any of the other tournaments, and win the first one I play. That's pretty funny."
While Chidwick has cashes in several different poker variants including pot-limit Omaha, he doesn't consider it as his strongest game.
"I don't think PLO is necessarily one of my stronger games, but I felt really happy how I played and everything went my way, I had a lot of fun."
The fun for Chidwick kicked off in a key hand against Alex Epstein when he called the shove of his fellow 2019 WSOP bracelet winner with top pair and the nut flush draw, while Epstein was putting his hopes on a naked nut flush draw only.
"That one propelled me to nearly half of the chips in play and that was an important pot for sure," said Chidwick. "I thought a flush draw was possible, he could have a hand kinda similar to mine like ace-jack-ten-nine type of thing. Obviously, he can have some strong hands that I am in bad shape against too, but I thought with all the money in the pot already I had the right price to call."
Once Epstein was gone in fifth place, Chidwick never surrendered his chip lead and it took just over an hour from there to cross the WSOP bracelet off his bucket list. The usual grind may not necessarily be on his mind for the remainder of the summer schedule in Las Vegas, however.
"I kind of play it by ear, see how my wife and baby are doing and prioritize them," he explained. "I love playing tournaments, so I am sure you will see me playing more but I have no plans to play everything."
Matthew Gonzales recorded his seventh cash of the series at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, and his second final table run came with a payday of $699,364. The final day also included WSOP bracelet winners Robert Mizrachi and Erik Seidel, along with Wasim "Wes" Korkis.
Final Table Results
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in USD)|
|1||Stephen Chidwick||United Kingdom||$1,618,417|
|3||Matthew Gonzales||United States||$699,364|
|4||Robert Mizrachi||United States||$497,112|
|5||Alex Epstein||United States||$359,320|
|6||Erik Seidel||United States||$264,186|
|7||Wasim Korkis||United States||$197,637|
|8||Ka Kwan Lau||Spain||$150,483|
Chidwick entered the final day with seven players remaining in the top spot, and the entire experience was all too familiar for the Brit, who had been in the spotlight for several years with consistent deep runs.
"I worked pretty hard to keep constantly getting better," he said. "I don't think that the success I had over the last couple of years is proportional to how much better I am playing. The cards are falling my way in some of the big spots and that's kind of what it takes to win tournaments."
The cards certainly fell his way en route to the final table when he soared into the lead. The early action saw Epstein and Chen on the rise, while Gonzales scored a vital quadruple up to get back into contention after his aces held up against the nut flush draw of Chidwick in a four-way pot. It would be the only hiccup for the Brit, who continued to dominate with his usual aggression.
Ultimately, it was Korkis that became the first casualty when is queens were cracked by Epstein and Seidel failed to improve with queens against the kings of Chen to follow soon after. Epstein nearly closed the gap to Chidwick, but two clashes with Chen sent the Event #8: $10,000 Short Deck No-Limit Hold'em champion into the middle of the pack before his flush draw bricked off against Chidwick in one of the key hands of the short-lived final table.
Mizrachi was going for bracelet number five, but he found his nemesis in Chen when he first got bluffed, then ended up second-best with set-over-set and Chidwick turned a flush to send Mizrachi out in fourth place on his second final table of the summer.
"The summer is going great, but if you don't win a bracelet you are never happy," Mizrachi said in the interview after his elimination. "It doesn't matter if it's in a big event. I tried my hardest."
Down to the final three, Gonzales was the shortest stack, yet he secured several pay jumps after having entered the day on just five and a half big blinds. It was no surprise that Gonzales walked off the stage with a smile on the face when his bottom pair, straight and flush draw didn't get there against Chidwick.
There was one further motivation for Gonzales to hit the tables hard his summer despite initially had planned to just come for the cash game action.
"Daniel Negreanu picked me for his fantasy team and I committed to a full schedule and here I am," he said. "We have done a lot of work with Daniel and he said, 'If you play, I will draft you for a dollar.' The reply of Gonzales was obvious: 'If you draft me for a dollar, that is the best bet you will make.'"
Seven cashes midway through the summer and two final tables certainly speak for itself.
The heads-up match was a brief affair, and while Chen managed to close the gap somewhat, his hopes were all but destroyed when he paid off three streets when Chidwick had top set of aces for the nuts to all but seal his fate. A couple of hands later it was over and Chidwick earned the bracelet he was going for so many times previously.
While the PLO High Roller champion has been determined, the four-card lovers won't have to wait to showcase their talents at the tables as Event #52: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship has already kicked off with more than 300 entries. Stay tuned to the PokerNews live updates throughout the summer who will be next to scoop a coveted gold bracelet right here in Las Vegas!
Saturday, June 22, 2019 4:38 PM Local Time
James Chen Eliminated in 2nd Place ($1,000,253)
James Chen won two pots to earn himself two big blinds and climb to 3,900,000, then raised to 1,200,000 and picked up a call by Stephen Chidwick.
The flop came and Chidwick checked to Chen, who bet 800,000. Just a few moments later, Chidwick check-raised the pot and Chen sunk back into his chair before eventually calling all in.
Chen was in trouble and needed running diamonds, straight cards or an eight to avoid the elimination. The turn gave him a gutshot, however, the river was a blank and Chen's bid for a maiden bracelet came to an end. He receives a massive payday of $1,000,253 while Chidwick earns the biggest victory of his poker career so far.
A recap of today's action and all the winner quotes are to follow.
|Stephen Chidwick||41,700,000||3,100,000 |
|James Chen||0||-3,100,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 4:28 PM Local Time
Chidwick Gets Paid With the Nuts
An open raise by Stephen Chidwick for 1,200,000 was called by James Chen and they headed to the flop. Once Chen had checked his option, Chidwick made it 900,000 to go and the call of Chen followed. This brought them to the turn and Chen checked over to Chidwick, who fired a second barrel of 3,000,000.
The call of Chen delivered the biggest pot of the heads-up duel so far and the came on the river with Chen checking the third street in a row. Chidwick emptied the clip with a bet of 10,100,000 and Chen gave it some consideration before paying it off.
Chidwick rolled over for top set and that left Chen with a mountain to climb, as Chidwick rocketed into a 10-1 lead.
"I called pretty light," Chen said in table chat to Chidwick.
|Stephen Chidwick||38,600,000||15,100,000 |
|James Chen||3,100,000||-15,100,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 4:20 PM Local Time
Three In a Row for Chen
James Chen limped in and Stephen Chidwick raised the pot to 1,200,000, which Chen called. On a flop of , Chidwick bet 600,000 and Chen called. They headed to the turn and Chidwick now checked. Chen took the opportunity to bet 3,300,000 and claimed yet another pot on his way to narrow the gap.
Chidwick limped in and now it was the turn of Chen to raise the pot, Chidwick called and they saw a flop. A continuation bet of 900,000 by Chen did the trick to end the hand right there.
Chen raised the size of the pot from the button and Chidwick made the call. On the flop, Chidwick check-folded to a 900,000-bet and Chen made it three in a row.
|Stephen Chidwick||23,500,000||-4,200,000 |
|James Chen||18,200,000||4,200,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 4:11 PM Local Time
Chen Pulls Some Back
James Chen chipped up without showdown and then saw Stephen Chidwick limp in to the flop. Chen checked and a bet of 800,000 by Chidwick won the pot.
In the next hand, Chen raised the pot to 1,200,000 on the button and Chidwick called. The flop brought and a check by Chidwick saw Chen fire a continuation bet of 1,500,000. That ended the hand right there as Chen pulled some further chips back.
The next limped pot resulted in a flop and Chen check-raised from 800,000 to 2,400,000. Chidwick folded and Chen reduced the gap once more.
|Stephen Chidwick||27,700,000||-3,200,000 |
|James Chen||14,000,000||3,200,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 3:59 PM Local Time
Chidwick Catches Chen Bluffing; Takes 3-1 Lead
Stephen Chidwick raised to 1,200,000 and James Chen called to see the flop. Chen checked over to Chidwick and faced a continuation bet of 600,000. Chen came along to see the on the turn and checked the second street in a row. Both now opted to check and the on the river completed a possible flush.
Chen made it 2,100,000 to go and Chidwick called to get shown for a pair of sevens only. Chidwick had that beat with for the ace-high straight and established a 3-1 lead.
|Stephen Chidwick||30,900,000||4,300,000 |
|James Chen||10,800,000||-4,300,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 3:53 PM Local Time
Chidwick Bombs the River
A limped pot headed to the flop and James Chen bet 400,000 and Stephen Chidwick called to see the on the turn. Chen bet 800,000 and Chidwick once again called.
After the river, Chen checked his option and Chidwick bet the pot for 3,200,000. Chen quickly glanced at his stack and his opponent, then stared at the board. Ultimately, no call followed and Chidwick raked in the pot.
|Stephen Chidwick||26,600,000||2,000,000 |
|James Chen||15,100,000||-2,000,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 3:44 PM Local Time
Level 32 started
Saturday, June 22, 2019 3:43 PM Local Time
Deep Heads-Up Underway
Stephen Chidwick enters heads-up with 84 big blinds and James Chen has 54 big blinds at his disposal, so it may take a while before a champion is crowned.
In the first hand of heads-up, Chidwick limped in and Chen checked. Both checked the flop and the came on the turn. Chen bet 400,000 and received a call from Chidwick. Heading to the river, Chen led for 1,300,000 and that won the pot uncontested.
|Stephen Chidwick||24,600,000||-700,000 |
|James Chen||17,100,000||700,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 3:33 PM Local Time
Matthew Gonzales Eliminated in 3rd Place ($699,364)
Stephen Chidwick raised the pot for 900,000 in total out of the small blind and Matthew Gonzales came along from the big blind with 2,400,000 behind to see the . Chidwick continued right away for the size of the pot, 1,800,000 in total, Gonzales moved all in and Chidwick called off the additional 575,000 to put Gonzales at risk.
Gonzales had a ton of outs with his pair, straight draw and flush draw, and some of them vanished on the turn as Chidwick picked up a flush draw himself. The on the river further improved Chidwick to a flush and that sent Gonzales to the rail in 3rd place for $699,364.
There will now be a short break to set up the duel for the bracelet between Chidwick and James Chen.
|Stephen Chidwick||25,300,000||4,000,000 |
|James Chen||16,400,000||-600,000 |
|Matthew Gonzales||0||-3,400,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 3:24 PM Local Time
Robert Mizrachi Eliminated in 4th Place ($497,112)
First to act, James Chen raised to 700,000 and Robert Mizrachi called all in for 350,000 on the button, Stephen Chidwick in the small blind and Matthew Gonzales in the big blind both called.
The flop brought and all three remaining active players checked to the turn. Chidwick bet 600,000, Gonzales let go and Chen stuck around to see the on the river.
Chidwick now made it 1,000,000 to go and that isolated successfully, as Chen opted to fold. The cards were turned over with Mizrachi holding the , however, Chidwick had that beat with for a flush to send Mizrachi to the rail in 4th place.
While Mizrachi missed out on his fifth bracelet, he adds another final table appearance and payday of $497,112 to his poker resume.
|Stephen Chidwick||21,300,000||2,300,000 |
|James Chen||17,000,000||-1,300,000 |
|Matthew Gonzales||3,400,000||-700,000 |
|Robert Mizrachi||0||-350,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 3:15 PM Local Time
Mizrachi's Stack Reduced to a Miracle
In a battle of the blinds between James Chen and Robert Mizrachi, they checked the flop and Chen bet the turn for 500,000, which Mizrachi called. On the river, Chen bet the pot for 1,600,000 once more and Mizrachi called with just 175,000 behind.
Chen tabled for a set of fours and Mizrachi flashed his for a set of treys in disgust.
One hand later, Mizrachi called all in for 175,000 in the small blind with the and doubled through the of Stephen Chidwick on a board of .
|Stephen Chidwick||19,000,000||200,000 |
|James Chen||18,300,000||2,100,000 |
|Matthew Gonzales||4,100,000||-500,000 |
|Robert Mizrachi||350,000||-1,750,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 3:06 PM Local Time
Mizrachi Drops to Seven Big Blinds
James Chen limped the small blind and Robert Mizrachi checked from the big blind to a flop, on which Chen bet 400,000 and Mizrachi called. On the turn, Chen made it 1,000,000 to go and Mizrachi swiftly released his cards.
A limped pot between Mizrachi and Stephen Chidwick headed to the flop, on which Mizrachi check-called a bet of 300,000. The appeared on the turn and Mizrachi checked once more. This prompted a bet of 600,000 by Chidwick and Mizrachi let go once more to drop to seven big blinds only.
|Stephen Chidwick||18,800,000||600,000 |
|James Chen||16,200,000||700,000 |
|Matthew Gonzales||4,600,000||0 |
|Robert Mizrachi||2,100,000||-1,300,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 2:59 PM Local Time
Big Stacks Chidwick and Chen Tangle Twice
James Chen raised to 700,000 on the button and Stephen Chidwick defended out of the big blind. The flop came and Chidwick check-folded to a bet of 400,000.
Robert Mizrachi joined the action with a button raise to 625,000 next and Chidwick in the small blind three-bet the pot to 2,180,000 to force a fold from Mizrachi.
Chidwick made it 700,000 to go from the button one hand later and fellow big stack Chen called in the big blind to see a flop. A check by Chen was followed by a continuation bet of 400,000 by Chidwick and Chen called.
The on the turn paired the board and both players checked to the river. Chen carefully cut out a min-bet of 300,000 and Chidwick also took his time before sending his cards into the muck.
|Stephen Chidwick||18,200,000||-900,000 |
|James Chen||15,500,000||2,475,000 |
|Matthew Gonzales||4,600,000||-425,000 |
|Robert Mizrachi||3,400,000||-1,500,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 2:46 PM Local Time
Alex Epstein Eliminated in 5th Place ($359,320)
Alex Epstein raised the pot for 1,050,000 first to act and Chidwick came along from the small blind. The flop brought and Chidwick checked over to Epstein, who continued for 1,200,000 and picked up a call by Chidwick.
The fell on the turn and Chidwick checked once more. Epstein emptied the clip and moved all in for 4,050,000. That sent Chidwick into the think tank and the Brit eventually made the call to create the second-biggest pot of the tournament so far.
Epstein held the nut flush draw and needed a spade and a spade only to avoid elimination, and the on the river was a blank to send him to the rail in 5th place for $359,320, while Chidwick took over the lead once more with four players remaining.
|Stephen Chidwick||19,100,000||6,600,000 |
|Alex Epstein||0||-6,300,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 2:36 PM Local Time
Chidwick Takes First Pot After Break
Robert Mizrachi limped the small blind and Stephen Chidwick checked in the big blind to see a flop of , no betting action followed. The appeared on the turn and Mizrachi now bet 300,000, which Chidwick called.
The river completed the board and Mizrachi slowed down, checked his option. This prompted a pot-sized bet of 1,200,000 by Chidwick and the near-instant fold of Mizrachi followed.
|Stephen Chidwick||12,500,000||600,000 |
|Robert Mizrachi||4,900,000||-550,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 2:32 PM Local Time
Table Behaviour at the $25k PLO Final Table
It's always interesting to observe players' actions at final tables when they are not involved in hands. The $25,000 PLO High Roller is down to five players and here we take a look at the way they're behaving while at the table.
James Chen who came into the day fifth in chips but consolidated his position after an early three-bet pot against Alex Epstein and has now moved into the overall chip lead. He's been one of the more studious players at the table, especially during hands.
He's been observed on numerous occasions studying not just the bet he's facing, but the stacks of the short stacks around the table. In fact, Chen is rarely out of his seat.
Moving clockwise around the remaining five players we come to Robert Mizrachi. The Mizrachi rail isn't out in force like it was for his brother just yet, but should he remain in contention – he is currently fourth in chips – then no doubt the Amazon room will get a lot louder.
Stephen Chidwick is perhaps the quietest player at the final table, even less so than Chen. Possibly the tallest player, he is situated in the middle of the remaining five players. Whilst Chen shuffles chips, Chidwick does nothing until its his turn to act. However, similarly to Chen he rarely gets out of his seat.
The same cannot be said for Matthew Gonzales who is up and down trampoline. This was especially notable during the hand where he quadrupled up. He was sat there stewing as the big stacks either side of him continued to battle it out.
One of those big stacks was Chidwick, the other is Alex Epstein. Already a bracelet winner in 2019, Epstein spoke in his interview after his $10,000 Short Deck victory about how other pros might not realize how experienced he is.
"When [professionals] see me and the way that I table talk and set myself up," said Epstein. "They think they have a post-flop edge in a game where they definitely don't have a post-flop edge."
Epstein may have been referring to Short Deck at the time, but from his experience playing PLO cash, the same might be able to be said about this game as well.
Whatever happens, and however these players act one of them is going to walk away with $1,618,417 and a WSOP gold bracelet.
Saturday, June 22, 2019 2:31 PM Local Time
Level 31 started
Saturday, June 22, 2019 2:15 PM Local Time
Chen Jams Into Epstein to Take The Lead
Alex Epstein raised to 650,000 on the button and James Chen called in the small blind. On the flop, Chen checked and called a bet of 750,000 before checking again the on the turn. Epstein now bet 2,250,000 for more than two third of the pot.
Chen moved all in and Epstein snap-folded in the final hand of the level before the players headed into their first 15-minute break of the day.
|James Chen||13,025,000||3,625,000 |
|Stephen Chidwick||11,900,000||0 |
|Alex Epstein||6,300,000||-3,800,000 |
|Robert Mizrachi||5,450,000||-250,000 |
|Matthew Gonzales||5,025,000||325,000 |
Saturday, June 22, 2019 2:10 PM Local Time
Mizrachi Gets Some Back
Robert Mizrachi opened to 500,000 in the cutoff and Alex Epstein defended the big blind to see a flop, which both players checked. On the turn, Epstein checked and faced a bet of 600,000 by Mizrachi. Epstein made the call and the river completed a possible back door flush.
Once Epstein had checked, Mizrachi checked behind and tabled his for trips fives as the winning hand.
|Stephen Chidwick||11,900,000||0 |
|Alex Epstein||10,100,000||-1,100,000 |
|James Chen||9,400,000||0 |
|Robert Mizrachi||5,700,000||1,200,000 |
|Matthew Gonzales||4,700,000||-100,000 |