The largest live tournament ever with 28,371 entries, Event #3: BIG 50 – $500 No-Limit Hold’em, has come to an end with Femi Fashakin as the champion, winning a life-changing $1,147,449 and his first gold WSOP bracelet.
“OVERWHELMED, IT’S REALLY AMAZING, SUPER EXCITED. I CAN’T EVEN DESCRIBE IT, BUT I’M ALSO GRATEFUL, AND IT’S A HUMBLING EXPERIENCE.”
After four days of play at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, it took almost seven hours of play on the final day for Fashakin to defeat Paul Cullen heads-up to claim the title in this special event which was created to celebrate the 50th Annual World Series of Poker.
Fashakin had almost $60,000 in cashes before this whopping win that made him a millionaire. The first words he uttered after winning: “Overwhelmed, it’s really amazing, super excited. I can’t even describe it, but I’m also grateful, and it’s a humbling experience. It’s my third cash at the WSOP here in Vegas, and I think it’s been okay so far! I didn’t really plan a celebration because I wasn’t sure. But I had a feeling! Today I sprinted in the hallway of the hotel, and I thought: when I get to the end of the door, I’m going to stop there and visualize the bracelet. I did that sprint, and I saw it…”.
|1||Femi Fashakin||United States||$1,147,449|
|2||Paul Cullen||United States||$709,183|
|4||Nick Chow||United States||$405,132|
|5||Walter Atwood||United States||$308,701|
|7||Adrian Curry||United States||$182,192|
|9||David Rasmussen||United States||$109,922|
Fashakin started the day with the chip lead when the final seven players returned to the Thunderdome in the Amazon Room. They were all guaranteed $182,192 but would all be vying for more.
In the very first hand of the day, Daniel Ghobrial shoved with the shortest stack of all holding ace-king. He was called by Fashakin who held the same cards, and the pot was chopped as expected. Shortly after, he did find a double-up with king-queen against Walter Atwood’s ace-ten by hitting a king on the river.
Adrian Curry was the shortest after Ghobrial doubled and was eliminated in seventh place when he four-bet shoved his last fourteen big blinds and was called by Rafi Elharar. Curry’s pocket tens couldn’t beat the kings of Elharar.
Eight hands later, the curtains finally did fall for Ghobrial as he shoved with ace-trey and was called by both Elharar and Nick Chow. The board ran five-nine-six-five before Elharar got pushed out of the hand by a bet of Chow who held queen-five for trip fives. As Ghobrial was drawing dead, he said his goodbyes to the rest of the table in sixth place.
Cullen was the short stack after Ghobrial was eliminated but doubled through Atwood with pocket aces which now meant Elharar became the short stack. With a pretty shallow final table, the role of being the shortest on the table would be assigned to almost all players at one point throughout the day. But after the first break of the day, it was Atwood who left the stage next when his shove with king-ten was called by Chow with ace-seven. Chow flopped top pair, and Atwood picked up a gutshot but bricked the turn and river to be sent to the cashier to collect his fifth-place cash.
Chow had taken over the chip lead and only increased it even more after the elimination. The chip lead switched several times between Chow and Fashakin during the two and a half hours of four-handed play.
Fashakin had prepared for this final table: “I had a strategy in mind to grind out the other opponents and the mid-stacks, but things flipped around really quick. I think I didn’t understand exactly how Chow would play, so I had to slow down a little bit. I played some hands a little bit different from what people might expect just to understand how he was playing. I had to pick my spots and switch up the strategy. The other players were really cool, but I don’t think we had as much interaction as I had with Chow”.