It was an action-packed Friday and Saturday at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, with three gold bracelets awarded. British Jake Cody certainly had a great Friday, beating 127 other competitors to win the $25,000 buy-in Texas hold’em heads-up event that saw him pick up $851,192 – to go beyond the $2.6 million in career earnings – as well as a much-coveted bracelet.
The 22-year-old from Rochdale in England defeated Ukranian-born American Yevgeniy Timoshenko in the final match-up to become only the third player – and youngest – to collect the triple crown after previously winning titles on the European Poker Tour (EPT) and the World Poker Tour (WPT).
Cody could hardly believe his good fortune as it “didn’t seem real”, although he added that, “when I got heads-up, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m one match away from being the youngest triple crown winner ever” as well as “the fastest triple crown winner ever”.
Not that he got to the final by luck, of course, as Cody had to defeat some big names on the way as he saw off Gus Hansen, Anthony Guetti, Jonathan Jaffe, Dani Stern, Frank Kassela and Brandon Adams.
Incredibly, the young British pro also halted Danish star Hansen’s run of successive heads-up WSOP victories at 12 with his semi-final success in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
However, it was no great surprise that Lancastrian Cody emerged victorious, having dominated the poker scene for the last 18 months by taking the EPT Deauville title in January last year and a WPT crown in London a few months later.
Cheered on by a vociferous support throughout the tournament, Cody eventually saw off Timoshenko, who picked up $525,980 for his runner-up spot.
The last hand saw Timoshenko, on the button, limp in to then be faced with an all-in as Cody tried to bully the 23-year-old into folding. However, he wouldn’t back down, making the call with Ac-5s, while Cody showed Kc-9c to need some help.
That is exactly what happened with a flop that showed Kh-Qd-4h for top pair to Cody that left Timoshenko needing an ace to survive.
The turn came 6h, which was no help to Timoshenko, while the 4d on the river gave Cody two pair and the title – and sparked mass celebrations among his supporters, who chanted: “Triple crown! Triple crown!”
Timoshenko displayed great grace in defeat, shaking the Brit’s hand in congratulations, while Cody – a picture of cool throughout – broke into wide grin.
Timoshenko – who beat two of the world’s best heads-up players in Olivier Busquet and Daniel Cates – was “happy with how I played”, adding that he has “no regrets, other than losing my all-ins!”
He also congratulated Cody on his aggressive play, but confessed that he “really wanted to win” as “it’s such a prestigious bracelet to win”.
Final standings and payouts from the $25,000 Heads-Up World Championship:
1. Jake Cody (UK) – $851,192
2. Yevgeniy Timoshenko (USA) – $525,980
3. Gus Hansen – (Denmark) $283,966
4. Eric Froehlich (USA) – $283,966
5. Matt Marafioti (Canada) – $138,852
6. Anthony Guetti (USA) – $138,852
7. Nikolay Evdakov (Russia) – $138,852
8. David Paredes (USA) – $138,852
9. Tom Dwan (USA) – $67,436
10. Steve Billirakis (USA) – $67,436
11. John Duthie (UK) – $67,436
12. Olivier Busquet (USA) – $67,436
13. Richard Lyndaker (USA) – $67,436
14. Kunimaro Kojo (Japan) – $67,436
15. Mikhail Smirnov (Russia) – $67,436
16. Jonathan Jaffe (USA) – $67,436
Also completed Friday was the $1,500 buy-in Omaha Hi-Lo Split 8 or Better event, which was won by Francesco ‘Cheech’ Barbaro after he defeated fellow American Kostas ‘Gus’ Kalathakis in their heads-up battle to collect $262,283.
The 37-year-old outlasted 924 other competitors to leave Kalathakis with $161 675 in the runner-up place, but what was truly remarkable was that this was his first ever WSOP event after turning pro just two years ago.
Final standings and payouts from the $1,500 buy-in Omaha Hi-Lo Split 8 or Better event:
1. Francesco Barbaro (USA) – $262,283
2. Kostas Kalathakis (USA) – $161,675
3. Matthew Waxman (USA) – $104,770
4. Bradley Helm (USA) – $76,673
5. Michael Deveronica (USA) – $56,943
6. Humberto Brenes (Costa Rica) – $42,857
7. Cameron McKinley (USA) – $32,654
8. Vladimir Shchemelev (Russia) – $25,174
9. Travis Pearson (USA) – $19,617
10. Richard Monroe (USA) – $15,484
11. James Lenaghan (USA) – $15,484
12. Fabrizio Gonzalez (Uruguay) – $15,484
13. Daniel Smith (USA) – $12,450
14. John Mccaffrey (USA) – $12,450
15. Guillaume Rivet (Canada) – $12,450
16. Jimmy Fricke (USA) – $10,002
17. Mallory Smith (USA) – $10,002
18. Jacobo Fernandez (USA) – $10,002
Saturday saw Ukranian-born American Eugene Katchalov lift the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud (High) event to finally secure a WSOP bracelet.
The 30-year-old, who lives in New York, outlasted 356 others – including Sorel Mizzi, Jason Mercier, Daniel Negreanu and Tom Dwan – to leave with $122,909 top prize.
OK, that might seem a rather small payout in comparison to his $1.5 million won at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) High Roller tournament, but he won’t care as he secured his first WSOP bracelet.
The Team PokerStars professional battled back from a five-to-one chip deficit to overcome WPT Venice champion Alessio Isaia in their heads-up clash, hitting successive cards on sixth and seventh street to hold a better two pair than the Italian for victory. The 24-year-old collected $75,911 for his runner-up spot.
American Eric Buchman finished third for $48,961.
Final table placings and payouts $1,500 Seven-Card Stud (High) event:
1. Eugene Katchalov (USA) – $122,909
2. Alessio Isaia (Italy) – $75,911
3. Eric Buchman (USA) – $48,961
4. Jonathan Spinks (UK) – $35,476
5. Dennis Parker (USA) – $26,083
6. Kai Landry (USA) – $19,456
7. Ali Eslami (USA) – $14,723
8. Vasili Lazarou (USA) – $11,301
9. Jeremy Ausmus (USA) – $8,800