Two for Tuesday at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. A long-time grinder finally made it to the Promised Land, while the real OG The Grinder shipped the Chip Reese Trophy for a third time. The Grinder won Event #33 $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $1,239,126. The Grinder defeated red-hot Johnny World Hennigan heads-up for the title. Johnny World is now in first place in the WSOP POY race.
The Grinder tied his brother Robert with four WSOP bracelets each. The Mizrachi brothers have 8 combined bracelets, which is currently the best brother tandem in the history of the WSOP. Doyle Brunson and Todd Brunson currently have the most combined bracelets (1 for Todd and 10 for Tex Dolly) for a family (11) and father/son duo (11). In case you were wondering, Howard Lederer and Annie Duke only have 3 combined pieces of bling.
Meanwhile, the Godfather of Chinese Poker shipped his first bracelet. Yueqi Zhu is an engineer in SoCal for his day job, but he's been grinding during the night time and weekends for the last two decades. Zhu cashed 71 other times at the WSOP and made 10 other final tables but had yet to win a bracelet... until he took a shot in Event #35 Mixed Omaha. Zhu cashed in this tri-Omaha affair (PLO 8, Omaha Hi/Lo, plus BIG O) for his 72nd career cash and advanced to his 12th final table. Except this time... it was finally his time. I guess the poker gods and Buddha decided to reward Zhu for his hard work and dedication to the game. Zhu went all the way... and won Event #35. I guess... the 72nd time and 12th time is the charm, eh? Zhu faded a field of 773 Omaha enthusiasts to win $211,781 and his first bracelet.
Event #33 $50,000 Poker Players Championship - Final Results
Ship it to Grinder. Three times! The Grinder locked up his fourth-career bracelet and his third PPC title. Coming into this year's $50K PPC, The Grinder was tied with Brian Rast with 2 victories in the PPC. Both were seeking their third Chip Reese Trophy. Rast busted before the final table, while the Grinder advanced to the final table with a sizable lead. He had twice as many chips as Dan Smith in second place. The Grinder didn't squander the big stack and he marched all the way to the winner's circle.
The Grinder also defeated the hottest player at the WSOP to win the bracelet. Johnny World Hennigan has been en fuego the last couple of weeks. Hennigan won his fifth bracelet last week when he shipped the $10,000 HORSE title. Although Hennigan only cashed in five events this summer, he has multiple final tables (3 total) with the following finishes: 1-2-7-728. Hennigan bubbled a 6-max Dealer's Choice final table during the first week of action. I mean... wow. With three final tables and a near miss. It's no wonder Johnny World Hennigan is currently at the top of the Player of the Year Leaderboard.
The Grinder went wire-to-wire with the win. Even he noted the anomaly that got started by an errant spill.
The Grinder told reporters, "Everything changed Day 2. I was short and I spilled coffee on the table. It was a seven-minute delay and we had to move tables. After that, everything turned around. It was a good move by me."
Aaron Katz was the first player to exit the final table when he bounced in sixth place. British pro and bracelet winner Benny Glasser was dunzo in fifth place. Mike Leah came into the final table as the shorty, but he managed to jump up a few spots and hang out until fourth place. Dan Smith came into the final six with the second-biggest stack. However, Smith was unable to fend off his opponents when it got three-handed. Dan Smith got picked off in third place by Hennigan.
A heads-up battle was set between Johnny World and The Grinder. I mean... these are like pro wrestling names! This is the kinda of stuff you'd see on Monday Night Raw.
The Grinder knocked out Johnny World during NL, arguably his best game out of the 8. Kudos to the Grinder. He beat out the best of the best and knocked out the hottest player at the Rio to earn his third Chip Reese trophy.
"I don't think I ever ran this good in a tournament. All the cards went my way," The Grinder explained in his post-victory press conference.
Johnny World banked $765,837 for a consolation prize. He now has $1.1M in winnings since last Monday.
The Grinder walked away with his fourth bracelet, third Chip Reese trophy, and $1.2 million in cash. Not too shabby, eh?
Most importantly... in the Mizrachi Clan Bracelet Count, The Grinder equaled his big brother, Robert Mizrachi, with four bracelets each. Three cheers for the two Mizrachi boys... with eight pieces of bling and four apiece. Momma Grinder should be thrilled! (And I hope she gets a piece of the pie!).
The Grinder's WSOP winnings have now topped $9.2 million. Overall, the Grinder's winnings are closing in on $17 million. Yikes! He's got $16.9M and counting. The Grinder jumped back into the Top 25 overall in Hendon Mob's all-time money list.
Greg FBT Mueller bubbled off the final table in seventh place. Phil Ivey went deep, but mussed the final table by a few spots. Everyone and their grandma thought Ivey was gonna make a final table for this one... and possibly win it. But NO HOME JEROME couldn't fair better than a ninth-place finish and a cash that was a little more than $111K.
Only the top 14 places paid out. Among those who cashed, but did not make the final table included... Greg Mueller (7th), Brian Rast (8th), Phil Ivey (9th), Shaun Deeb (10th), Chris Vitch (11th), Bobby Bellande (12th), Randy Ohel (13th), and Yehuda Buchalter (14th).
2018 WSOP - Event #33 $50,000 Poker Players Championship
Event #35 Mixed $1,500 PLO 8; Omaha Hi/Lo; Big O - Final Results
The final table of Event #35 included a couple of tough pros in Jon Turner and Ryan Hughes. Plus you cannot overlook Carol Fuchs, who has been having a great summer at the WSOP. With all eyes on those three, Yueqi Zhu flew under the radar and swooped up the bracelet.
This Mixed Omaha event needed a fourth day to play down to the champion. Yueqi Zhu, Gabe Ramos, and Carol Fuchs were the only players still alive at the final table when action was suspended on Monday night. They returned for a fourth-day of Mixed Omaha on Tuesday. Alas, Fuchs couldn't get anything going and she busted in third place. That set up a heads-up battle between Zhu and Ramos. And Ramos couldn't stop Zhu from winning the bracelet.
Ramos settled on $130K for a runner-up's share, while Zhu binked a bracelet and $211K in cash.
Zhu told the WSOP staff and press corps, "I think I'm holding the unofficial record of the most top-three finishes without a bracelet. I know a lot of things can happen and I feel bad that a turn of the card can totally change the result, so I'm happy that it went my way today and I didn't have to extend that record."
Zhu came very close several times before... but he could never finish off the deed. Until now.
Zhu was born in China, but lives in Southern California. He's been instrumental in helping being poker to a wider audience in China, while it's experience its own boom of sorts. Zhu is the publisher of a poker magazine and operates a poker forum for Chinese poker enthusiasts.
Nathan Gamble bubbled off the final table in eighth place. Chip Jett nearly missed a final table when he busted in ninth place.
Notables who went deep in Mixed Omaha and finished in the Top 25 included... Robert Mizrachi, Sean Moore, Jimmy Alexander, and Mark Gregorich.
Other familiar faces and names who cashed in Event #35 included... Allyn Shulman, Bart Hanson, Stephen Ladowsky, Jared Hemingway, Phil Hellmuth, Erik Seidel, Ken Po, Dylan Wilkerson, Barry Greenstein, Tony Ma, Stuart Ritter, Mike Noori, Max Pescatori, Roland Israelashvili, Alex difelice, Martin Staszko, and Steve Gags.