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sabato 15 giugno 2024

Schulman secures fifth WSOP bracelet

credits: WSOP

High-stakes poker pro and commentator Nick Schulman won his fifth World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet as he took down Event #26: $25,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold'em (8-Handed) for $1,667,842. It was a special victory for Schulman, who not only secured his biggest-ever WSOP cash but also his first non-mixed game bracelet.

The victory was nothing short of a steamroll as Schulman won a massive flip early at the final table to double through Noel Rodriguez before going on to eliminate five of his seven opponents. Rodriguez was left with just two big blinds but somehow managed to ladder to a runner-up finish worth $1,111,897.

"It felt incredible," Schulman told PokerNews about the pivotal hand. "Everybody who's played poker tournaments has a lot of residual trauma ... And holding there was amazing. And then that set up where there was one big chip leader ... It's pretty rare. And a very special setup to find yourself in.

"And I was fortunate enough to have the kind of golden lane, where they can't really do anything. Even if they know you're messing around, they still kind of can't do anything. And that's the best place to be in at a final table."

There were 318 entries in the High Roller event, an increase from the 301 entries last year, resulting in a new record for the event and creating a prize pool of $7,473,000. The final table included six-time bracelet winner Shaun Deeb (8th - $153,302), British high-stakes crusher Ben Heath (5th - $376,762) and high roller regular David Stamm (4th - $529,833).

Schulman's previous bracelets, the first dating back to 2009, are in mixed game variants including 2-7 Lowball Draw, Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better and Seven Card Stud. Just last year, he took down Event #9: $1,500 Seven Card Stud for $110,800 in what resulted in one of the most memorable winner photos in poker history.

Schulman has had some close calls in high roller No-Limit Hold'em bracelet events. In 2019, he finished third in the $100,000 NLH High Roller for $1,187,802 and fifth in last year's WSOP Paradise $100,000 High Roller for $731,000.

With hundreds of hours logged in the commentary both analyzing high-level poker, it's hardly a surprise Schulman was able to close out.

"I mean, I collect so many ideas," Schulman said about whether commentating helps his play. "There's so many great players ... It's an intimate experience commentating ... You're actively engaged with every hand."

Schulman turns 40 later this year and will be eligible for the Poker Hall of Fame next year. While the Hall of Fame wasn't on his mind after the victory, he said being inducted would be "a tremendous honor."

"As it goes with something like that, that's not up to me," he said. "But, of course, I'm a big sports fan, and, you know, Hall of Fame has a great ring to it."

The most pivotal hand of the tournament took place early as the two chip leaders found themselves colliding in a blind-versus-blind cooler. Schulman's held pocket queens against the ace-king of Rodriguez to take an overwhelming chip lead over his seven competitors, while Rodriguez was left with a stack of two big blinds that he ran up through multiple double-ups.

Deeb was looking for a seventh bracelet while competing in the best shape of his life as he entered the final table second in chips. But the "Team Lucky" member had anything but luck under the bright lights, starting off with his two pair failing to hold against the gutshot draw of Li.

Not long after, Deeb double-barrelled queen-high into the trip kings of Rodriguez to plummet to the bottom of the chip counts.

Deeb doubled and chopped an all in before a final blow where his Big Slick couldn't hit against the pocket sixes of Lyall, as Deeb watched the all in on the monitor with Josh Arieh and Matt Glantz.

The eliminations picked up from there as Li, Roberto Perez, Heath and Stamm dropped from the field, all four of whom were knocked out by Schulman. All the while, Rodriguez managed to rebuild his stack before sending Dean Lyall out in third.

Heads-up play lasted just one hand as Schulman flopped top pair and held against the flush draw of Rodriguez. Schulman, wearing round sunglasses, shook his opponent's hand before dapping up Chino Rheem, who was supporting him on the rail.


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