It took just two days for Event #48: The Closer – $1,500 No Limit Hold’em to play down to a champion and when everything was said and done, it was India’s Abhinav Iyer who emerged victorious, winning his first-ever bracelet and the top prize of $565,346.
The Closer was among the last huge events at the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP). It featured unlimited re-entries across all three starting flights, attracting a massive field of 2,800 entries and generating $3,780,000 in total prize pool.
The event drew some of the world’s finest poker players, including Phil Hellmuth, Manig Loeser, Mike Sexton, Michel Mizrachi, Kristen Bicknell and defending champion Joe Cada. Iyer’s defining moment took place when he managed to send Jeff Gross to the rail in 32nd place, earning for himself a huge stack that he held firmly through to the final table which also featured 2018 WSOP Player of the Year and four-time bracelet winner Shaun Deeb.
The official final table kicked off after a scheduled dinner break. The first player to be eliminated was Jason Reels who finished ninth for $47,758. Steve Yea was eliminated next and received $61,834 for finishing eighth.
Deeb was the next to fall after losing back to back hands against Sergio Aguilar. He took home $80,766 for his seventh-place finish. Sammy Lafleur‘s ace-queen suited won against Adam Johnson‘s pocket-nines, sending the latter to the rail in sixth place for $106,418. Then Lafleur went on to knock Patrick Eskandar out of the game in fifth place after Eskandar ran king-queen into Lafleur’s ace-queen. Eskandar earned $141,432.
Carlos Chang was the next to go, ending his bid in fourth place. He collected $189,584. After 25 minutes, Sergio Aguilar couldn’t turn things around – he lost a significant amount of chips to Iyer and eventually left the table in third place with $256,290.
Iyer held a 2:1 chip lead as he entered heads-up play against Lafleur. The Indian poker pro never let his opponent close in on him. He extended his lead further as play progressed, and when the final hand took place, he set his opponent all-in. Lafleur limp-called with just around 20 big blinds left, and it was a flip with pocket-sevens against Iyer’s queen-ten-suited. Iyer made a pair from the river and he was ultimately crowned the champion. Lafleur took home $349,417 for his second place finish.
Iyer’s victory in The Closer gives India its fourth WSOP bracelet and will provide the Indian poker scene with a major boost, helping to attract even more young players to the game.