Day three of $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em event began with 10 hopefuls all vying for a coveted World Series of Poker bracelet – and the $227,232 first-place prize that goes along with it. After a fairly slow start, eliminations ran rampant, with Ali Eslami, Mika Paasonen, Daisuke Endo and Dajuan Whorley all being sent to the rail within a half hour of each other. When the dust cleared, it was Allen Kessler and Brian Rast who were left to duke it out for the right to be called “champion.” After a short heads-up battle, it was the online cash-game grinder Brian “tsarrast” Rast who came out on top.
Day one saw 765 players register in an attempt to prove their poker skill. An onslaught of talent could be found at every turn, including Annette Obrestad, Gavin Smith, Tom Dwan, Liv Boeree, Faraz Jaka, Jeff Madsen, Dwyte Pilgrim, Kathy Liebert and Humberto Brenes – just to name a few. At the end of the day, however, it was WSOPE Main Event third-place finisher Ronald Lee who topped the field with 122,700, which would serve him well on his way to an oh-so-close WSOP bracelet.
The journey to the final table on day two was far from easy, as there seemed to be a well-respected poker pro around every corner no matter how many people were sent to the rail. Among them included John Dolan (71st), Joe Sebok (60th), Hoyt Corkins (49th), John Racener (39th), James Carroll (23rd), Randall Flowers (19th) and Christian Harder (17th) – all of whom went deep enough to cash for their efforts, despite missing the final table. It was Rast who secured the chip lead going into day three, having amassed a whopping 1,081,000, or, just over 30 percent of the total chips in play.
When day three began, many of the remaining players began the day short-stacked, which may explain the relatively short duration of the final table – six hours.
When the heads-up battle began, Rast had a slight chip lead over Kessler, which he used to make moves and apply constant pressure. In one hand that showed Rast’s poker prowess. Rast opened to 70,000 from the button and got a call from Kessler. The flop came and Kessler checked to Rast, who c-bet to 80,000. Kessler responded by making it 180,000 and, undeterred, Rast quickly reraised to 390,000, which got a muck from Kessler. Rast tabled for jack-high, leaving Kessler puzzled.
For Rast, this win adds to an already impressive poker resume, which includes over $700,000 in lifetime tournament winnings prior to winning this event. This win also represents Rast’s first WSOP bracelet – not bad for a guy who had to be convinced by good buddy and fellow poker pro Antonio Esfandiari to actually register for the event.
Final Table Payouts
Congratulations to Brian Rast and all other players who managed to cash in this event. Remember to follow PokerNews for coverage of the other events going on at the Rio, including Event #19: $2,500 Limit Hold’em / Six Handed and Event #18: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em – both of which started today.