WSOP Europe Event #1, £1,500 NLHE Final Table: Jesper Hougaard Surges to Gold
The final table of the Event #1 of the World Series of Poker Europe was a classic tale of worsts to firsts and history being made as Danish pro and WSOP bracelet winner Jesper Hougaard went from eighth in chips at the start of the final table to the first player to collect WSOP bracelets in Las Vegas and Europe in the same year. To get there, he overcame the early chip lead of American wunderkind Adam Junglen and the hot streak of APPT Macau Main Event champion Yevgeniy Timoshenko to claim the bracelet and the £144,218 top prize.
It took less than two orbits for the first elimination to occur, as both Fuad Serhan and Daniel Nutt called Jesper Hougaard's preflop raise. Yevgeniy Timoshenko re-raised from the big blind and Hougaard and Serhan folded. Nutt thought for a moment before moving all in with , and Timoshenko called with . The board ran out , and Nutt's coin landed tails as he picked up £13,222 for ninth place.
Hometown favorite Ian Woodley became the next player to see his WSOP bracelet dreams crushed when he headed to the rail in eighth (£17,835). Woodley moved all in preflop from the button, and Jesper Hougaard thought only briefly before making the call from the small blind. Hougaard tabled for a coin flip with Woodley's , and again the pocket pair held up as the board ran out . Hougaard's full house was strong enough to send Woodley to the rail, and the London native left to applause from the hometown crowd.
Linda Lee, the only woman at the final table, started the day in the middle of the pack and exited the final the same way when she busted in seventh (£22,448). On the short stack, Lee pushed all in preflop with . Fuad Serhan made the call from the big blind with and the flop put him well ahead as it came down . The on the turn gave Lee a few more outs, but the on the river was no help as Serhan took down the pot and Lee headed to the rail.
Adam Junglen started the day with a big chip lead, taking out numerous opponents on the road to the final table, but busted in sixth place after a couple of tough hands in quick succession. In the first, Junglen moved all in over the top of Neil Channing's open-shove and showed . Channing tabled a dominating , and doubled through Junglen when the board ran out . Just two hands later, Junglen moved all in preflop after John Dwyer opened for a raise. Dwyer called the small extra amount with , and was well ahead of Junglen's . Junglen hit one of his outs on the flop as it came down , but the on the turn made Dwyer's set. The on the river was no help, and Junglen picked up £28,598 for sixth place.
Dwyer himself was next to fall, heading to the rail in fifth place (£36,285) at the hands of Yevgeniy Timoshenko. It was once again pocket fives for Dwyer, but this time it was Dwyer making the all-in move. Timoshenko made the easy call with , and nothing out of the ordinary happened on the board of . Just a few hands later Jesper Hougaard moved all in from the small blind with . Neil "Bad Beat" Channing called all in from the big blind with pocket eights and held his lead on the flop of . The on the turn counterfeited his two pair and moved Hougaard into the lead with his ace kicker. The on the river was no help, and Channing exited in fourth place for £44,588.
Three-handed play lasted for quite some time as the remaining players jockeyed for position and traded double-ups. Finally, Jesper Hougaard moved all his chips into the middle once again and was called by Yevgeniy Timoshenko. Hougaard tabled , and the players were off to the races as Timoshenko showed . The deck added no suspense, putting the ace right out on the flop as it came down . Hougaard took the lead and Timoshenko needed one of the two remaining fours to stay alive. The turn and river came down , and the young superstar was eliminated in third place (£55,350).
Heads-up play commenced between the two men who started the day eighth and ninth in chips, with Jesper Hougaard taking nearly a 5:1 chip lead into the final confrontation. It took only five hands for the end to be determined, but Hougaard had to come from behind in the last hand to eliminate the tenacious Serhan. Serhan raised preflop with , and Hougaard moved all in over the top. Serhan quickly called, and Hougaard was dominated with . Hougaard couldn't have asked for a better flop than , as he left Serhan drawing dead to the turn and the irrelevant river. Serhan came from dead last to start the final table to finish second for £89,175.
Jesper Hougaard spent much of Day 2 with the chip lead after coming into the final table as one of the shortest stacks. Through tough play all day, Hougaard took down the championship, £144,218, his second WSOP bracelet, and became the first person ever to win WSOP bracelets in both America and Europe in the same year.
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