The Summer of Brian Hastings continues.
Just a week after he captured his second bracelet by winning Event #27: $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship, the online-cash crusher sometimes known as “$tinger 88” followed up with a third taste of World Series of Poker gold. He won Event #39: $1,500 Six-Max 10-Game for $133,403, topping a field of 380.
“Obviously, it feels great to win two bracelets in one summer,” Hastings said. “Not a lot of people do that, it feels really special.”
Hastings entered the final day as the clear favorite, holding a sizable chip lead with nine players remaining. That's a role he felt locked into throughout the day.
“The cards could always break the wrong way, but there was no point in this final table where I didn't feel like I was going to win the tournament,” he said.
Early on, he eliminated one of his toughest competitors when he sent Eric Wasserson packing in a pot-limit Omaha hand in which Wasserson couldn't improve with top pair and a gutshot against Hastings' overpair. Bracelet winner Owais Ahmed also busted before the official final table.
A profitable but frustrating summer continued for Mike “SirWatts” Watson as he busted in sixth place for the third time at this WSOP in continued pursuit of that elusive first bracelet. Tim Reusch (fifth) and Alexey Makarov (fourth) went out next, leaving bracelet winner Todd Brunson to battle with Hastings and Rostislav Tsodikov.
Tsodikov sent a short-stacked Brunson packing in a stud hand to take a 2-1 chip lead into heads-up play with Hastings. That's an arena in which Hastings specializes though, as he's long been a top short-handed cash player online and won his first bracelet in the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship. Hastings' skill – and a timely aces-full in Stud Hi-Low – proved too much as he took the match over the course of about three hours.
Hastings' vocal rail included girlfriend Sonya, who works at bestbet Jacksonville but is now staying with Hastings for the rest of the summer. He pointed to her influence as a key factor in his incredibly successful 2015.
“She's helped me believe in myself and maximize my potential,” Hastings said. “She's been a great influence and I love her a lot. That's an underrated aspect of poker. That kind of life balance is really important.”
After the tournament, WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla noted that Hastings winning two bracelets so early means joining an exclusive club of players who have claimed three in one year – Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Ted Forrest, Jeff Lisandro and Puggy Pearson – is well within reach.
Hastings acknowledged that he's in full bracelet-chasing mode and will be gunning for exactly that. He plans to make the trip to Berlin for WSOP Europe in addition to closing out the summer with a full schedule.
As for this win, the format of the tournament makes it special to Hastings, and he has his eye on another tournament with an identical game selection but a much bigger buy-in.
“I pride myself on being an every-game player, and winning a tournament of this format just means a lot to me,” he said. “Hopefully, it's a precursor to the $50,000 Poker Players Championship].”
Final Table Results
|1||Brian Hastings||Hanover Township, PA||$133,403|
|2||Rostislav Tsodikov||Daly City, CA||$82,398|
|3||Todd Brunson||Las Vegas, NV||$52,977|
|5||Tim Reusch||Hofheim, Germany||$23,982|
|6||Mike Watson||Toronto, Canada||$16,846|