For a tournament poker player, a dream year probably looks something like $440,000 in prize money and a pair of World Series of Poker bracelets. Just don't pinch Nipun Java right now.
Java added to his fantastic 2017 by topping a four-way chop in the 3,173-player $570 DeepStack Reentry event that kicked off Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) in South Florida. Java continued a blazing-hot summer that saw him pocket two pieces of WSOP gold, as part of the winning team in the $1,500 Tag Team and in the $1,000 WSOP.com Online Championship.
“It’s a confidence game,” the California-based pro told SHRPO reporters after his latest score, worth $230,848. “It’s tough to quantify what exactly works, why it’s a confidence game, but there’s something about poker which momentum is a real thing.”
Other deal-makers were Alfredo Guevara ($169,791), Josh Robins ($133,824) and Ana Clara Freitas ($130,701).
Official Final Table Results
|4||Ana Clara Freitas||$130,702*|
*reflects four-way deal
The massive turnout for the event built up over the course of eight starting flights, creating a prize pool north of $1.5 million to smash the $1 million guarantee. There would be 300 places paid, and Luke Vrabel, Loni Harwood, Jake Schwartz, Corey Burbick, Kurt Jewell and former WSOP Main Event runner-up Josh Beckley were some of the players who cashed.
After a hot run to close out Day 2, Java took a big chip lead into the final day, according to the live updates. His 14.9 million put him well clear of Mike Mehallis' 10.6 million as the players resumed playing 100,000/200,000/25,000.
However it wasn't all sunshine and roses for him early on the final day. He first handed out a double to Manny Minaya when he couldn't dodge two overcards and a flush draw.
Then, with the field down to eight, Java picked up pocket kings and saw two limps ahead of him. He popped it up to 1 million and saw Robins, one of the limpers, reraise to 2.8 million. Java shoved all in and was staring at a pair of sevens in the hole, but a flop rendered the cowboys second-best. That left Java with just 24 big blinds.
After that, a stalemate ensued. They played eight-handed for almost two hours, and eventually, the chip leader had just 33 big blinds. Finally, Minaya fell in eighth when he shoved with in the small blind and ran into the of Brian Powell in the big.
Java induced a bluff from Freitas when he flopped trip kings to move back into first and then won a crucial pot against Zachary Donovan. Donovan shoved all in for about eight big blinds from under the gun, and Java called in the small blind with . He was against , and a runout gave him a flush to eliminate the former chip leader.
Freitas then won a flip with pocket nines against the ace-queen of Mehallis to send him out sixth.
Java then opened from the button and called the shove of Powell, who had less than nine big blinds. Powell showed down and trailed the of Java. A flop gave Powell the pair he needed, but a king hit on the turn to deliver a winning straight for Java.
With that pot, Java moved to just under 31 million and nearly had his remaining three opponents covered. There wouldn't be another hand dealt, as the remaining players agreed to a deal that saw Java lock up about $42,000 less than the initial first-place payout of $272,508. Guevara got a little less than second-place money, while Robins and Freitas each cleared third-place money by about $15,000.
Photos courtesy of SHRPO
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