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Online Poker Legend Jason Strasser Wins WSOP-C Choctaw for $332,589

Jason Strasser
  • Jason Strasser hasn't lost his touch, as he proved by winning WSOP-C Choctaw for $332K.

Poker fans of today might not recognize the name "strassa2," but those who have been following the game for over a decade certainly know that it once belonged to Jason Strasser, one of the stars of the game in the early online years.

Like a poker version of Vince Carter out to prove the game hasn't passed him by, Strasser showed up at World Series of Poker Circuit Choctaw Main Event and proved he's still got it, topping a field of 1,249 Monday night to claim a $332,539 first-place prize, the biggest in his live poker career.

"It's great," said Strasser, who left poker as a profession behind years ago for a career in hedge funds. "Honestly, I don’t get to play much poker these days and the final table, the way it played out, we were three-handed for a long time and it was really, really fun. I had a great time."

Official Final Table Results

1Jason StrasserNew York, NY$332,539
2Krzysztof StybaniewiczLakewood, CO$206,085
3Viet VoPearland, TX$151,248
4Trung PhamTemple, TX$114,284
5Gil GeorgeDallas, TX$87,211
6Mark van KeirsbilckN/A$67,128
7Casey BrownCypress, TX$52,271
8Will BerryNorman, OK$41,180
9Jeffrey TrudeauOrlando, FL$32,824

There would be 135 places paid and plenty of notables making the money in this one. Among those cashing were Justin Liberto, Dan Sindelar, TJ Cloutier, Tex Barch, Blair Hinkle, Allen Kessler and Nick Pupillo.

Just 18 players began the final day, with Strasser one of the shortest stacks to start according to the live updates. However, he found an early double in lucky fashion when he got {10-Clubs}{7-Clubs} in on {k-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{2-Clubs}{8-Clubs} against {k-Hearts}{4-Spades} and rivered a flush.

Meanwhile, Viet Vo had worked up a stack of over 5 million by the 25,000/50,000/5,000 level as he surged to the final table lead after finishing sixth in this event last year for $76K.

Thirty-two hands into official final table play, Mark Van Keirsbilck and Jeff Trudeau got in a flip that resulted in the first elimination when the latter couldn't improve with ace-jack against fives.

Oklahoma native and two-time ring winner Will Berry then busted in eighth when his {a-Clubs}{10-Clubs} couldn't get there after a 15-big blind three-bet shove over Trung Pham who had {q-Spades}{q-Clubs}.

With seven players left, Strasser won the biggest pot to that point of the tournament. He had built up over 5 million from his start-of-day count of about 500,000 and opened the pot to 175,000 at 40,000/80,000/10,000 with {10-Spades}{10-Clubs}. Casey Brown three-bet him and Strasser moved all in for 2.1 million effective. Brown called immediately since he had {a-Spades}{a-Clubs} but a ten-high flop doomed him and gave Strasser a big lead.

After Van Keirsbilck went out in sixth, Strasser scored his next elimination when he dominated Gil George with {a-Hearts}{q-Spades} against {q-Clubs}{j-Spades}. That gave the former online whiz more than 40 percent of the chips four-handed.

Krzysztof Stybaniewicz next won a huge flip with {a-Hearts}{q-Hearts} against the pocket sevens of Pham to bust him in fourth and put himself in good position for another huge Circuit score. Stybaniewicz claimed one of the bigger first-place prizes in recent WSOP-C history when he won the 2015 WSOP-C Hammond Main Event for $356,043.

Three-handed play would last several hours, during which period Strasser got hit by a vicious cooler when he and Stybaniewicz each made kings full on a board of {k-Spades}{9-Spades}{2-Clubs}{8-Spades}{k-Hearts}. Stybaniewicz had the nut full while Strasser had kings full of eights, though, resulting in Strasser dropping from first to third in chips.

However, Strasser would storm back into the lead only to be bitten by the same beat that propelled him into the lead. This time, he held the aces and Stybaniewicz the tens, and again a ten-high flop arrived, pushing Stybaniewicz into the lead again.

Fate would give Strasser another chance with aces, though, and this time the bullets held up when Vo shoved 16 blinds on the button with fives.

That left Strasser heads-up against Stybaniewicz with each player looking for a second WSOP-C Main Event title — Strasser had won his at Foxwoods in 2013. Things were nearly even with both players over 12 million at 120,000/240,000/40,000.

A limped pot and a flop of {8-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds} would prove to be the turning point. The players got in a raising war that ended with Strasser all in for about 9 million holding the nuts with {9-Spades}{7-Diamonds}. Stybaniewicz had outs with {8-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} but found no help on the {j-Spades} turn or {10-Hearts} river.

Reduced to 20 big blinds, Stybaniewicz soon found himself flipping for his stack with {a-Spades}{9-Spades} against {8-Clubs}{8-Hearts}. The board ran out with no help to either hand, securing Strasser the win and a seat in the 2018 Global Casino Championship, while Stybaniewicz had to settle for a still-handsome payday of $206,085.

Here's a look at all of the ring winners in Choctaw:

$365 Monster StackAdam Mirliss$49,673
$365 ReentryLou Garza$158,104
$365 TurboCody Pettit$32,761
$365 Big OJohn Clanton$21,238
$365 NLHEJeffrey Trudeau$23,183
$365 NLHEJianmin Xu$21,854
$580 NLHERobert Hankins$25,873
$365 Six-MaxMax Young$27,059
$1,125 NLHEMichael Sanders$45,361
$1,125 PLOSochetra Chansan$46,982
$365 NLHEWayne Lovell$55,829

Photo courtesy of WSOP.

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