A little more than a year after winning a World Series of Poker circuit ring, Gal Yifrach won another piece of WSOP jewelry. He emerged victorious in Event #28: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed, besting a field of 868 players to win the first-place prize of $461,798.
Born in Israel and now living in Los Angeles, the 31-year-old entrepreneur considers poker more of a hobby than a profession but has a solid poker résumé. With eight WSOP and five circuit cashes under his best, Yifrach was appreciative of the winning feeling.
"You don't make a final table every tournament," said Yifrach. "I was fortunate enough and am happy my family and girlfriend came to support me. I'm very happy. Everybody has hopes, and everybody is hoping to get very far. I was fortunate enough to get there."
Final Table Results
|1||Gal Yifrach||United States||$461,798|
|2||James Mackey||United States||$285,377|
|4||Aaron Mermelstein||United States||$133,731|
|5||Darren Rabinowitz||United States||$93,917|
Event #28: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed drew 868 players and after 10 levels played on Day 1, Christian Rudolph led the remaining 186 players. Just 131 of them would make the money on Day 2 and after another 10 levels on Day 2, only 20 were still in the hunt for a coveted gold bracelet and the first-place prize of $461,798.
Rudolph rode his Day 1 chip lead to 11th in chips following Day 2, but busted in 19th place. Meanwhile, end-of-Day 2 chip leader Ben Palmer bubbled the official final table, finishing in seventh place for $48,823. Others who made deep runs but fell short of the final table include Jason Mercier (16th - $20,975), Tony Dunst (13th - $20,975) and Yorane Kerignard (9th - $36,164).
For Yifrach, his path to the final table started smoothly as he returned on Day 2 17th in chips of the remaining 186. He was on the shorter side to begin Day 3 sitting 15th in chips of the remaining 20 players, but chipped up early in the day before winning a coinflip against Dunst to leave just 12 players remaining.
Yifrach chipped up a little more by the time the official final table of six players was reached, sitting second in chips. Ana Marquez (6th - $67,116) was eliminated shortly after the final table began, and Darren Rabinowitz (5th - $93,917) followed her to the rail about two hours later. On the 56th hand of the final table, Yifrach seized the chip lead for the first time and held it for just about the rest of the way. Aaron Mermelstein (4th - $133,731) fell a little while later, and Yifrach was comfortably in the lead with about two-thirds of the chips when three-handed play began.
In the last batch of hands from Day 3, Yifrach doubled up both James Mackey and Gary Hasson, meaning a fourth day would be necessary for a winner to emerge.
Hasson battled valiantly but was unable to overcome his chip deficit, falling in third place for $193,716. The heads-up battle between Yifrach and Mackey was brief, lasting just seven hands. Starting down nearly 2:1 in chips, Mackey quickly moved back to basically even in chips before the final hand took place.
After the turn of an eight-high board, Mackey shoved with pocket tens. Yifrach called after about three minutes in the tank and trailed with ace-eight, but an eight landed on the river to give him the victory.
"When you run good you play good, as well. It comes hand in hand. It's a great feeling."