US Poker Open MSPT $1,600 Venetian
Event #3: BIG 50 - $500 No-Limit Hold'em

Event Info

Prize Pool $13,509,435
Players 28371

Level Info

Level 51
Blinds 15,000,000 / 30,000,000
Ante 30,000,000
Event #3: BIG 50 - $500 No-Limit Hold'em
Day 5 Completed

Femi Fashakin Wins Event #3: BIG 50 - $500 No-Limit Hold’em for $1,147,499

poolshir • Level 51: 15,000,000-30,000,000, 30,000,000 ante
Femi Fashakin
Femi Fashakin

The largest live tournament ever with 28,371 entries, Event #3: BIG 50 - $500 No-Limit Hold’em, has come to an end with Femi Fashakin as the champion, winning a life-changing $1,147,499 and his first gold WSOP bracelet. After four days of play here at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino it took almost seven hours of play on the final day for Fashakin to defeat Paul Cullen heads-up to claim the title in this special event which was created to celebrate the 50th Annual World Series of Poker.

Fashakin had almost $60,000 in cashes before this whopping win but is now a millionaire. The first words he uttered after winning: “Overwhelmed, it’s really amazing, super excited. I can't even describe it but I’m also grateful and it's a humbling experience. It’s my third cash at the WSOP here in Vegas and I think it’s been okay so far! I didn’t really plan a celebration because I wasn’t sure. But I had a feeling! Today I sprinted in the hallway of the hotel and I thought: when I get to the end of the door, I’m going to stop there and visualize the bracelet. I did that sprint and I saw it…”.

The BIG 50 Final Table Results

PlacePlayerCountryPrize (USD)
1Femi FashakinUnited States$1,147,449
2Paul CullenUnited States$709,183
3Rafi ElhararIsrael$534,574
4Nick ChowUnited States$405,132
5Walter AtwoodUnited States$308,701
6Daniel GhobrialCanada$236,508
7Adrian CurryUnited States$182,192
8Morten ChristensenSingapore$141,126
9David RasmussenUnited States$109,922
Big 50 Final Table
The Big 50 Final Table

Fashakin started the day with the chip lead when all seven players returned to the Thunderdome in the Amazon Room. They were all guaranteed at least $182,192 but would all be vying for more. In the very first hand of the day, Daniel Ghobrial shoved with the shortest stack of all holding ace-king. He was called by Fashakin who held the same cards and the pot was chopped as expected. Shortly after he did find a double-up with king-queen against Walter Atwood’s ace-ten by hitting a king on the river.

Adrian Curry was the shortest after Ghobrial doubled and was eliminated in seventh place when he four-bet shoved his last fourteen big blinds and was called by Rafi Elharar. Curry’s pocket tens couldn’t beat the kings of Elharar. Eight hands later, the curtains finally did fall for Ghobrial as he shoved with ace-trey and was called by both Elharar and Nick Chow. The board ran five-nine-six-five before Elharar got pushed out of the hand by a bet of Chow who held queen-five for trip fives. As Ghobrial was drawing dead, he said his goodbyes to the rest of the table in sixth place.

Cullen was the short stack after Ghobrial was eliminated but doubled through Atwood with pocket aces which now meant Elharar became the short stack. With a pretty shallow final table, the role of being the shortest on the table would be assigned to almost all players at one point throughout the day. But after the first break of the day, it was Atwood who left the stage next when his shove with king-ten was called by Chow with ace-seven. Chow flopped top pair and Atwood picked up a gutshot but bricked the turn and river to be sent to the cashier to collect his fifth-place cash.

Nicholas Chow
Nick Chow finished in fourth place for $405,132

Chow had already taken over the chip lead but only increased it even more after the elimination. The chip lead switched several times between Chow and Fashakin during the two and a half hours of four-handed play. Fashakin had prepared for this final table: “I had a strategy in mind to grind out the other opponents and the mid-stacks but things flipped around really quick. I think I didn’t understand exactly how Chow would play so I had to slow down a little bit. I played some hands a little bit different from what people might expect just to understand how he was playing. I had to pick my spots and switch up the strategy. The other players were really cool but I don’t think we had as much interaction as I had with Chow”.

Just after the third break of the day, Chow was finally chopped down by Fashakin after he had doubled up once while Elharar and Cullen doubled up twice during the previous two levels. Chow was ahead preflop with ace-four as Fashakin held queen-ten. The flop came queen-five-deuce, all hearts. Fashakin flopped top pair and had a flush draw but Chow picked up a gutshot to a wheel. The turn was a jack which didn’t change things but the trey on the river was a heart which did give Chow the wheel but gave Fashakin the flush to eliminate him in fourth place.

Rafi Elharar
Rafi Elharar and friends

Cullen doubled up once more before Elharar was done for the day as he ran his king-six into the ace-trey of Fashakin. Israel’s Elharar had one of the most supportive or loudest rails together with Fashakin who all comforted him after being eliminated. Heads-up play took less than 30 minutes as Fashakin had more than 70% of all the chips in play.

In the eighth hand of heads-up play, Cullen three-bet shoved his last ten big blinds with queen-jack and was gutted to see he was called by Fashakin who held the rockets. He did manage to flop a queen but got no further help from the board. The Canadian citizen who is a Las Vegas resident had only cashed once before during the WSOP when he finished in 1916th place in the first-ever edition of the COLOSSUS in 2015 which was the largest live poker tournament until now. With $709,183 added to his bankroll, who knows where he will go now.

Femi Fashakin and Paul Cullen
Femi Fashakin and Paul Cullen watch the runout of the board of the final hand

Here are some facts to conclude the coverage of this historical event: there were 1,418,550,000 in chips in play, the total prize pool was $13,509,435 which is the largest ever for a $500 buy-in tournament, 709,725 physical poker chips were used, there were 17,790 unique players, 4,258 players were in the money, and 1,208 dealers were used for the four opening flights. Keep following the updates the PokerNews live reporting team will bring you throughout the summer to see who else will win a bracelet.

Tags: Adrian CurryDaniel GhobrialFemi FashakinNicholas ChowNick ChowPaul CullenRafi ElhararWalter Atwood

Paul Cullen Eliminated in 2nd Place ($709,183)

poolshir • Level 51: 15,000,000-30,000,000, 30,000,000 ante
Paul Cullen
Paul Cullen

Hand #207: Femi Fashakin called on the button and Paul Cullen raised to 140,000,000. Fashakin shoved and Cullen called for the 312,000,000 he had left.

Paul Cullen: {q-Spades}{j-Clubs}
Femi Fashakin :{a-Hearts}{a-Diamonds}

The flop came {2-Clubs}{q-Hearts}{8-Clubs} for Cullen to hit a pair of queens.

The turn was the {4-Spades} which didn't change anything as Cullen was still behind against the aces of Fashakin. Only another queen or jack would keep him in the running but the {10-Diamonds} on the river wasn't what he was hoping for as he was eliminated as the runner-up. Cullen collected $709,183 which will boost the Las Vegas resident's bankroll by a lot.

Stay tuned for a full recap of the largest live poker tournament ever held coming soon.

Femi Fashakin us 1,418,000,000 312,000,000
Paul Cullen US Busted

Tags: Femi FashakinPaul Cullen

Hands #204-206: Cullen Left with Ten Big Blinds

poolshir • Level 51: 15,000,000-30,000,000, 30,000,000 ante

Hand #204: Paul Cullen raised to 75,000,000 on the button and Femi Fashakin three-bet to put Cullen all-in who snap-folded.

Hand #205: Fashakin shoved on the button to put Cullen at risk who folded immediately.

Hand #206: Cullen shoved on the button for 252,000,000 and Fashakin didn't make the call.

Femi Fashakin us 1,106,000,000 75,000,000
Paul Cullen US 312,000,000 -75,000,000

Tags: Femi FashakinPaul Cullen

Hands #199-203 : Fashakin Over the Billion Mark

gaellej • Level 51: 15,000,000-30,000,000, 30,000,000 ante

Hand #199: Femi Fashakin called and Paul Cullen checked. The flop came {10-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{j-Clubs} and Cullen bet 60,000,000. Fashakin let it go.

Hand #200: Cullen completed and Fashakin raised to 75,000,000. Cullen folded his hand.

Hand #201: Fashakin raised to 80,000,000 and Cullen mucked his hand.

Hand #202: Cullen completed and Fashakin raised to 80,000,000, which was enough to win the pot.

Hand #203: Fashakin folded and Cullen earned the pot.

Femi Fashakin us 1,031,000,000 75,000,000
Paul Cullen US 387,000,000 -75,000,000

Tags: Femi FashakinPaul Cullen

Heads-Up Play Coming Up

poolshir • Level 51: 15,000,000-30,000,000, 30,000,000 ante

The players were sent for a short break while the table was being set up for heads-up play which will commence soon.

Rafi Elharar Eliminated in 3rd Place ($534,574)

poolshir • Level 51: 15,000,000-30,000,000, 30,000,000 ante
Rafi Elharar
Rafi Elharar

Hand #198: Rafi Elharar shoved from the small blind for 155,000,000 and Fashakin confirmed the amount with the dealer before tanking to consider his options. After a while, Fashakin opted to make the call.

Rafi Elharar: {k-Hearts}{6-Diamonds}
Femi Fashakin: {a-Diamonds}{3-Spades}

The flop came {3-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} for Fashakin to flop a pair of treys.

The turn was the {2-Hearts} which didn't change anything, only a king on the river could save Elharar's tournament life but he bricked the river as the {9-Clubs} completed the board to seal the deal.

Elharar was sent to the payout desk to collect $534,574 which is almost four times as much as his whole lifetime career earnings in live tournaments.

Femi Fashakin us 956,000,000 155,000,000
Paul Cullen US 462,000,000
Rafi Elharar il Busted

Tags: Femi FashakinRafi Elharar

Hands #193-197: Cullen Stays Alive

poolshir • Level 51: 15,000,000-30,000,000, 30,000,000 ante
Paul Cullen
Paul Cullen

Hand#193: Femi Fashakin raised from the small blind to put Paul Cullen all-in in the big blind. Cullen called for the 186,000,000 he had behind.

Paul Cullen: {a-Spades}{k-Hearts}
Femi Fashhakin: {j-Clubs}{10-Spades}

The flop came {2-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{2-Diamonds} to not change anything. The turn was the {3-Hearts} to keep things the same and the river completed the board with the {k-Clubs} for Cullen to double up as he hit the pair of kings.

Hand #194: Fashakin raised to 75,000,000 from the button and picked up the blinds and ante.

Hand #195: Fashakin got a walk.

Hand #196: Fashakin completed his small blind and Cullen raised to 80,000,000 in the big blind for Fashakin to fold.

Hand #197: Fashakin raised to 75,000,000 on the button and got no action.

Femi Fashakin us 801,000,000 135,000,000
Paul Cullen US 462,000,000 -15,000,000
Rafi Elharar il 155,000,000 -195,000,000

Tags: Femi FashakinPaul Cullen

Nick Chow Eliminated in 4th Place ($405,132)

gaellej • Level 51: 15,000,000-30,000,000, 30,000,000 ante
Nicholas Chow
Nicholas Chow

Hand #192: Nick Chow moved all in in the small blind for 143,000,000 and Femi Fashakin made the call.

Nick Chow:{a-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}
Femi Fashakin: {q-Clubs}{10-Hearts}

The flop fell {q-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{2-Hearts}, giving Fashakin a pair of queens as well as the redraw to the flush. The turn {j-Spades} and river{3-Hearts} improved his hand into a flush and he eliminated Chow in 4th place.

Femi Fashakin us 666,000,000 -73,000,000
Paul Cullen US 477,000,000 306,000,000
Rafi Elharar il 350,000,000 30,000,000
Nicholas Chow US Busted

Tags: Femi FashakinNick Chow

Hands #191: Small Pot for Cullen.

gaellej • Level 51: 15,000,000-30,000,000, 30,000,000 ante

Hand #191: Paul Cullen shoved for 171,000,000 from the button and won the pot.