14 Years in the Making: Alex Keating Wins His Maiden Bracelet at the 2023 WSOP

The curtain has closed on Event $94: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em at the 2023 World Series of Poker at Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas.

The penultimate event of the series saw 813 players pony up the money for a shot at WSOP glory – a huge increase of last year’s figure of 573. After two days of battle at the baize, it was Alex Keating who prevailed, claiming his first WSOP bracelet, having first cashed in a WSOP event in 2009.

Final Table Results

Place Player Country Payout
1 Alex Keating United States $701,688
2 Guoliang Wei China $433,662
3 Nozomu Shimizu Japan $305,474
4 Marcello Delgrosso Canada $208,402
5 Alexandros Kolonias Greece $158,525
6 Josh Reichard United States $116,842
7 Christian Harder United States $87,470
8 Jason Hickey United States $66,526

With many of the summer’s recreational players already on their way home, the event was stacked with big-name pros. Viktor Blom, Alex Foxen, Alex Livingston, David Peters, and Phil Laak were just a few of poker’s elite who tried but ultimately failed to add to their resume.

Day 2 Action

David Peters
David Peters couldn’t get the job done

When the remaining players returned this afternoon, Peters was sitting at the head of the pack. But he was unable to parlay yesterday’s run into a win, eventually falling in 20th place.

Pat Lyons briefly looked like he was making a run at the top spot when his rivered trips catapulted him into the chip lead with just two tables remaining. But that hand marked the end of his run-good and his chip count quickly went south, leaving him to finish in 15th place.

Thai crusher Punnat Punsri finished on the final table bubble when he ran into Nozomu Shimizu’s pocket Jacks.

Final Table Action

By the time the tournament got nine-handed, Keating and Shimizu were putting a stranglehold on the opposition and looked the most likely to be duking it out for the bracelet.

Massoud Eskandari was the first to bust the single-table stage, his ace-jack no match for Marcello Delgrosso’s ace-king.

Jason Hickey was next to go after getting his short stack in against Nozomu Shimizu.

Christian Harder
Christian Harder

Christian Harder fell shortly afterward – his pocket sevens unable to hold versus Josh Reichard’s king-nine.

It would be Josh Reichard to go next though, Shimizu claiming another victim at the final table.

Alexandros Kolonias followed shortly after, when Keating hit a miracle river.

And Keating did for Marcello Delgrosso in fourth, with another fortunate run-out.

Shimizu, who had provided plenty of entertainment, exited in third, unable to overcome Wei’s pocket eights. Shimizu’s third finish in third this summer left Keating and Wei heads up.

Winner’s Reaction

Alex Keating
Alex Keating

Asked how he felt in the moment of victory, Keating simply said, “Good… yeah, not bad actually”, before adding, “I’m thinking about what I’m supposed to do right now”.

Reflecting on an earlier bad beat, when his aces were cracked by Lyons’ ace-queen, Keating said, “Usually, I’d be really upset there but for some reason this tournament had a casual vibe to it and I was just like ok…”

“For how huge of a pot that was, I was still third or fourth in chips.”

Keating who, by his own admission, had gone “zero for forty” during the series, said his celebration will entail some first-class flights to a friend’s wedding: “I wasn’t planning on drinking on it, but I guess… y’know – they bring you caviar and champagne. That’s going to be my way of celebrating.”

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