As the 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) winds to a close, Event #84: $50,000 High Roller saw a massive uptick in entries from last year to this year. A total of 176 entrants came out to play this iteration of the high roller, creating a prize pool of $8,404,000. From that starting, only five returned on Friday to play for the WSOP bracelet.
At the end of the day, it was Bulgarian high roller Alex Kulev taking home his first WSOP bracelet with a career-best score of $2,087,073.
“I’m just very grateful and very excited to be here,” the newly crowned champion said surrounded by his supportive rail. “It has always been a dream of mine to win a bracelet, and doing it in this event against this type of field is the best that it can be.”
Kulev had also final tabled the WSOP $250,000 No-Limit Hold’em event earlier in the 2023 series. Finishing in fourth place for $1,632,005 was his best result ever at the time. This time he came into the day with the chip lead and only relinquished it once throughout the final table.
“The best players in the world came out to play this tournament,” he said about the tough competition, “I max-late-regged with 15 big blinds, so it was very touch and go for a bit but when the cards want you to win, they usually let you win.”
With this score, Kulev rises to number one on the all-time Bulgaria money list, with career earnings of $6,630,310.
“It feels good, but it doesn’t take away from the other players high on that list. Ognyan Dimov and Dimitar Danchev have helped me a lot in my career and I don’t like to rank them in any way, it’s just an honor to be there.”
The 28-year-old had nothing but kind words to say as he left the tournament surrounded by his friends on his rail.
2023 WSOP Event #84 Final Table Results
|3||Jake Schindler||United States||$957,491|
|7||Brandon Wittmeyer||United States||$301,859|
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Action Of The Day
With five players returning today, it did not take long for action to kick off. The first hand of the day saw the elimination of Koray Aldemir when he check-raise jammed with second pair and the nut flush draw against Gergely Kulcsar, who had flopped three nines. The flush draw did not come home on the turn and the 2021 WSOP Main Event champion ended his run in fifth place for $533,561.
The next one to leave was Daniel Smiljkovic who moved in his final chips with ace-jack and Kulcsar called him with ace-ten. The flop came out safe enough, but the turn paired with Kulcsar’s kicker and the river didn’t with Smiljkovic’s, which saw the WSOP bracelet holder’s exit the tournament in fourth place for $713,413.
Three-handed saw Kulcsar relinquish the chip lead as Kulev began to rise up. Chips were exchanged between the three players as Kulcsar dipped to the shortest stack for a bit.
Next out the door was WSOP bracelet winner Jake Schindler, who exited in third place. Schindler moved in his final chips with ace-eight and Kulev called him with ace-nine. The flopped nine had Kulev lock up the board on the turn as he took a massive lead while Schindler collected $957,491 for his efforts.
Kulev came into heads-up play with a massive chip lead that grew as he won a big pot in heads-up play with three twos. A couple of hands later, Kulcsar moved all in with ace-five over an open for 14 big blinds, only to have Kulev call with ace-nine. The board provided no help for Kulcsar as Kulev won his first WSOP title and the Bulgarian player collected a career-best score of $1,289,909.
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