Event #90: $10,000 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Championship at the 2023 World Series of Poker at the Horseshoe and Paris, Las Vegas attracted a massive field of 550 runners, generating a total prize pool of $5,155,000. On Monday, July 17, just four players returned for an unscheduled fourth and final day.
While each of them had locked up a minimum payday of $306,555. Given the calibre of the players left, none would be happy with anything less than the $1,057,663 up top, along with a much sought-after WSOP bracelet in one of the more prestigious events on the poker calendar.
After only 90 minutes of play, France’s Alexandre Reard rode a boisterous rail to victory after besting British all-time money leader Stephen Chidwick in heads-up play to more than double his previous best live cash and become the first French player to win two bracelets in the No-Limit Hold’em.
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The win is especially impressive as the Main Event Final Table was taking place in the background on the second and third days. This naturally generated a great deal of noise as well as other potential distractions. Reard did not seem too affected by that, as he said he had worked on his mental strength coming into the series and was “playing in his own bubble.” In fact, he seemed to relish what he described as a “great atmosphere”, some of which came from a large group of vocal supporters.
Although Reard entered the day as the runaway chip leader with more than half of the chips in play, things did not go his way in the early stages. First, he doubled up AJ Kelsall in a blind on blind encounter. Not long after, Justin Liberto picked off a bluff to send Reard sinking back down into the pack.
“I did feel some pressure coming into the day because I knew that in France, everyone was expecting me to be at least in the top two,” Reard told PokerNews.
Despite the early setbacks and the added pressure to bring the bracelet home for his country, Reard kept a level head to get the job done. “I wasn’t that worried. I changed my strategy and had to adapt.” Whatever adjustments he made, they clearly worked as he managed to fight back and claim victory.
The win was clearly larger than the man himself as a huge contingent of French supporters playing in a tournament series back in Paris erupted in cheers upon hearing the news. His wife, who was also playing in that series, reportedly broke down in tears when she found out her husband had triumphed.
Event #90: $10,000 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Championship
|2||Stephen Chidwick||United Kingdom||$653,688|
|3||AJ Kelsall||United States||$443,259|
|4||Justin Liberto||United States||$306,555|
|5||Eli Berg||United States||$216,319|
|6||Eric Baldwin||United States||$155,809|
Day 3 Final Table Action
The official final table of six was set fairly late into Day 3 after Michael Rossitto fell in seventh place, his king-queen dominated by Kelsall’s big slick.
At that point, things did slow down significantly, with just two more eliminations in the final three levels. Eric Baldwin was the unfortunate first casualty of the final table when he ran straight into Reard’s jacks. Next to go was Eli Berg after a rampant Reard made maximum use of jacks for a second time.
With big money jumps on the line, play continued to be cagey for the remainder of the night, necessitating the addition of a fourth and final day to whittle the remaining players down to a winner.
Final Day Action
Reard immediately got to work leveraging his big stack to put significant ICM pressure on his opponents. That strategy did not go according to plan, however, as he quickly saw his chiplead evaporate with the stacks flattening out. The eventual winner managed to turn things around by claiming the first elimination of the day after he put a beat on Liberto to send the latter out in fourth place.
Kelsall had been towards the bottom of the chip counts for much of the final table but managed to win several crucial all-ins at various points to stay alive. His luck eventually ran out when he doubled up Chidwick to leave himself with dust before seeing his remaining chips shipped over to the same opponent a couple of hands later.
That elimination set the stage for a heads-up showdown between Reard and Chidwick. Reard entered that portion of the tournament with a 3:1 chip lead and never looked back. On the last hand, Chidwick flopped top pair, but it was bested by the turned straight of Reard to bring matters to a conclusion.
While Chidwick came up just short in his bid for a second WSOP bracelet, he can add another large score ($653,688) to further cement his status as one of the best players in the world and get close to cracking the top three on the global all-time money list.