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
|1||Femi Fashakin||United States||$1,147,449|
|2||Paul Cullen||United States||$709,183|
|4||Nick Chow||United States||$405,132|
|5||Walter Atwood||United States||$308,701|
|7||Adrian Curry||United States||$182,192|
|9||David Rasmussen||United States||$109,922|
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.
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.
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.
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.