Salt Lake's Robert Mitchell Wins Event #37: $800 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack ($297,537)
It took three days for a field of 2,808 to be whittled down to one, and in the end, it was Salt Lake's Robert Mitchell who captured his first ever WSOP gold bracelet in Event #37: $800 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack. The 41-year old claimed the first-place prize of $297,537, the largest slice the nearly $2,000,000 prize pool had to offer. The American caught a hot streak of cards early on the final day and rode it all the way to the eventual gold.
Not for the first time this summer, the tournament was finished off in style: holding pocket aces, Mitchell's sole remaining opponent Marco Bognanni raised it up with pocket threes. Mitchell put in a three-bet with the blades, and Bognanni whispered the two words everyone holding aces wants to hear:
The four-bet shove was for more than fifty big blinds and a pot of nearly all the chips in play. Sweated by a large group of friends, after each of them hastily made their way to the Amazon room to rail their buddy, they saw five blanks roll off the deck. Mitchell jumped in the arms of his ecstatic rail, high-fived every single one of them and was lifted onto their shoulders.
The accomplishment means Mitchell can now call himself a WSOP gold bracelet winner. Validation is the first thing that sprung to the new champ's mind, although his love for the game outweighs the now-complete chase for the gold.
"Obviously, the money is surreal, but that's what poker players play for - the bracelet. To have one now on my resumé feels good and it gives me more validation as a poker player."
With someone sporting a love for the game as Mitchell does, his plans with the unexpected windfall of nearly $300k are clear: it's business as usual.
"I'll be here for the rest of the series. I'll just be grinding, going back at it."
Event #37: $800 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack Final Table Results
|1||Robert Mitchell||United States||$297,537|
|7||Benjamin Moon||United States||$42,524|
|8||Zachary Mullennix||United States||$32,561|
Mitchell was coming off a 17th place in Event #17: No-Limit Hold'em Shootout, which meant he won his first table and got close to winning the second.
"Actually, that Shootout helped me a lot, getting so close to a bracelet," Mitchell said. "I kind of played a little too fast three-handed, here I realized I was gonna pick my time, be in the moment, and play my best game. That tournament helped me win this one."
Whereas others may feel a deep run like that may not happen on short notice - or ever again - the Shootout bolstered Mitchell's spirits that he was close to winning the big one.
“One-hundred per cent it did. I knew I was going to have another shot at it. I’ve been playing poker for a long time and felt like it was long overdue. It’s awesome.”
Action of the Day
While his spirit was high, the cards certainly fell Mitchells way too. Especially in the early stages, it seemed he could do no wrong as the field of 26 that started the day quickly got whittled down to 12 in the early stages. Mitchell, who started the day with just 20 big blinds, quickly working up his way to the biggest stack overall after winning several key coin flips.
Start-of-the-day chip leader Hamid Feiz was one to fall to Mitchell and finished in 15th place when Mitchell check-raised a king-high flush all in on the river. Feiz called, mucked his cards, and saw a depressing day for him come to an end before the big money was divided.
The final table officially consisted of two previous bracelet winners - Nick Jivkov and Benjamin Moon - but it would only be the latter that took a seat on the Amazon Thunderdome stage. Jivkov was knocked off at the same time Josh Boulton busted at another table, and Jivkov took ninth place without playing a hand at the final table. There would be no repeat performance for Moon either, as he ran his pocket nines into Axel Hallay's pocket tens to bust in seventh.
Six players made themselves up for a final table live streamed on CBS All Access. Despite the deep-stacked play allowed by the structure, Kamel Mokhammad quickly fell to Mitchell by jamming his jack-ten into Mitchell's ace-ten. Bognanni then snapped off Benjamin Underwood in fifth with a flopped full house against a rivered straight. Not too long after, Francois Evard bowed out in fourth after whiffing ace-queen versus Hallay's fives.
That left Hallay, Bognanni, and Mitchell to duke it out three-handed with deep stacks. The trio did so for hours on end, with nearly equal stacks at some point. About 60 hands after Evard's bust, it would be Hallay who'd be the first to break. The Frenchman, backed by a boisterous rail of countrymen as is tradition, three-bet shoved ace-jack over a Mitchell open, only to be snapped off by ace-king. Five blanks later, the field was heads-up.
With more than fifty bigs for each player and hour-long levels, a long grind seemed to loom ahead for both. Instead, some perfect timing with aces gave Mitchell his victory soon into the heads-up battle. There was only one thing he could think of; he ran to his rail and celebrated the improbably-quick victory with his friends.
"It's such a surreal feeling to have everybody here on the side. I've known the guys for a long time, throughout the Salt Lake community, it was an awesome feeling. I was so happy I could win it for them too."