It was a comeback for the ages for Hungary’s Tamas Lendvai, who came out victorious in Event #57: $600 Deep Stack Championship No-Limit Hold’em at the 2022 World Series of Poker at Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas, topping the field of 4,913 players, who generated a prize pool of $2,505,630.
Lendvai will take home a cash of $299,464 and the first WSOP bracelet of his career for his efforts. He defeated German Frank Reichel in heads-up play to capture the hardware.
Event #57: $1,000 Deep Stack Championship No-Limit Hold'em Final Table Results
|3||Jon Van Fleet||United States||$138,149|
|4||Alex Jim||United States||$103,994|
|5||Daniel Marcus||United States||$78,793|
|6||Abdullah Alshanti||United States||$60,196|
|9||John Ypma||United States||$28,129|
Lendvai entered Day 4 as the smallest stack on the table, at 7,800,000, less than eight big blinds. He managed to run his stack up and capture the title in just two hours, with the final hand being dealt just before the players would have otherwise gone on their first break of the day. He did so thanks to his aggressive play, frequently applying pressure by moving all in, slowly building his stack when most of his jams received no callers, and by having the goods when he did get a caller.
After the final card hit the felt and Lendvai had locked up the championship, he was overcome with emotion. After yelling and celebrating briefly with his rail, he collapsed to the ground with his face in his hands before pumping his fists in the air in pure bliss.
His supporters quickly climbed over the rail to celebrate with him.
After the excitement calmed down a bit, he told PokerNews about what this win meant to him, in a teary eyed, emotional interview.
“Since I’ve been playing poker I’ve been dreaming about this moment so what can I say… It means the world. It means everything and more for me and for my family.” He went on to give more context behind why his reaction was as emotional as it was, “I did this for my dad, who's battling cancer now. Dad, let’s do it.”
Lendvai, who has been playing competitively for well over a decade, with cashes dating back to 2007, finally broke through to capture his first career bracelet, doing so for his family. Some of whom were on the rail supporting him throughout, including his wife, his son, and several close friends.
Other notable deep runs included online player Jon “apestyles” Van Fleet (Third - $138,149), four time bracelet winner Jeremy Ausmus (14th - $14,119), and 2019 Main Event finalist Nick Marchington (15th - $14,119).
Final Table Action
Day 2 chip leader John Ypma was the first to fall from the proper final table, finishing in 9th place. Ypma had the second biggest stack when the field reached ten remaining players, but he lost a chunk after his queens were busted by Reichel’s trip jacks. He later doubled up Tsuf Saltsberg after losing a flip, which left him with a half of a big blind. He’d be eliminated once he got into the big blind, as his ten-deuce was no good.
Israeli Tamir Saidman was the next to fall, after running his jacks into Abdullah Alshanti’s ace king. Alshanti paired his king on the turn, and Saidman was eliminated.
When action resumed on Day 4, it was Saidman’s fellow Israeli Saltsberg who was the first knockout of the day. After doubling up Daniel Marcus and Reichel, who busted Saltsberg’s aces by flopping trip tens, his stack was down to just over a single big, and Lendvai knocked him out a few hands later with a flush.
Lendvai picked up his second knockout of the day when Alshanti ran his queens into Lendvai’s aces, knocking out Alshanti in 6th place. Lendvai then eliminated Marcus in fifth place by winning a flip with pocket fives, putting him in the chip lead, which he never relinquished.
Alex Jim, who entered the day as the big stack, was the next to leave the table for a fourth place finish, after Van Fleet flopped top pair against him and he was unable to improve.
The stage seemed set for Van Fleet and Lendvai to duke it out in heads-up play, as the two were both over 60,000,000, while Reichel had only around 20,000,000. That was until Van Fleet jammed with ace-ten in the small blind, while Lendvai woke up with pocket aces in the big blind. His aces held, and Van Fleet was eliminated in third place.
Later, Lendvai would go on to attribute some of his success to Van Fleet, telling PokerNews, “I know it’s only 140 bigs in play, so I can put pressure even with 10 big blinds. Ape [Jon “apestyles” Van Fleet], who was on the final table, he was the only one who knew what I was doing, I learned from his videos so shout out to him too.”
Heads-up play lasted only around 20 minutes. Reichel did manage to score a double up early, but Lendvai took down the championship when he flopped top pair and improved to trips on the river to beat Reichel’s king high.
"I'm the short stack most of the time," Lendvai told PokerNews with a laugh. "So I know what to do with the short stack. Obviously it's a dream come true."