The atmosphere more closely resembled a World Cup soccer match than a World Series of Poker (WSOP) final table.
It came down to Jose Ignacio “Nacho” Barbero against Fabiano Kovalski, Argentina versus Brazil, and the boisterous South American rail surrounding the final table inside the Bally’s Event Center erupted in celebration whenever one of them took down a pot.
In the end, it was Barbero, already a poker icon back home in Argentina, who became a WSOP bracelet winner after taking down Event #67: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold’em, outlasting a starting field of 419 entrants to win a $587,520 top prize. He also collected 16 bounty chips for an additional $48,000
Barbero had 47 WSOP cashes dating back to 2006 and five final table appearances but had never managed to capture the elusive bracelet. When the last card hit the table and he had defeated Kovalski, he rushed into the arms of his friends, a giant Argentinian flag draped over the rail, as he celebrated a dream come true.
“It feels amazing. I’m so happy. Literally, my dream in poker was to win one. It’s amazing,” Barbero said following his win. “I’ve been coming since 2007, I think, or 2005. So many close ones and never could close it out. And, finally.”
Event #67: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty Final Table Results
|5||Maria Ho||United States||$131,655|
|6||Andrew Lichtenberger||United States||$97,002|
|9||Paul Chauderson||United States||$42,970|
Final Table Action
Barbero went on a late rush at the close of play on Friday to take a massive chip lead over the final six players and wasted no time in adding to his advantage. He forced Andrew Lichtenberger all in from the small blind, and Lichtenberger called with ace-seven from the big. Barbero, holding nine-eight, paired his eight on the flop and “LuckyChewy” couldn’t catch up to finish in sixth place.
Maria Ho, who was also looking for her first bracelet, attracted her own large rail, but her day was cut short when she found herself all in with king-ten against Kovalski’s pocket sevens. Kovalski flopped a set, and the popular poker ambassador and commentator fell in fifth place.
Barbero knocked out Dutch poker legend Rob Hollink in fourth, his ace-eight staying out in front of Hollink’s king-jack. He also finished off Ilya Nikiforov, outdrawing the Estonian with ace-seven against ace-eight by hitting a seven on the turn.
That set up a heads-up match between Barbero and Kovalski. It wasn’t quite Neymar vs. Messi, but a large contingent of South American media came to capture the action. Barbero had a chip lead of around 17 million to Kovalski’s 8 million. The end came when Barbero limped in from the button, Kovalski jammed, and Barbero called with king-queen of clubs. Kovalski, with king-deuce, couldn’t catch up to finish as runner-up. He took home $363,116, an incredible result after beginning the day with just 425,000, less than two big blinds.
South American Pride
Barbero became the fourth Argentinian to win a WSOP bracelet, joining 2020 Main Event champion Damian Salas, Ivan Luca, and Andres Korn. His fellow countrymen on the rail were there to celebrate and party all the way.
“The South American rail is the best. All of my friends came. The vibe was amazing,” Barbero said. “I felt like I wasn’t going to lose any hands, and it kind of went like that, actually. Ran super pure and everything went perfect.”
For someone with such a large volume of poker experience, Barbero plans to celebrate the bracelet the only way he knows how: by jumping right into another tournament. He’s already planning to play the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship, which he calls one of his favorite events.
An actual celebration will have to wait a while. “I’ve been really focused. I haven’t gone out. I’ve just been very focused on trying to win something because I had a really rough month. I don’t know if I’m going to celebrate, but maybe tomorrow night,” he said.
That concludes PokerNews’ coverage of Event #67. Stay tuned throughout the rest of the 2022 WSOP for all the action from Paris and Bally’s. Click here to see what other tournaments are taking place right now.