From a total of 1,025 entries, Ben Maya emerged triumphant in Event #43, claiming a World Series of Poker gold bracelet and the first-place prize of $257,764.
Maya, who is a complete unknown in professional poker circles, overcame two tough 10-handed tables over the first two days on his way to this stunning result. On Day 2 at his table, he outlasted such luminaries as November Niner Vojtech Ruzicka and 888Poker Ambassador (and the biggest online tournament winner in history) Chris Moorman.
Maya’s game was aggressive, unpredictable, and ultimately highly effective. He grew in confidence as the tournament progressed, and that belief and a dose of good fortune here and there ultimately saw him victorious.
Speaking to PokerNews immediately after his win, a dazed-looking Maya said, “I’m shocked. All the people I play with will be shocked. I have my own business. I’m a realtor. There is no one following me at home. No one knows.”
He continued: "There is no poker in Israel, so I won’t tell anyone. Maybe my family. I’m here on business, and I fly home tomorrow. I played the $10k six-max and only lasted a few hours, and then I only played this because it is a three-day event and it ends today.”
Maya was planning to fly out tomorrow but now says he will turn up in person for the bracelet ceremony on Monday to bask in the applause of the poker community — but most of all, to hear the Israeli National Anthem being played to celebrate his victory.
Alex Rocha raised to 50,000 from the cutoff, and Tim West three-bet to 180,000 from the button. Ben Maya called from the small blind, and Rocha shoved all in for 932,000 in total. West folded, and Maya asked for the initial raise of 180,00 to be pulled in the pot so he could see how much more he had to put in. The dealer did just that. Maya counted out the chips and some other stacks, and in the end, he called.
The board ran out . Maya rivered an ace to give him top pair and knock Rocha out of the tournament.
Day 3 of Event #43: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em SHOOTOUT at the World Series of Poker starts today at noon local time. Twelve out of 1,025 players that started on Tuesday will return to play.
Tim West is leading the field but the stacks are all pretty close to each other due to the shootout format. West already has two WSOP Circuit rings but will be looking to add his first bracelet to his achievements. Matas Dilpsas is the player with the shortest stack with a difference of only four big blinds less. This will be his highest WSOP cash up till now and he’ll be looking to bag the win in the end.
Other notable players remaining are multiple WSOP Circuit ring winners like Steve Foutty, Alex Rocha, Robert Kuhn, and bracelet winner Paul Michaelis. They are all guaranteed a minimum cash of $16,844, but they will be aiming for that WSOP gold bracelet, $257,764 for first, and bragging rights.
The blinds will begin at 3,000/6,000 with an ante of 1,000 and they will continue playing until a winner has been crowned. The levels will be 40 minutes long with a 15-minute break every three levels and an hour-long dinner break around 6:30 p.m.
This is what the final 12 players are playing for:
Keep following the live updates from start to finish here on PokerNews to find out who will take that bracelet home with them.