Chad Himmelspach of North Dakota earned his first-ever World Series of Poker bracelet and a payday of $270,877 on Wednesday, Nov. 17 by taking down Event #75: $1,500 Freezeout No-Limit Hold'em after a roller-coaster three-hour heads-up battle against Germany's Stefan Reiser. Himmelspach had to get through a field of 1,191 players in a tournament that generated a total prize pool of $1,589,985.
Himmelspach, who previously had $93,065 in live tournament earnings according to The Hendon Mob, entered the final table fourth in chips and stayed quiet in the early hours of Day 3. The eventual champion picked up steam by eliminating Tarun Gulati in sixth place when Gulati moved all-in with ace-nine. and Himmelspach re-jammed with pocket tens and held up.
Later, Himmelspach sent Day 2 chip leader Renmei Liu out in third when Liu moved in with queen-jack and Himmelspach called with pocket fives. Himmelspach's fives held up after the board ran out and he entered heads-up play with almost three-quarters of the chips in play.
Event #75: $1,500 Freezeout No-Limit Hold'em Final Results
|1||Chad Himmelspach||United States||$270,877|
|4||Kaue De Souza||Brazil||$89,344|
|6||Tarun Gulati||United States||$50,021|
|7||Nicholas Hubers||United States||$38,121|
|8||Seth Evans||United States||$29,416|
Intense Heads-Up Battle
Reiser, who was also after his maiden WSOP bracelet, quickly leveled out the playing field, including by catching a river bluff from his heads-up opponent. Reiser eventually took the chip lead and had Himmelspach down to a few big blinds at one moment.
The turning point came when Himmelspach picked up aces in the big blind and got it in against the pocket jacks of Reiser. The double-up gave him a lease on life and he used it to regain the chip lead and lean on his opponent.
Reiser eventually chipped down to a few big blinds himself and moved all-in with nine-three. Himmelspach called with pocket eights and Reiser couldn't catch a nine to stay alive. It would have been the second victory for Germany in the Amazon room on Wednesday, as Koray Aldemir a few yards away had been crowned the Main Event champion just minutes earlier.
In an interview with PokerNews, Himmelspach said he was "feeling good" about earning his biggest-ever tournament score, which was previously $30,730.
"It was (a) really back and forth (heads-up match), but, you know, we came through and had to stick it out," said Himmelspach.
Himmelspach noted that he had gotten down to a single blind toward the end of Day 1, "and I tripled up, and then doubled up again right away, and then I just rode it out."
“It’s just a mindset," he said. "You’re never really out of it. You always have a chance, you know. A chip and a chair. And you’ve just got to battle. It’s a battle, you’ve got to battle it out and you can’t give up.”
Himmelspach's victory comes after years of dedication to the game. He told PokerNews he began playing poker in 2003 after the Moneymaker Boom and started off by making $5 and $10 deposits on online poker sites.
“So I’ve been kind of a veteran, actually, at this point, since 2003," he said. "It’s kind of crazy.”
That wraps up the PokerNews live reporting team's coverage of Event #75: $1,500 Freezeout No-Limit Hold'em. Be sure to check out the team's coverage of other WSOP events in the meantime.