Norway's Espen Sandvik has become the fourth bracelet winner of the 2019 World Series of Poker Europe in King's Resort. Sandvik reigned supreme at the end of Event #5: €2,500 8-Game Mix and received €75,246 as well as the coveted WSOP gold bracelet. He follows in the footsteps of Thor Hansen, Sigurd Eskeland, and Annette Obrestad as the fourth bracelet winner from the Scandinavian country.
Phil Hellmuth, meanwhile had his quest for bracelet No. 16 cut just short. He was relegated to a third-place finish, adding to his nearly $15M in lifetime WSOP winnings.
Much to the delight of the crowd, Hellmuth was making a very deep run in this event and ensured a packed rail at times in King's. "The Poker Brat" came very close to improving further on his legacy, but, like the others, ultimately had to tap out to the relentless Norwegian, who knocked out each of his opponents single-handedly.
Being challenged by a driven and arguably the most successful player in WSOP history isn't for the faint of heart, and Sandvik admitted the thought about a possible heads-up looming with the 15-time champ crossed his mind.
"I was hoping not to play heads-up against him, because maybe I'd become a bit more nervous then," he said.
Despite these jitters, Sandvik added that he's not one to easily become flustered, and quipped back at Hellmuth when asked if he was nervous, as Hellmuth tried to leverage his experience over the opposition. The calm Norwegian kept his composure and did so as well when he explained what winning a WSOP gold bracelet meant to him.
"More confidence and more inspiration to work harder," he said, explaining that playing within his roll kept him confident. "I'm mature in bankroll management, the buy-in of the Main Event is too much. I don't take too big risks. I feel good about playing like this and not be nervous."
Event #5: €2,500 8-Game Mix Final Table Results
|Place||Player||Country||Prize (EUR)||Prize (USD)|
|3||Phil Hellmuth||United States||€31,058||$34,695|
|4||Jeff Madsen||United States||€21,386||$23,890|
Blom, Negreanu Miss Out on the Money
Twenty-six players returned at 3 p.m. to King's Resort to play down to a winner, with only a money finish waiting for 11 of them.
At the start, Sandvik was still an unknown face positioned in the middle of the pack, far away from the spotlights that were being hogged by big dogs such as Viktor Blom, Eli Elezra and Daniel Negreanu. However, the arduous nature of limit poker reared its head once again, providing some brutal swings along the way that caused many a player to yo-yo up and down the leaderboard as the day progressed.
Perhaps the one player that's eponymous when it comes to swings in poker, online legend "Isildur1" Blom, ran into the bad side of variance today. Despite starting the day off second in chips, Blom became one of the early casualties after losing several sizable limit pots before getting his aces cracked in his signature pot-limit Omaha game by Kahle Burns.
Burns was also responsible for knocking out Negreanu, whose run came to an end shy of the money as well. "Kid Poker" found himself in good companionship, as fellow big names Jeff Lisandro, Allen Kessler, Manig Loeser and Eli Elezra also missed out on another WSOP cash. David "ODB" Baker was the bubble after losing a nine-low to Madsen's seven-low in razz.
Once in the money, Tomasz Gluszko and Didier Rabl were the ones having to settle for min-cashes, as did Burns who lost queens versus Joao Vieira's kings in stud. After Sebastian Pauli finished in eighth place, it was Vieira who bowed out next, despite holding the chip lead not long before that. First, the 2019 bracelet winner lost part of his stack to Hellmuth before Sandvik broke him in stud with a full house versus a flush.
Sandvik Steamrolls the FT
With the knockout of Vieira, Sandvik started the official final table with a sizable chip lead and strapped the rocket accordingly. Shortly after the dinner break, he knocked out Jochen Kaiser in triple draw, then toppled Thomer Pidun in razz to leave the field with four.
Not done yet, Sandvik subsequently took Jeff Madsen apart in fourth place. Holding jack-eight of spades on a king-eight-three flop with one spade, Sandvik got it in against Madsen's pocket tens. Two more spades came on the turn and river to give Sandvik an overwhelming chip lead against Hellmuth and Ville Haavisto.
"I was hoping not to play heads-up against [Hellmuth]"
Twenty minutes after Madsen's bust, it was Hellmuth who became the next to fall to Sandvik. In triple draw, Hellmuth check-called all the way in a hand where both players kept drawing until the final draw. Sandvik showed him a made eighty-seven to leave Hellmuth with crumbs, which he lost the next hand.
Sandvik started the heads-up with an 18-to-1 lead against Haavisto, who got his stack in on the very first hand to try and turn things around. Still in triple draw, Haavisto was drawing live on the final draw against a pat queen-low, but bricked by pairing his hand to make Sandvik the fourth bracelet winner of the 2019 World Series of Poker.