Obviously, this has been a challenging year for everyone around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But many have rolled with the punches. That includes the World Series Of Poker, which was postponed and reimagined.
Weeks of live poker tournaments at the Rio in Las Vegas were replaced with multiple online poker events in the US and overseas. Once the online segments were complete, a limited number of players convened to play at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino for a couple of small in-person events.
And now, the Main Event has its domestic-versus-international heads-up showdown ready for action.
Joseph Hebert Wins the US WSOP Main Event
Keeping with the theme of a different WSOP experience, play at the final table only lasted four hours. Joseph Hebert from Metairie, Louisiana, started the table of the US WSOP Main Event as the chip leader.
Hebert also finished as the chip leader and winner of the 2020 WSOP US Main Event. He’ll take home the $1,553,256 grand prize and WSOP trophy.
What’s more, he’ll play heads-up against international winner Damian Salas for a shot at another $1 million, the gold bracelet and bragging rights as the world champion.
Congrats to Joseph Hebert! He’s our official @WSOP domestic Main Event champion. We will see him again for the World Championship ? ? pic.twitter.com/cw9Wa0adPo
— Rio Las Vegas (@RioVegas) December 29, 2020
Ron Jenkins from South El Monte, California, finished second and pocketed $1,002,340. Unlike previous years, Herbert and Jenkins were the only players to walk away from the WSOP Main Event final table with more than $1 million.
Hebert held a 2-to-1 chip lead going into heads-up play against Jenkins. There wasn’t much head-to-head action, however. Hebert only needed one hand to take home the top prize from the Main Event.
Holding an Ace-Queen, Hebert watched as an ace appeared on the flop, allowing him to beat out Jenkins’ pocket queens for the title of US champion.
Hebert qualified for the $10,000 buy-in Main Event after participating in a $300 satellite tournament.
WSOP gets off to a rocky start
The domestic Main Event held its final table Monday evening. But even before shuffling up and dealing, there was a bit of drama for the first live WSOP tournament since early 2020.
Upeshka De Silva qualified to play at the final table from the online segment of the 2020 WSOP. Unfortunately, he tested positive for COVID-19 and wasn’t allowed to participate. He took home the ninth-place prize of $98,813.
The first two days of the 2020 WSOP Main Event were played online at WSOP.com. The 705-player field was reduced to nine for the live final table at the Rio. After De Silva was ruled out, only eight players participated.
The remaining eight participants in the US WSOP Main Event final table played for a grand prize of $1,553,256.
From the international bracket, Salas came out as the winner of the GGPoker international WSOP tournament. The two players will battle for $1 million and a gold bracelet Jan. 3.
2020 WSOP Final table prizes
While there were only two WSOP Main Event final table millionaires this year., the rest of the US final table participants fared relatively well.
Here’s how the payouts were distributed:
- 3rd place, Michael Cannon, $529,258
- 4th place, Ryan Hagerty, $387,130
- 5th place, Ye “Tony” Yuan, $286,963
- 6th place, Harrison Dobin, $215,222
- 7th place, Shawn Stroke, $163,786
- 8th place, Gershon Distenfeld, $125,885
- 9th place, Upeshka De Silva, $98,813