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First WSOP gold bracelet win for Dan Smith

5 Jun 2022

Dan Smith

Dan Smith (photo by WSOP)

It was a grueling match to finish off the 2022 World Series of Poker Event #6: $25,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship but in the end, Dan Smith captured his very first gold bracelet along with $509,717. Smith was emotional after his victory over Christoph Vogelsang who was forced to settle for second place and $315,029.

For many in the poker community, Smith has been known as 'the best player without a bracelet' but he will no longer have to walk around with that title after topping the capped-out 64-player field. The American poker pro has come close on numerous occasions at the WSOP including a second-place finish at the 2016 High Roller for One Drop where he cashed for over $3 million. Along with eight top-three finishes, Smith has accumulated over $10 million at the summer series in Las Vegas over his short career.

Smith admitted he was in shock after the match, considering it was a whirlwind of a day: "It was a tough match, a lot of hands were pretty crazy and it felt like everything was going against me. I'm not typically a sentimental person, but today is and was about the bracelet. I had to get lucky to get there but I'll take it."

"It was always something I was thinking about," Smith pointed out about not having a WSOP title before this victory. "But I wasn't overly stressed about it not happening yet."

Giving back to charity is something that is also very important to Smith and he has created the Double Up Drive as his way of giving back to those that are less fortunate. It is something that he holds very close to his heart but Smith was willing to expand on it after his match.

"I'm very proud of what I accomplished in poker and I think this is an important checkbox on my legacy as one of the all-timers. As wild as that is, I'm even more proud of what the whole poker community and I have come together to do with Double Up Drive. We have raised $25 million for good causes and while I love poker, thousands of people that would have died are now alive because of that. I am happy that poker has been my vessel to do this good but I am immensely proud and optimistic that it will continue to do well."

The field was capped at 64 runners when it all started three days ago. A high-profile tournament on the WSOP schedule no doubt attracted many big names in the poker community including Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, and Erik Seidel, among others. However, just eight players were able to grab a piece of the prize pool and only four players made it to the final day.

Smith started off his semifinal against Dario Sammartino while Vogelsang faced off against Kevin Rabichow. Both matches remained fairly even through the opening levels but both Smith and Vogelsang started to pull away after the first break. Vogelsang was the first to finish his match after turning a pair of queens against the pocket sevens of Rabichow. All of the chips went in the middle of the river and Vogelsang was fortunate enough to advance.

Smith found himself at risk against Sammartino at one point but woke up with the larger of the two pocket pairs and held for a double up. From there, Smith picked away at Sammartino's short stack, and eventually, the two both found an ace and got it all in. Smith trailed but managed to hit his kicker on the flop and Sammartino was eliminated.

The heads-up final between Smith and Vogelsang started off slow but it quickly gained momentum as the blinds grew. The two players traded the chip lead back and forth and it was Smith who found himself on the verge of being eliminated. However, a timely double-up with pocket sixes put Smith back in the lead. Just moments later, the two players both picked up an ace and got their chips in the middle preflop.

It was Smith who held ace-four, the same hand he eliminated Sammartino with earlier in the day. Vogelsang had the dominating ace-ten but a four on the flop put Smith just two cards away from victory. Vogelsang was unable to improve on the turn or the river which brought applause from the room inside Bally's Ballroom.

Despite things looking grim for Smith earlier on, he said it was a constant battle throughout the match. "Big buy-in, tough field, every match super tough. People love to give Christoph a hard time but he's a hell of a player. He's tanking because he's really considering every spot. I didn't steal a pot easily, every pot was a fight. This was one of the cooler ones to win."

Smith continued to elaborate that even though it took some time to finally win his first WSOP bracelet, he still considers his career a great success. "I've had great World Series results. Just because I happened to mostly get third place in WSOP events, if that's the way my career or life has been unlucky, that's incredibly fortunate. I think my results have been great without the 'W' but this helps."

Final Table Results
1st Dan Smith United States $509,717
2nd Christoph Vogelsang Germany $315,029
3rd Dario Sammartino Italy $193,537
4th Kevin Rabichow United States $193,537
5th Sean Winter United States $75,045
6th Jonathan Jaffe United States $75,045
7th Chance Kornuth United States $75,045
8th Dylan Destefano United States $75,045

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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