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Former finance analyst captures WSOP Millionaire Maker title

15 Jun 2017

Pablo Mariz

Pablo Mariz (photo by WSOP)

Name: Pablo Mariz
Nationality: Canadian
Birthplace: Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada
Current Residence: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Age: 27
Profession: Online poker player
Number of WSOP Cashes: 8
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 8
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 2nd – 2017 WSOP Event #10: $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold'em ($46,537)
Personal Facts: Was formerly a finance analyst before deciding to try grinding online as a full-time career. Is known on online poker sites by his "No Thank You?" handle.

The four-day Event #20: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em MILLIONAIRE MAKER is officially in the books, and Pablo Mariz has taken the whole thing down, pocketing a staggering $1,221,407 and Canada's first 2017 World Series of Poker gold bracelet. Mariz defeated Dejuante Alexander in just 23 hands, with a faithful and loud rail from the start of the day. Alexander earned himself $754,499 for his runner-up finish today.

The official final table lasted seven and a half hours, and 161 hands before a winner was crowned. This event attracted an impressive 7,761 entries across two starting days, good for the second-biggest Millionaire Maker event since the first once in 2014. A total of 1,165 players made money, also making this the second-biggest number of payouts awarded in a single tournament in WSOP history. The tournament lasted a total of 39 levels, with the final day concluding in just under 12 hours.

Heads-up play began with Alexander holding a lead over Mariz. In the first several hands, Alexander got it in with aces while Mariz held pocket threes. The dealer fanned the flop, and Mariz found a miracle three to double through. Alexander was left with just 13 big blinds and got it in with king-three against Mariz's ace-ten. The board looked like it was running out clean for Mariz until a king hit the river and Alexander found new life. He eventually took the lead, but Mariz climbed back.

In the final hand, Alexander shoved with ace-three off suit and was called by Mariz holding queen-jack off suit. The flop and turn were clean for Alexander, but the queen of spades hit the felt on the river and Mariz locked up the win. Mariz explained how the queen of spades saved his tournament life with just 15 players left on Day 3 as well. It came on the river, just like it did today, and he plans to get this tattooed on himself in the near future.

Mariz already had an impressive run before his win today, coming in second place in the $1,000 Tag Team event just last week with his partner David Guay. Hailing from Montreal, Quebec, Mariz now has his first career win locked up, and it's for a million dollars and a gold WSOP bracelet, no less.

The 2017 Millionaire Maker champion was overcome with emotion as he embraced his best friend and playing partner after the victory. When asked to describe how it feels, Mariz said it was a dream come true.

"We come here every year, grinding small events hoping to hit something big, and we finally did!"

Mariz has not found a full-time job since completing his degree in finance over two years ago, but he said that is not a concern anymore. Mariz and his friend often come to the WSOP for the first two weeks and base how long they will stay on their results. "I think we are going to be staying the rest of the summer, at least until the Main Event is over. I'm going for WSOP Player of the Year now."

Mariz is sure to be sitting at the top of the leaderboard in the Player of the Year race when the rankings come out in the morning with his victory in the Millionaire Maker.

Alexander may have fallen short, but he has an impressive resume in his own right and locked up his largest score in this event, almost doubling his career earnings to $1.5 million. He owns a WSOP circuit ring and has made a ton of final tables. Alexander may not have walked away with his first bracelet today, but he is a familiar face on the poker circuit and will most certainly be one to watch as the series progresses.

The field was massive, but a ton of familiar faces went deep, including Ralph Perry (12th place - $86,375), Brian Altman (14th place - $68,022), Kenny Hallaert (17th place - $53,962), Jessica Dawley (30th place - $34,718), Matt Affleck (31st place - $34,718), Joe Cada (42nd place - $28,160), Brian Rast (75th place - $13,147), Bertran Grospellier (100th place - $8,054), Frank Kassela (142nd place - $8,054), Dutch Boyd (154th place - $8,054), Humberto Brenes (180th place - $6,948) and David Pham (225th place - $6,948).

Final Table Action
While 11-handed play lasted almost two and a half hours after the elimination of Ralph Perry, Senovio Ramirez III was eliminated in 10th place ($86,375) in just the first few minutes of play when the unofficial final table came together. He shoved his short stack in the middle with ten-three of hearts but ran into Mariz's pocket tens and couldn't hold on.

Hector Martin was next to go in ninth place ($110,476) after he got his remaining chips in the middle with queen-eight of clubs. Mariz called with king-jack off suit and turned Martin dead to knock out yet another player. Shortly after, Thiago Grigoletti doubled Bryce Yockey up with queen-jack suited after running into his aces and was left with one big blind after the hand. He got it in with king-high in the next hand and couldn't improve, taking home $142,323 for his eighth place finish.

Play continued on for another hour before Jonathan Gray got the last of his chips in the middle with king-high. He was grinding a short stack for most of the day and finally fell to Marc MacDonnell after he flopped two pair. Gray pocketed $184,663 for his deep run. Just 15 minutes later, Yuriy Boyko would find himself on the rail in sixth place ($241,303). He got it in good with ace-high, but Mariz was too hot and rivered a pair of tens to send yet another player packing.

Another hour of play went by, with Yockey nursing a short stack and finding a much-needed double up. He eventually piled his stack in the middle with king-ten suited and found himself flipping with Mariz holding pocket threes. The board ran out dry and Yockey had to settle for $317,544 for his fifth place finish.

Four-handed play resumed after a one-hour dinner break, and Alexander found himself at the top of the leader board after doubling up twice in the first two hands. Alexander Farahi also found his way towards the top, eventually eliminating MacDonnell with king-nine off suit and cracking his pocket jacks. MacDonnell came in to the final table with the second-most chips and earned himself $420,805 for his fourth place finish.

Farahi found himself at the top at one point, but the lead changed more than a handful of times before Farahi finally fell in third place ($561,530). He held ace-deuce of spades and was up against Alexander's ace-nine. The board ran out dry and Farahi was headed to the rail.

As mentioned, heads-up play was a roller coaster ride for both players and was a fitting way for Mariz to scoop up a whopping $1,221,407 and his first gold WSOP bracelet.

1. Pablo Mariz, Canada - $1,221,407
2. Dejuante Alexander, U.S. - $754,499
3. Alexander Farahi, U.S. - $561,530
4. Marc MacDonnell, Ireland - $420,805
5. Bryce Yockey, U.S. - $317,544
6. Yuriy Boyko, Ireland - $241,303
7. Jonathan Gray, U.S. - $184,663
8. Thiago Grigoletti, Brazil - $142,323
9. Hector Martin, U.S. - $110,476

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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