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Heath wins WSOP $50,000 High Roller

5 Jun 2019

Ben Heath

Ben Heath (photo by WSOP)

Name: Ben Heath
Nationality: United Kingdom
Birthplace: Brighton, England
Current Residence: Brighton, England
Age: 27
Profession: Poker pro
Number of WSOP Cashes: 12
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 2
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 6th at 2015 WSOP Event #51: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed ($77,591)
Total WSOP Earnings: $1,679,568

Brighton, United Kingdom poker pro Ben Heath has claimed the first seven-digit payday of the 2019 World Series of Poker by winning Event #5, High Roller - $50,000 No-Limit Hold'em for the 50th Annual WSOP. Heath's win in this special event was worth $1,484,085 and gave him his first career WSOP gold bracelet.

The $1,484,085 payday is by far the largest of Heath's WSOP career, and is the second seven-digit live cash of the 27-year-old Heath's career. Prior to this win, Heath was best known for taking down a major title in Australia in 2017.

Heath began the Day 4 finale with a narrow lead over a potent final table, as each of the other five players had already won WSOP gold. However, Heath emerged to claim his own first bracelet after leading much of the early action. Andrew Lichtenberger took the lead midway through the final, but Heath moved ahead again with a knockout of third-place finisher Sam Soverel.

As heads-up play began, Heath led Lichtenberger with 19.2 million to 14 million in chips. The two got their remaining chips in not long after, in a pre-flop, all-in showdown. Lichtenberger held the edge with A-K to Heath's A-J, but Heath caught a jack on the flop, no other help arrived, and the Event #5 title was his.

Lichtenberger, 31, earned $917,232 for the second-place effort, pushing him over the $4 million mark in career WSOP earnings. West Palm Beach, Florida's Soveral collected $640,924 for the third-place finish, more than doubling his career WSOP earnings.

Heath finished off the triumph in fortunate style, calling an all-in from Lichtenberger not long into heads-up play. Heath found himself behind to Lichtenberger, but the flop moved Heath ahead. The turn gave Lichtenberger extra outs to the straight, but the river wasn't among them, leaving Heath with the huge win.

He also talked a bit about the unusual hand featuring Soverel's out-of-turn fold, stressing that it didn't change the outcome. “Luckily, it was going in anyway,” he said. “Like, that would be a pretty tragic spot if I had a slightly worse hand.”

Heath cited repeatedly that he's not results-oriented, even though this was the biggest result, in monetary terms, of his live poker career. He wasn't even sure he wanted to win WSOP gold, but after the fact he admitted, “It feels better than I thought it would. I was real sure when I was younger that I didn't really want one. I'd take second. But I really wanted one this year.”

Then there's the short-sleep sideline. When he won his previous major in Australia in 2017, he took down the win after getting only three hours of sleep before the final table. The same thing happened here. Fresh off a flight in from Montreal and following three grueling days of action, Heath managed only two and a half hours of rest before returning to Event #5's live-streamed final.

That streamed six-player final table returned for a noon on Monday, with Heath leading the way with 7,630,000 in chips. Seventh-place finisher Elio Fox and eighth-place finisher Cary Katz were eliminated late on Day 3 but still made the official final table.

Two quick eliminations trimmed the field to four within the first 30 minutes of play. First, Chance Kornuth lost most of his stack to Dmitry Yurasov in the day's first major pot. Moments later Kornuth was all in and drawing thin against Andrew Lichtenberger. The board ran out ending Kornuth's brief day.

Just a few minutes later, Nick Petrangelo joined Kornuth on the rail. Petrangelo and Heath got all the chips in preflop. The board offered nothing over a ten, which sent Petrangelo off for a fifth-place payout while Heath regained the lead.

Four-handed action lasted over two and a half hours before Russia's Dmitry Yurasov busted. Yurasov's last hand began with Soverel opening for 400,000 and Yurasov moving all in for 4.93 million from the next seat. After Lichtenberger folded, Heath pondered, then tossed in a time-bank card to gain an extra 30 seconds to think.

Then, though, Soverel tossed in his live hand out of turn, likely thinking action was on him. This drew a protest from Yurasov, with Soverel quickly apologizing, while Heath then called and was ahead. The board ran out to finish Yurasov's run, worth $458,138. Later, Heath stated that he wasn't folding in that spot, but just wanted to think through the situation before calling or moving all in.

Heath held a healthy lead at that point, yet Lichtenberger clawed his way to the lead over the next few laps, as Soverel's stack grew short. Eventually, Soverel reraised over a Heath open for most of his stack, but Heath then moved all in himself, leaving Soverel to call off his remaining chips. Heath led Soverel, and Heath's hand held up on the runout.

That led to the big pre-flop collision where Lichtenberger had the better of it, but Heath spiked the jack to close out the win.

Event #5, High Roller - $50,000 No-Limit Hold'em for the 50th Annual, drew 110 entrants and created a prize pool of $5,280,000. 17 players made the money, with a min-cash worth $75,789.

Other notables
Among those cashing in Event #5 were David Einhorn (9th, $122,551), Manig Loeser (10th, $122,551), Sam Grafton (11th, $101,604), Matthew Gonzales (12th, $101,604), Elias Talvitie (13th, $86,543), Bryn Kenney (14th, $86,543), Johannes Becker (15th, $75,789), Eric Wasserson (16th, $75,789), and Markus Gonsalves (17th, $75,789).

Final Table Payouts:
1st: Ben Heath, $1,484,085
2nd: Andrew Lichtenberger, $917,232
3rd: Sam Soverel, $640,924
4th: Dmitry Yurasov, $458,138
5th: Nick Petrangelo, $335,181
6th: Chance Kornuth, $251,128
7th: Elio Fox, $192,794
8th: Cary Katz, $151,755

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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