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WSOP $3,000 HORSE bracelet goes to Strebkov

17 Jul 2019

Denis Strebkov

Denis Strebkov (photo by WSOP)

Name: Denis Strebkov
Nationality: Russian
Birthplace: Taganrog, Russia
Current Residence: Moscow, Russian Federation
Age: 29
Profession: Poker pro
Number of WSOP Cashes: 7
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 3
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 4th at 2019 WSOP Event #65: $10,000 PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better ($143,700)
Total WSOP Earnings: $474,865

Denis Strebkov has earned his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet by triumphing in Event #87 of the 2019 WSOP, $3,000 H.O.R.S.E.

The 29-year-old Strebkov emerged from a fiercely-fought final that included five previous bracelet winners. Strebkov, who resides in Moscow, Russian Federation, collected $206,173 for the win. The big payday is the largest cash of Strebkov's WSOP career, topping the $143,700 he won for a fourth-place effort in Event #65, $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, just two weeks ago.

Strebkov's final opponent was France's Paul Tedeschi, who is still seeking his own first WSOP bracelet win. Tedeschi's near miss was still worth $127,419.

Ohio pro Nick Guagenti came close to winning his own first gold bracelet but instead collected $85,265 for third, in the 52nd cash of his WSOP career.

Fourth place and $58,359 went to four-time bracelet winner Brian Hastings. Hastings, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, earned $85,265. Fifth place and $29,316 went to another previous bracelet winner, Moscow, Russian Federation's Andrey Zaichenko.

As one of Russia's top young pros, he's been coming to the WSOP since 2014, though this will stand as his breakthrough year. He's already been a highly regarded online player for several years, and this win adds to his growing live poker resume in a big way, though a drawn-out early start to this event's final table left each of the surviving players short on chips.

The swings during the last levels of the event due to those short stacks were on Strebkov's mind following his win. “When it was six-handed, we had six big bets each,” he noted. “We had really shallow stacks and the guys all played so good. Really tough players. I just got lucky – really lucky.”

Strebkov wryly noted that “the short stacks won the all-in every time. The big stacks [couldn't] win against the short stacks.” That created a topsy-turvy leaderboard that changed literally every hand, with each of the final six or seven players taken turns in the lead . . . and in the cellar as well. Strebkov emerged from that scrum to begin heads-up play against Tedeschi nearly even in chips, and after they traded action in a few hands, Strebkov quickly closed out the win.

Strebkov and all the other finalists had to deal with the noise and distractions of the Main Event's conclusion just a few yards away, though Strebkov claimed not to have been bothered by the raucous cheering. “It's OK! It's fun, I like it! It's like the fans in a football stadium. It's a very good atmosphere and I like it very much.”

Strebkov's late run in this near-Series-ending event also caused him to have to rebook his flight back to Russia, and though he'll have a day to celebrate before departing, most of his countrymates have already left the States. One exception was fellow Russian pro Andrey Zaichenko, who Strebkov busted late in the event. Zaichenko stayed at the rail to root Strebkov on and even supplied a “lucky beer” that Strebkov enjoyed during the tourney's final hands.

Event #87's final day began with 14 players still battling, and it took over three hours before an official eight-player final table was established with Albert Shim's ninth-place bustout.

Another long stretch of play elapsed before three-time bracelet winner Paul Volpe exited in eighth ($16,224). Volpe's run ended in a stud hi-lo hand against Andrey Zaichenko where Volpe was all in by fifth street. By the end of the hand, Volpe had a pair of kings and no low, while Zaichenko made an eight-high straight on sixth.

Jim Collopy, also the owner of a WSOP bracelet, busted in seventh ($21,540) during a round of Omaha hi-lo. His bustout hand against Guagenti began with Guagenti raising to 100,000, Collopy three-betting to 150,000, Guagenti calling and the two seeing the flop. Collopy bet, Guagenti called, and they saw the turn. Collopy bet again, Guagenti raised, and Collopy called. The river was the two of diamonds. Collopy checked, Guagenti bet again, and Collopy called off his last 40,000. Collopy had aces up, but Guagenti opened for the full house and the knockout.

Konstantin Puchkov hit the rail a short while later, amid the short-stack crunch. Puchkov, another prior bracelet winner and also one of three Russian Federation players who made the final, ran dry during a hand of seven-card stud against Brian Hastings. Strebkov had the open, Hastings completed, Puchkov re-raised all in, Strebkov folded out of the hand, and Hastings called. From there the hand was dealt face up to the river. Hastings made trip tens on fifth. Puchkov made trip sevens on fifth himself, but missed completing the full house and ended up with a second-best hand. Puchkov was left to collect his $29,316 sixth-place payday.

A lengthy span of five-handed play elapsed before Zaichenko busted in a round of Omaha hi-lo. Zaichenko, also the owner of a gold bracelet, was all after the flop against Strebkov. The turn and river gave Strebkov a modest pair of sixes that was still good enough, and Zaichenko was off to collect $40,876 for fifth.

Fourth place and $58,359 went to Hastings, who came up short in his second deep run this summer at a fifth career bracelet. Hastings busted in a hand of stud hi-lo against Guagenti where Hastings was all in by fifth street. Gaugenti filled a diamond flush on his last card, and Hastings bricked out on a low for a chop.

Guagenti's own trip to the cashier came a short while later. Guagenti busted after the game rotated to razz in a hand where he was all in by fifth street and both Strebkov and Tedeschi saw complete hands. Strebkov picked up the knockout when his hand made an eight-seven, while Guagenti pulled a worse eight-seven and a third-place, $85,265 payout.

That left Strebkov and Tedeschi virtually tied as they began their heads-up duel, but both players were so shallow that the first swing of pots decided it. The end came in a hold'em hand roughly 40 minutes later. Tedeschi raised from the button, Strebkov called, and they saw the flop. A raising war left Tedeschi all in and called. The turn gave Strebkov a flush and sealed the win, while an unneeded river closed out the action in this event.

Event #87, $3,000 H.O.R.S.E., drew 321 entrants to create a $812,700 prize pool. 46 players cashed and a min-cash was worth $4,463.

Among the notables cashing in this event were Tom Koral (13th, $8,098), Chris Wallace (19th, $5,841), Wendy Freedman (21st, $5,841), Justin Liberto (24th, $5,841), John Holley (26th, $5,180), Kevin Song (28th, $5,180), Max Pescatori (29th, $5,880), Cliff Josephy (31st, $5,880), and Brandon Shack-Harris (32nd, $5,880).

Final table payouts:
1st: Denis Strebkov, $206,173
2nd: Paul-François Tedeschi, $127,419
3rd: Nick Guagenti, $85,265
4th: Brian Hastings, $58,359
5th: Andrey Zaichenko, $40,876
6th: Konstantin Puchkov, $29,316
7th: Jim Collopy, $21,540
8th: Paul Volpe, $16,224

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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