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WSOP $400 Colossus event bracelet goes to Paul Hizer

28 Jun 2022

Paul Hizer

Paul Hizer (photo by WSOP)

If the ace of spades is the prettiest card in the deck, a king is right up there for Paul Hizer. Twice at today's final table of Event #51: $400 Colossus the Englishman had his tournament life on the line. Twice a king peeled off to save him. It's the one card that made Hizer the newest World Series of Poker bracelet winner and $414,490 richer.

Hizer has been a professional poker player for around six years and played recreationally for several years before that. But he had never won a tournament before, despite $474,000 in career winnings before this event. He had made it to heads-up play four times but had come up short each time. That all changed today, as Hizer was the last man standing in a mammoth field of 13,565 players.

"It means a lot," Hizer said following his win. "Played many tournaments. Had lots of deep runs. But I've never actually won a tournament outright. I don't know if many people know that about me. I'm sure my close friends do. And maybe today was just written in the stars and I was meant to go all the way. I felt really confident, I felt like I had a really good game plan, and I'm just really thankful that it worked out."

Hizer entered the final table in second chip position out of the final seven players, but still solidly behind chip leader Sam Laskowitz. With the average stack being only 19 big blinds at the start of the final table, there was little room for error or maneuvering.

Anthony Ruttler would be the first to bust, finishing in seventh place after running into the pocket queens of Luong Quach. On the first hand back from a 15-minute break, Jeff Loiacono picked up aces and moved all in for 19,000,000, with Hizer calling in the big blind.

Hizer didn't improve and Loiacono doubled up, but he wouldn't last much longer after losing to Laskowitz's hand to bust in sixth place.

Losing that pot began a long slide for Hizer. After Quach was eliminated in fifth place, Hizer was down to less than three big blinds during four-handed play before doubling up against the hand of countryman James Scott. A few hands later, the two Englishmen would clash in another pot that would be pivotal to the fates of both players.

From the small blind, Scott moved all in for 59,500,000 and Hizer called, barely having Scott covered. If Hizer lost this pot, he would be on an extreme short stack, his bracelet dreams all but gone. Scott gave him further bad news when he showed his hand, having the cards of Hizer crushed. The flop was no help, but the King of Clubs came on the turn as Hizer's exuberant rail erupted in celebration.

The river cemented Scott's elimination in fourth place, and it wasn't long before Laskowitz took out Jordan Pelon in third place to take a 412,000,000 to 131,500,000 chip lead into heads-up play.

Hizer chipped up somewhat in the early going before moving all in for 169,500,000 on the button. Laskowitz snap-called with two threes and was racing against Hizer. The board ran out and Laskowitz was one card away from the win. But the King of Hearts appeared on the river, and once more the British rail had cause for celebration.

"To be honest, I went to bed last night and I tried to kind of manifest some run good," Hizer said. "Just having all my friends behind me screaming and shouting, and just for there to be some antics and some drama, I think that's what makes final tables exciting. I'm pleased I didn't go out on like a dry board or I didn't go out on a bit of a limp. Tournaments are high variance, and today it was written in the stars for me to win."

Hizer extended his chip lead when he picked off a bluff on the board, then, with the blinds increasing to 8,000,000-16,000,000, put Laskowitz all in for his last 118,500,000. Laskowitz eventually called as Hizer turned over his cards. Neither player hit the board and Hizer got the proverbial monkey off his back with ace-high. For Laskowitz, the 29-year-old New York native playing in his first live tournament, the $256,170 he earned would have to be a consolation prize.

The bracelet was the prize at the end of a long road for Hizer. Some of his friends on the rail said they had been playing with him since 2008. He didn't know a lot about poker then, but he's dedicated his life to the game over the last few years and that work paid off.

"I've applied a lot of my time to playing poker. I've made it my profession over the last six years. My parents initially weren't so pleased. It's not the career choice they wanted for me. Like always in life, I just trust my gut and I did my best," he said.

Hizer admits he doesn't know what he's going to do with the money just yet but says he plans on staying in Las Vegas for the next three weeks to play tournaments at the WSOP and other casinos.

He had a special person in his mind after the win. Hizer calls Steven Jackson like a second father figure. Jackson passed away a few years ago, and Hizer dedicated the win to him. "He's forever in my heart and I love him to pieces. Steven, this is for you," he said.

Jackson and the rest of his rail would be proud of him. Now it's time for them to go out and celebrate his new reign as Colossus champion.

Final Table Results
1 Paul Hizer United Kingdom $414,490
2 Sam Laskowitz United States $256,170
3 Jordan Pelon France $193,240
4 James Scott United Kingdom $146,680
5 Luong Quach United States $112,060
6 Jeff Loiacono United States $86,160
7 Anthony Ruttler United States $66,670
8 William Gian United States $51,930
9 Sean Shah United States $40,710

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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