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Jun 16, 2015

2015 WSOP Quick Recaps: Events 16-20

By RTR Dennis

There have been more big stories packed into the last five events than at any other point in the 2015 WSOP. But none trump Phil Hellmuth winning his 14th-career gold bracelet, giving him a dominating four-bracelet lead over any other player in history. That said, let's discuss Hellmuth's incredible achievement along with the other great stories from WSOP Events 16-20.

Event #16: Engineer Adrian Buckley wins Millionaire Maker and $1.28m

The $1,500 Millionaire Maker drew a massive 7,275-player field, with everybody hunting for the $1,277,193 payout. And there were even some famous pros in this amateur-heavy event, including Olivier Busquet (3rd, $589,569), Erick Lindgren (7th, $193,675) and Mike Sexton (9th, $115,890), who all made strong runs at the gold bracelet. However, it was a semi-pro named Adrian Buckley who ultimately won the $1.28 million prize, defeating Spain's Javier Zarco ($791,690) heads up for the victory. Despite earning one of the largest windfalls at the 2015 WSOP, Buckley plans to return to his normal job soon, which involves being an engineer for defense contractor Lockheed-Martin.

Event #17: Phil Hellmuth wins Historic 14th Bracelet
It's been three years since Phil Hellmuth has won a gold bracelet, which is a lot in his world. However, the Poker Brat once again proved why he's the greatest player in WSOP history by adding a 14th bracelet in the $10,000 Razz Championship. As always, the Razz Championship featured a stacked field of 103 players, with Mike Leah (4th, $75,964), Stephen Chidwick (7th, $38,447), Brandon Shack-Harris (8th, $31,727) and Shaun Deeb (9th, $26,557) all making the final table. Hellmuth's last opponent was Mike Gorodinsky ($167,517), who made heads-up play interesting. But the Poker Brat mounted a comeback to collect his 14th-career bracelet along with $271,105.

Event #18: John Gale earns First Bracelet for Brits in $1k Turbo Hold'em

Last year, John Kabbaj was the only British player to collect a gold bracelet at the WSOP. This year, England is already on pace for better results since John Gale has taken down the $1,000 Turbo Hold'em event. It certainly wasn't easy for the 61-year-old retiree, who fought through a 1,791-player field to win this tournament. However, Gale, who also captured a bracelet in a 2006 WSOP PLHE tournament, played well enough to win his second-career bracelet and $298,290.

Event #19: Matt Elsby wins Six-Handed Limit Hold'em
Matt Elsby, a 38-year-old poker pro from Arizona, topped a 319-player field in this $3,000 Six-Handed Limit Hold'em event to win his first bracelet and $230,799. The final table ran quite long in this tournament, which made the last six players work for the gold bracelet. In the end, Elsby faced France's Gabriel Nassif heads up, with the latter seeking his first gold bracelet in 31 WSOP cashes. Unfortunately for Nassif, he came up short again ($142,631), allowing Elsby to instead grab the victory.

Event #20: Ben Zamani beats Natasha Barbour to win $1.5k NL Hold'em

Less than a week prior to this $1,500 NL Hold'em tournament, Ben Zamani had finished second place in the Event #14 $1,500 NL Shootout. Many players don't get a second chance to win a bracelet in the same WSOP - especially so quickly thereafter. But here was Zamani, battling through an 1,844-player field an into a heads-up match with Natasha Barbour. The latter was looking to become the first female winner of the 2015 WSOP, but she never overcame Zamani's chip advantage and settled for the $284,911 runner-up payout. As for Zamani, he picked up the $460,640 top prize and his first gold bracelet.