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Jun 30, 2015

2015 WSOP Quick Recaps: Events 46-50

By RTR Dennis

Recently, there were quite a few first-time winners who achieved glory in the 2015 WSOP. A businessman who spends cold Alaskan winters playing poker, a pro who finished runner-up in an event last year, and Belarus' second-ever WSOP champ were all among the latest winners. However, we should also mention that a very familiar face was among the victors from Events 46-50 of the 2015 WSOP. That said, let's discuss this familiar face along with the other winners.

Event #46: Belarusian Vasili Firsau wins $3k PLO 6-Handed

Considering that only one Belarusian player (Alex Bolotin) had won a gold bracelet before the 2015 WSOP, it was quite strange to see two players from Belarus - Vadzim Markushevski and Vasili Firsau - battling on the final table of this $3,000 PLO 6-Handed event. Both players made strong runs through the 682-player field to be among the final six players, with Markushevski busting out in fifth ($76,373) and Firsau winning the tournament and $437,575. Also of note here was Canada's Daniel Idema, who was seeking his second gold bracelet of the summer, but ultimately settled for sixth place ($53,342).

Event #47: Matt O'Donnell takes down $2.5k NLHE amid Fiery Rails

Few WSOP events have ever featured as much emotion as this Event #47 $2,500 NL Hold'em tournament did. American Matt O'Donnell and Israel's Timur Margolin fought through this 1,244-player field to meet heads up. And the action was intense both between the two players and their rails. O'Donnell and Margolin's supporters exchanged barbs throughout this back-and-forth matchup, which lasted for several hours. By the end, O'Donnell got enough hands going his way that he pulled away with the victory and $551,941, while Margolin settled for $341,338. Besides winning his first bracelet, O'Donnell also avenged his second-place finish in last year's $10,000 PLO Championship.

Event #48: Eli Elezra wins Third Bracelet in $1.5k Seven Card Stud

Eli Elezra saw his poker fame soar in the mid-2000s, as his appearances on "High Stakes Poker" and talkative nature earned him plenty of fans. And what's nice is that Elezra is still winning in the game today, battling through this 237-player field and on to the $112,591 top prize. This was Elezra's third WSOP victory, with his first two coming in 2007 and '13; but this one seems really special to him! "It’s the game many of us grew up on and it’s played by the most experienced players," said Elezra. "When I won the Deuce-to-Seven (2013) that was very nice, but I really take extra pride in this one because so many well-known players have won it before me."

Event #49: Alaskan Young Ji wins $1.5k PLO Hi-Lo

As many know, Alaska is a very cold place. And Young Ji, who owns a business in Anchorage, uses hours of poker to pass the freezing Alaskan winters. Just recently, all of these hours culminated in an Event #49 $1,500 PLO Hi-Lo victory. Ji, who was born in South Korea, navigated through an 815-player field and on to the $231,102 top prize. "[My confidence comes from] putting in a lot of hours [of mixed games] over a 25-year period," Ji explained. "As far as Alaska, I’ve lived there for 25 years. We have long winters and everybody finds indoor entertainment. One of them is poker. I did put in a lot of hours the last 25 years."

Event #50: Ben Yu overcomes Big Chip Deficit to win Limit Hold'em Championship

Ben Yu continued his impressive 2015 WSOP by winning the $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship and $291,456. This now gives the 29-year-old six cashes in the 2015 WSOP and his first-career bracelet. It definitely wasn't easy for Yu to win, though, especially after he battled through a 117-player field and into three-handed play. It is here where he barely had any chips, against much bigger stacks held by Jess Martin (2nd, $180,114) and Justin Bonomo ($130,480). Nevertheless, despite being the underdog, Yu never gave up and is now a WSOP champion as a result.