Shaun Deeb defeated a field of 212 entries to win the 2021 World Series of Poker $25,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha high roller, earning $1,251,860 and his fifth career WSOP bracelet. This was the second time that Deeb won this particular high-stakes PLO tournament, having also emerged victorious with the gold and a seven-figure payday back in 2018. The 35-year-old poker pro became just the 28th player in poker history to secure five titles at the series. Deeb has his sights set much higher, though.
“Oh, I’m going to pass Phil [Hellmuth] eventually,” Deeb told PokerGO reporters after coming out on top. “It’s going to take me a while, but I’m going to pass Phil. He’s a great player when he’s sharp, but he can’t play every day like me. When he wins a bracelet, he’s not hopping in the next event like I’m going to do, and that’s going to help me out. Plus, I think online I’m a stronger player and there are so many more online bracelets. I’m going to catch him one day. It’s going to take me a decade or two, but I’ll be there.”
Hellmuth secured his fifth bracelet a few months ahead of his 29th birthday. When he hit that milestone in 1993, there were just 21 bracelets awarded at that year’s WSOP. This year there are set to be 188 bracelets awarded across the WSOP in Las Vegas, the WSOP Europe festival, and extensive WSOP Online offerings.
Deeb earned his first bracelet by winning the 2015 $10,000 pot-limit hold’em championship. The following year he emerged victorious in the $1,500 seven card stud event for his second title at the series. His third and fourth bracelets were both won in 2018, with Deeb taking down the fourth running of this $25k PLO event before winning the $10,000 six-max no-limit hold’em championship. More than $6.1 million of his total live career earnings of $10.1 million have come in WSOP bracelet events.
In addition to the bracelet and the money, Deeb also earned 1,260 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was only his second POY-qualified score of the year, but it alone was sufficient to see him move within reach of the top 100 in the 2021 POY race sponsored by Global Poker. He was also awarded 700 PokerGO Tour rankings points, enough to see him join the top 30 on that leaderboard.
The fourth and final day of this event began with Ka Kwan Lau in the lead and Deeb in fourth place among the remaining five players. Deeb had scored the final knockout of the night on day 3, with his pocket aces holding up to eliminate bracelet winner David Benyamine in sixth place ($205,655).
Deeb picked up pocket aces on the very first hand of the final day, and got all of his chips into the middle preflop to find himself up against the other two aces, held by Maxx Coleman. Coleman flopped the nut flush draw, but Deeb backdoored a five-high straight to scoop the pot and double up.
Veselin Karakitukov was left as the shortest stack. He got the last of his chips in with KJ109 on a 755 flop, and was called by Deeb with, you guessed it, pocket aces. The AAJ2 remained ahead through the 3 turn and K river to earn Deeb the pot. Karakitukov settled for $276,870 as the fifth-place finisher.
Deeb overtook the chip lead briefly during four-handed play, but lost a big pot against Lau to slip back into second place. Deeb secured his second knockout at the final table when his AJJ8 beat out the Q963 of Coleman. The board kept Deeb ahead through fifth street and Coleman was sent to the rail in fourth place ($381,394).
Bracelet winner John Beauprez fell just a few spots short of securing his second title at the series. After an extended three-handed battle that saw him overtake the lead for a time, Beauprez got all-in on a AQ753 board with A942 for the wheel. Deeb called with K864 for the nut straight to bust Beauprez in third place ($537,295).
With that Deeb took roughly a 3:1 chip lead into heads-up play with Lau. The gap was narrowed a bit in the early going, but Deeb remained ahead by the time the final hand was dealt. Deeb limped in for 300,000 total from the button with A765 and Lau raised to 900,000 from the big blind with AKK8. Deeb called and the flop came down 886 to give Lau trip eights. Lau bet 700,000 and Deeb called with bottom pail and an open-ended straight draw. The turn was the 5. Lau checked and Deeb bet 2,000,000. Lau called and the 5 on the river gave Deeb a backdoor full house. Lau checked his trips again and Deeb bet enough to put Lau all-in. He thought it over before making the call. He earned $773,708 as the runner-up finisher, the largest score of his career.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:
|2||Ka Kwan Lau||$773,708||1,050||464|
Photo credits: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego, Enrique Malfavon.