Qiang Xu defied the odds when he won $339,033 and his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet in Event No.42: $800 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack after beating 3,772 opponents. The player was focused during the two days that the event lasted and admitted after his victory that he had fulfilled a lifetime dream.
He stated that he was determined to win the bracelet before starting his journey to China. The tournament's 3,773 entry field exceeded the 2,812 entrants who signed up in the 2022 $800 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack. Yet, 566 participants cashed at least $1,282.
Only 238 out of the 566 players who cashed advanced to the final day. It has fast action as several eliminations occurred consecutively before the top finalists set the final table.
Koray Aldemir, the 2021 WSOP Main Event winner got busted in the 12th position with $21,052 and missed a seat at the final table. Still, Donna Stutts exited the event in ninth place before the dinner break and the remaining eight players were more determined to win the top prize.
Xu started Day 2 on a high note as he was among the chip leaders. He continued his great run throughout the day and got a huge stack lead when three tables were left. The poker pro attended to use his stack to add pressure on his opponents.
He opted to change his playing strategy to gain more stability. This worked when he lost many chips at the final table. Xu didn't make fast moves but waited for the appropriate moment to strike.
Xu won a vital flip when four players were left at the table. He faced Jason Johnson, a renowned American player, in a heads-up clash after several hands and beat him, hence winning the bracelet.
What Were the Event's Top Prizes?
- Qiang Xu from China – $339,033
- Jason Johnson from the U.S. – $209,547
- Christian Cheng from Taiwan – $119,629
- Richard Smith from the U.S. – $91,347
- Charles Johnson from the U.S. – $70,247
- Dorian Melchers from France – $54,408
The Final Table's Highlights
Dorian Melchers was the first finalist to leave the final table. Still, they were the short stacks when the day's action began.
Charles Johnson's ace-five suited lost to Jason Johnson's pocket sevens hence costing him many chips. The latter got the stack lead in the five-handed action.
Richard Smith's run ended in fourth place after Johnson's pocket kings beat his queen-nine. Christian Cheng and Xu competed for a big pot. Even so, Smith lost a flip.
John Ciccarelli followed Smith in third place with $157,776 after a few hands. His exit kicked off a tough heads-up match between Johnson and Xu.
Xu made a quick double-up that earned him the stack lead. He used pocket sixes to face Johnson's ace-king suited in a flip. But Xu's pocket pair gave him a straight and the bracelet as Johnson finished second with $209,547.