There are very few players who’ve managed to successfully defend their titles in the modern era of the World Series of Poker but you can now count Adam Friedman among that elite crowd.
In his defense Friedman outlasted 122 players and outdueled hard-core grinder and reigning Player of the Year Shaun Deeb to win the $10,000 Dealer’s Choice 6-Max tournament and $312,417. He also took down his third WSOP gold bracelet.
Just over a year ago Friedman won the 2018 edition of the tournament after outlasting 111 players and another tough final table that included pros David Baker, Stuart Rutter and Chris Klodnicki.
Winning back-to-back titles is particularly impressive in a dealer’s choice tournament where players must be competent in 20 different formats of poker, not just the standard No-Limit Hold’em.
The underrated Friedman, who is originally from Ohio, is now up to over $2.8 million in lifetime live tournament earnings. Here’s a look at the complete final-table payouts:
Friedman Denies Deeb His Fifth WSOP Bracelet
All eyes were on poker pro Shaun Deeb at the start of the $10,000 Dealer’s Choice final table.
Deeb, widely considered one of the best online grinders of all time, was chasing a fifth WSOP gold bracelet but eventually had to settle for second place and a $193,090 consolation prize.
Last year Deeb cashed 20 times in WSOP events and won two gold bracelets on his way to earning $2.5 million. It was more than enough to secure one of the most coveted trophies in all of poker for Deeb: WSOP Player of the Year.
Deeb entered the final day of the $10,000 Dealer’s Choice as the chip leader but was at a slight chip disadvantage to Friedman by the time heads-up play began. He fought back and actually regained the chip lead at several points but in the end Friedman was not going to be denied his back-to-back title.
Friedman joins an elite group of players like Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and, more recently, Thang Luu who have successfully defended a title at the WSOP.
In some ways it’s even more impressive when modern-era players are able to defend their titles because the fields are much larger these days.
Records Set to Fall at 2019 WSOP
With 35 tournaments in the books, the 2019 World Series of Poker is primed to shatter some long-standing records for Sportsbook Entertainment.
The series has already attracted 83,054 entries, which is more than any WSOP that took place from 1970 to 2004. It’s especially impressive considering we haven’t even reached the midway point of the 80-tournament schedule.
Another record that looks ready to fall is the overall number of places paid. The record was established last year with 18,105 places paid. This year’s WSOP is already up to 12,820 and there’s plenty more action to come.
It helps that the $500 buy-in Big 50 attracted 28,371 entries to become the biggest tournament in history. Eventual Sportsbook Femi Fashakin took down a staggering $1.1 million, which represented a massive return on his $500 investment.
The Big 50 wasn’t the only tournament to shatter records for its buy-in level, however. The Millionaire Maker attracted 8,809 to become the biggest $1,500 buy-in tournament in history and the No-Limit Hold’em Double Stack tournament drew 6,214 to become the biggest $1,000 buy-in tournament.
Perhaps the only thing missing from this year’s WSOP thus far is any bracelet wins by big-name players such as Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey or Phil Hellmuth. Legendary Floridian poker pro Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi did take down his fifth bracelet, however.
Here’s a look at some of the other notable stats from this year’s WSOP: