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WSOP: Yoon outlasts Soika in duel for big payday

Yesterday at the World Series of Poker, a monster on the felt took down Event #47: $1,500 NLHE “Monster Stack,” as 27-year-old poker pro Brian Yoon pocketed a massive $1,094,349 return on his investment.

When the “Monster Stack” tournament debuted in 2014, the event’s hook of a tripled 15,000-chip starting stack made it a fan favorite for recreational players and pros alike. And every year since, many thousands of players have ponied up a buy-in (or two, given the single re-entry format), looking to exploit the deep-stacked play to make a push at a million-dollar payday.

This summer saw 6,716 entries recorded to generate a total prize pool in excess of $9 million, with that aforementioned seven-figure prize apportioned to the winner.

For Yoon, the win represents by far his largest live cash to date, pushing his career earnings over the $4-million plateau in fine style. And to get there, Yoon had to defeat a final table that featured experienced pros like Yuliyan Kolev (fifth place - $281,800), Maurice Hawkins (sixth place -         $213,591) and Will Failla (ninth place - $97,223).

Per the live updates provided by PokerNews, Yoon held a 2:1 chip lead entering heads-up play against Ihar Soika. The latter did manage to pull even at one point during the 28-hand duel, but Yoon wound up getting a short-stacked Soika to shove holding As-8s.

Yoon made the light call with Kh-10h and needed the cards to cooperate, which they did in dramatic fashion on a Js-5s-2h-7d-10d run-out. Soika found the nut flush draw on the flop, removing the Ks and 10s from Yoon’s allotment of outs, but the dealer dropped the perfect card for Yoon on the river.

With his third gold bracelet – all of which have come since 2013 and all of which resulted in payouts of $633,000 and up – Yoon has established himself as a force to be reckoned with whenever the WSOP returns to the Rio.

One player who has long enjoyed that status is Jason Mercier, and on Thursday the five-time bracelet winner – and reigning WSOP Player of the Year – will be only three tables away from claiming No. 6.

Mercier is one of just 23 players returning for the third and final day of Event #52: $1,500 NLHE.

He’ll have 457,000 chips to work with, good for ninth on the leaderboard behind Samuel Phillips (1,289,000).

See poker reviews and WSOP qualifier specials here.