After a long and winding road to the final, Damian Salas is the new WSOP Main Event champion and $1 million richer.
The Argentinian took on America’s Joseph Hebert last night in a heads-up battle for poker’s most coveted gold bracelet.
Even though Salas almost didn’t make the unique finale, he came through strong to seal the deal after 173 hands.
Two Winners Collide in Las Vegas
Salas and Hebert were already winners before the January 3 final table. The former beat 673 players to win the international leg of the hybrid Main Event. The latter topped a field of 705 to become champion of the US bracket.
Those victories netted both players more than $1.5 million each. The wins also booked their place in the live heads-up finale in Las Vegas.
Hebert was already in town on account of taking part in event. Salas, however, had to fly in from abroad. Given the ongoing global pandemic, that was a tougher task than it should have been.
In fact, at one point, he was unable to fly via Dallas because local authorities wouldn’t accept the results of his negative COVID-19 tests. He did eventually find his way to Vegas, albeit a day or two late.
Congratulations Damian Salas for winning the 2020 WSOP Main Event World Championship! #GGPoker #GGCam pic.twitter.com/Q9aBjYwvUr
The slight delay in proceedings didn’t dampen the spirits of those involved. Salas and Hebert were not only playing for WSOP glory but an extra $1 million in prize money.
Those rewards, coupled with blinds increasing every 20 minutes, meant both players were eager to start fast. Hebert took that as a signal to get busy early and soon took charge.
Trip kings on hand #71 gave him a 3:1 advantage but, just 12 hands later, the momentum swung after Salas won the first all-in of the match.
Salas Swings It to Win WSOP Main Event
With momentum on his side, the Argentinian chipped away at his opponent over the course of two hours. Eventually, he moved into commanding lead when his A♥ T♦ was enough to beat Hebert’s A♠ 8♦.
From that point on, the writing was on the wall. Hebert did manage to double up at one point but, on hand #173, he ran out of steam.
Moving in with A♦ Q♠, Hebert found himself in front when Salas called with K♦ J♠. Things quickly changed though as the flop ran out 5♣ K♠ 8♠.
The 5♦ on the turn didn’t help Hebert, nor did the K♣ on the river. With that, the WSOP Main Event was over and Salas was declared the winner.
Although this year’s Big Dance was very different, the WSOP still crowned a winner. Salas is now the champion and, all being well, we’ll see him defend the title later this year in Las Vegas.