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Damian Salas: WSOP $10,000 Main Event 2020 Winner

On the morning of January 4th, 2021, the rarest World Series Main Event came to an end. This hybrid event with a buy-in of $10,000 ended with Argentinian Damian Salas’ victory, who, in addition to the bracelet, eventually earned another $2,550,969 and forever entered the history of world poker. We will tell you about the WSOP $ 10,000 Main Event 2020 participants’ development in this article.

Damian Salas: WSOP $10,000 Main Event 2020 Winner

The online stage at GGPoker

The WSOP $10,000 Main Event 2020 wasn't called hybrid for anything. The first part took place based on the GGPoker network’s rooms from November 29th to December 6th, 2020.

Three starting online days gathered:

  • 674 participants.
  • $6,470,400 in prize money.
  • $1,550,969 for the first place.

* A selection of hands from gaming days at GGPoker.

Final in the Czech Republic

Damian Salas in the Czech Republic

The final table of this stage took place on December 7th, 2020, at the King's Casino in Rozvadov. One of its participants — Vietnamese Peiyuan "fish3098" Sun (stack: 11BB), could not come to Europe and got $75,360 in prize money. Five more poker players didn’t have very deep stacks (up to 18BB)!

And the crucial struggle for a ticket to Vegas unfolded between two residents of the Western Hemisphere — Bruno Botteon (Brazil) and Damian Salas (Argentina). Despite the Argentinian's two-fold chip advantage, the heads-up lasted about two hours.

Brazilian bluff against Argentine experience

Damian Salas won the WSOP International edition

The final hand of this fight turned out to be very dramatic. The pot was shuffled on a K42 flop with two a flush project; both players checked. The turn came to the second heart card, a six, Bruno check-raised, and Damian called.

An eight with the river completed a possible flush, and the Brazilian moved all-in. Salas spent a lot of time thinking but still decided to go to showdown and showed K8, while his opponent - 73 hearts.

Damian Salas was the winner of the 2020 WSOP Main Event’s international stage.

Interesting Argentine Facts:

  • Was the only player to has played in the ME WSOP Final before. It was in 2017 where he finished 7th ($1,425,000).
  • Was the oldest at the table - 45 years old.
  • Flew to the Czech Republic the longest - 16 hours.
  • 3-bet in the first hand and made the first out, knocking out Austrian Hannes Speiser.
  • During the entire game, he took off his sunglasses only once - after pushing on the river by the Brazilian.
  • His daughter Sol made her WSOP bracelet and wore it on her father's arm after finishing a game at Kings Casino.

American stage

WSOP Main Event bracelet

On December 13th, 2020, the WSOP $10,000 Main Event’s second part for poker players based in the USA started based on the poker room wsop.com.

One starting online day collected:

  • 705 participants.
  • $6,769,000 in prize money.
  • $1,553,256 for first place.

The American stage of the tournament turned out to be more popular, even with fewer flights. Most likely, the main role here was played by the situation with the pandemic in the world - after all, it is much easier to get to Las Vegas from anywhere in the United States than from any other country.

Upeshka De Silva: the main loser of the tournament

Upeshka Da Silva disqualified from the Main Event US edition

The Sri Lankan native living in Dallas, although he lost his chip lead and reached the final with 13BBs, remained the most experienced player behind it. He already had three World Series bracelets on his account at once, won from 2015 to 2019.

As early as December 10th, De Silva was diagnosed with coronavirus: a test conducted on December 27th also gave a positive result. The tournament’s organizers decided not to allow Upeshka to the live final and award him 9th place with $98,813 in prize money.

Curiously, after this news, De Silva was also accused of ghosting during the WSOP Online last summer. This was done by the American Matt Stout, quoting information from an unnamed friend.

Satellite and chip leader

Joseph Hebert WSOP Main Event US edition winner

The game was fast in the Czech Republic. Took the players only 98 hands and less than 5 hours to determine the second participant in the final heads-up. This final table was the shortest in Main Event history at the WSOP.

This shortness is made possible by not very deep stacks. Simultaneously, one player, Joseph Hebert, had a huge chip-leader stack of 81BB, which helped him reach heads-up against Roni Jenkins without any problem.

Regardless of the good stacks and Roni's extensive experience in live games, the heads-up game only lasted one hand. Jenkins got pocket queens, and after re-raising, his opponent pushed all his chips in and got called by AQ. One of three aces appeared on the flop. 

The WSOP 2020 American Main Event winner was Joseph Hebert.

Interesting American Facts:

  • Joseph qualified via a $300 satellite.
  • He dedicated his victory to his mother, who died in the summer of 2020.
  • In the end, he wore a T-shirt with a bear. He chose this mascot because, in English, the player's last name is very similar to the greeting "Hey bear" (Hello, bear).
  • The poker player promised to buy a new car for his father and gifts for his son in case of victory.

Decisive Heads-Up in Las Vegas

Damian Salas vs. Joseph Hebert

Why did the tournament's final step, which has in its designation 2020, only took place on January 3rd, 2021? Because of the date set by the organizers on December 30th, Salas couldn’t make it to Vegas. It wasn’t his fault. The player wasn’t allowed to enter the United States because he was in Europe 14 days before arrival.

Fortunately, there weren’t more delays, and at 17:00 local time in the Rio casino’s Amazon Room in Las Vegas, the fight for the title of World Poker Champion, a bracelet and a million dollars, in the deciding classic WSOP $10,000 Main Event 2020 match.

Important hands

Final Hands of the WSOP Main Event

  1. The first serious moment happened in only 71 hands. The Argentinian on the board KQK75 bet all the streets, starting with the flop with a fortune on the queen, and eventually lost half of the stack because Joseph had K4 in his hands.
  2. By hand 83, Salas had lost over 100k in chips, bringing his stack to 10BB. His first pre-flop all-in with A2 against K5 was successful.
  3. Due to the growing blinds, the whole following game didn’t vary post-flop, and almost all the deciding pots took place in all-in preflops. In one of them, the American helped his opponent once again improved his position and won with TT against K9 match.
  4. Damian became the chip leader after a couple of unanswered all-ins and a bet on the river in one of the hands with a series of checks. After that, Hebert managed to almost level the stacks in pre-flop all-in A7 vs. KQ. At that time, the blinds had reached the last level, and the total number of chips at the table was only 25BB.
  5. The "swing" of the chips turned away three times more in one direction and then in the other direction, and, as it should be in such a game, the fate of the winner was decided by luck. Another all-in from the US representative, his opponent called and saw AQ against his KJs, but, fortunately for the Latin American, two kings fell on the table in turn.

Damian Salas became the WSOP $10,000 Main Event 2020 winner, gaining a total of $2,550,969 in addition to a bracelet.

WSOP 2020 Main Event Results

Saying this event went as planned by its organizers and attracted universal approval from poker fans worldwide is to be wrong. The total number of participants wasn’t huge (1,379), in the final parts, the stacks weren’t huge, the finalists’ travels around the world in a pandemic led to some force significant events. This structure and second ME in a year weren’t backed up by many in the poker community.

The event's creators understand that it is vital for poker to change and look for new forms to remain in current conditions.

Congratulations to all the WSOP $10,000 Main Event 2020 participants, especially Damian Salas and its organizers of the World Series and the GGPoker network, and we wish them new attractive solutions in 2021 for the development of our favorite game by millions.

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Vargoso 05.01.21
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