Better late than never, the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event finally finished on Sunday with Damian Salas defeating Joseph Hebert in an epic heads-up battle to take home a coveted gold bracelet. The Argentinian is now the WSOP Main Event champion, the owner of the prestigious gold bracelet, and a further $1 million richer.
Salas made his way through an online field of 674 non-US based players in the international segment of the WSOP. He won $1,550,979 and just had to beat Hebert, the domestic WSOP winner who himself won $1,553,256 overcoming a field of 705.
The heads-up battle was originally meant to be played on the 30th of December, but the arrival of Salas was delayed due to travel and COVID-19 restrictions. Although we all had to wait until the 3rd of January for the culmination of this event, that wait was certainly worth it. The heads up battle swung in both directions on multiple occasions and lasted 173 hands.
How the Action Unfolded
Salas started well, but it was Hebert who looked the most likely to win the Main Event. He was already leading when, after landing trip kings, he was able to extend his chip advantage to 3 to 1. That dominance continued for the next 10 or so hands, at which point he had a massive 8 to 1 advantage.
Then it all changed on the 83rd hand. Salas was all-in and fighting to stay in the event and this time, lady luck was on his side. After that, the battle intensified as the two battled back and forth for the next 150 minutes. Neither would give up and just when it seemed one was about to scoop the title, the other would double up their chips.
The fast structure ensured the two would not have a moment’s rest, and on the 170th hand came the big turning point. Each holding an ace, they both went all in and Salas took down the pot thanks to his kicker. This gave Salas a big 4 to 1 lead, but even then Hebert started to claw back level.
That was until the 173rd hand when took down the final pot winning with K-J to the A-Q of Hebert. Ahead and in with a big chance to double up, Hebert would have been heartbroken to see a king land on the flop. The turn and river both paired, and that was that for the courageous Hebert.
So What Comes Next for the World Series of Poker?
Like many industries, 2020 was an unprecedented year for the WSOP and the whole of poker. While we all hope that 2021 is a much better year, it still remains unclear as to whether we will get to see the return of a ‘live’ World Series of Poker. What is certain is that there will be WSOP action in some form or another, although likely to be in an online format.
For one, the WSOP will run WSOP Online Circuit Events each month. The winners will compete in a gold bracelet event.