The 2023 World Series of Poker has crowned the third winner of a coveted gold bracelet at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas. Out of a field of 456 entries in Event #5: $1,500 Dealer's Choice 6-Handed, American poker pro Chad Eveslage defeated Andrew "AJ" Kelsall in a short-lived heads-up duel to claim the biggest slice of the $608,760 prize pool.
It was the second bracelet in as many years for Eveslage after he followed up his victory in Event #8: $25,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed. The maiden triumph back then came with a seven-figure score and also took place very early in the series. For his efforts over the last three days, Eveslage earned a payday of $131,879 while Kelsall was denied a second bracelet and had to settle for $81,509.
The final day featured one additional WSOP bracelet holder in John Racener, who reached the final table and bowed out in fourth place. Clayton Mozdzen was the only non-American still in contention among the 11 hopefuls and finished in fifth place.
Final Table Results
|1||Chad Eveslage||United States||$131,879|
|2||Andrew Kelsall||United States||$81,509|
|3||Nick Kost||United States||$54,247|
|4||John Racener||United States||$36,953|
|6||James Johnson||United States||$18,428|
After his dominating victory, Eveslage admitted that he was "Not nearly as excited, but it's fun," when compared to the maiden victory nearly one year ago. Something else was certainly different. Not only were the stakes lower, but also an entirely different kind of atmosphere compared to the serious nature of the high-stakes contest back then.
"You know what I mean? The mixed atmosphere is much, much more laid back. We were joking around heads up. Like, you know, when I beat Jake heads-up or it was, no, I don't think a single word was spoken, you know, but it's nice, you know ... I imagine it never gets old winning a World Series of Poker bracelet though," the now two-time champion clarified.
While many of the contenders picked specific games, Eveslage said that he considered his edge to be in a rather traditional variant. "There was a lot of Badeucey, but there was Hold'em, too. I think I've got way more No-Limit Hold'em experience than a lot of these guys. So there's a lot of value in just calling those games," he added, but clarified that the former is certainly one of his favorite variants. "I think...I definitely am certain I have an edge against almost everybody in that game ... just ... they're laughing at me because I sound egotistical," the champion joked while his friends poked fun at him for it.
Dubbed as the "greatest Badeucey player in the world" not only by runner-up Kelsall, Eveslage revealed that it all started from him playing a character as the greatest at the tables like a championship wrestler but "it might be true, too".
Another tongue-in-cheek remark by his opponents that was often mentioned throughout the last two days was the "run like Chad," which he explained as follows.
"A lot of people who have played me in mix think I just ... I'm not good and run really good. Maybe they are right, maybe they are just some kind of psychological justification. I don't know what is going on, but that's where it is from."
There won't be much of a break from the poker grind for the now two-time WSOP bracelet winner, however, and he is not certain yet which event to play next. Potential candidates are the Dealer's Choice Championship or the Mystery Bounty Event. "I don't know, we will see how I feel," he concluded.
Action of the Final Day
Runner-up Kelsall entered the final day as the chip leader, but couldn't keep up the momentum of the previous day. During a frustrating opening stage, Kelsall dropped back into the middle of the pack and even joked he "was a much better Day 2 player than a Day 3 player." The lead changed multiple times and several hopefuls came back from the brink to stay in contention.
This wasn't the case for Nick Pupillo, however, as his stack was swallowed up by James Johnson in Pot-Limit 2-7 Triple Draw. With ten players remaining, Eveslage was the shortest stack by a small margin while Racener saw his stack reduced to a fraction of a full bet. Despite that, Ryan Roeder became the next casualty as he was knocked out by Eveslage.
That boost to the stack sparked a rapid growth for Eveslage, who also dispatched Gregory Kelley shortly after. Racener remained in contention while Andrew Brown saw his stack vanish across multiple bad run-outs as he came up just shy of the unofficial final table. With seven players remaining, Eveslage held three times as many chips as second-placed Nick Kost and even the miracle escape of Mozdzen in remarkable fashion was just a very minor setback.
Eveslage decimated the stack of David Levi, who was then knocked out by Racener. Johnson fell to Mozdzen before Eveslage claimed the stacks of Mozdzen in Badeucey and Racener in Big O. Kost was left short by the hot run of Eveslage and bowed out in a battle of short stacks with Kelsall, who was unable to overcome the overwhelming lead and tremendous Badeucey prowess of his opponent.
That concludes the PokerNews coverage for this event but Event #10: $10,000 Dealer's Choice Championship awaits right away on Saturday, June 3, where many of the participants in this challenge of versatility are expected to be back in action. Check out PokerNews' schedule for links to live coverage of other WSOP bracelet events.