Just five months after winning the $100,000 Super High Roller down at the PCA in the Bahamas, Eugene Katchalov has shipped his first World Series of Poker bracelet in Event #5: $1,500 Seven Card Stud.
Katchalov entered heads-up played against Alessio Isaia as a massive underdog, with just 250,000 chips to Isaia's 1.35 million. The native Ukrainian came roaring back however, snatching the chip lead in under an hour and never looked back from there. Katchalov's good fortune was highlighted perfectly during the final hand, where he caught consecutive cards on sixth and seventh street to make a better two-pair than Isaia. For his incredible comeback he takes home $122,909 and the coveted WSOP gold bracelet.
Isaia's play cannot be overlooked for the past three days. He entered today as the chip leader, and was among the leaders until the final table was set. There he fell in the ranks, but quickly turned it around and regained the chip lead. Unfortunately he couldn't close the deal against Katchalov heads up, and will have to settle with $75,911 for second place.
Other players who deserve praise include Eric Buchman and Jonathan Spinks. Spinks was severely card-dead throughout the day, but grinded all the way to 4th place, earning $35,476. Buchman was in cruise control at the final table, accumulating chips left and right until he began to slip. He failed to execute a handful of bluffs, and was crippled when Isaia made a wheel on sixth against his trip-queens. Buchman unhappily exited in third place, receiving $48,961 for his play.
Three days ago, 357 players enter the Rio to compete for a WSOP gold bracelet. Some of poker's greats including Tom Dwan, Jason Mercier, David Bach, Daniel Negreanu, Sorel Mizzi, Shaun Deeb and Frank Kassela all came out to compete, but in the end only one player could be crowned champion. Congratulations to Eugene Katchalov for winning his first WSOP gold bracelet - next time drinks are on you! You can catch him here tableside after his win with Lynn Gilmartin: