It was the last $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em tournament of the year at the 2014 World Series of Poker and that fact alone was enough to create an impressive turnout of 2,563 players. This was by far the biggest $1,500 NLHE tournament of the WSOP and it created a prize pool of $3,460,050. It concluded with an epic heads-up match that went nearly five hours in length, with Salman Jaddi emerging with the $614,248 first-place money and his first WSOP bracelet.
The final hand would see Jaddi hit a runner-runner miracle when his bested Brandon Hall's . Hall had a huge lead after a flop of but Jaddi would hit a on the turn to give him a flush draw that would be completed on the river.
"I didn't want to say 'one time' out loud, but that's what I was thinking," Jaddi said, sitting at the table, unable to believe what had just happened. "I feel like I played awesome heads-up. Get lucky along the way sometimes. That's how it goes."
Jaddi explained some of his thought processes at the final table afterwards: "Four handed, I sensed that it would be Brandon and I going heads-up. I tried to play off of my image and steal some chips. Once we were heads-up, Brandon kept value betting thin and I was able to pick up some pots. Once I got the lead, I came back and played small ball with him." Jaddi went on to add "that if Brandon would have taken the chip lead today, I thought I'd be in trouble so I kept trying to apply pressure to make sure I kept the lead."
On his way to victory, Jaddi would knock out the first five players at the final table eliminating Kurt Jewell (9th - $45,603), Steve Sung (8th - $59,547), Thomas Dietl (7th - $78,681), David Bravin (6th - $105,185), and Cherish Andrews (5th - $142,346).
His heads-up counterpart, Hall, would take out the remaining two players, Guillauma Marechal (4th - $194,939) and Zach Gruneberg (3rd - $270,299) to get us to the beginning of what would be a marathon battle between the pair. Jaddi would start to pull away early in the match, getting to a more than 5-to-1 chip advantage at one point, but Hall would chip away and get things nearly back to even when the two decided to call it a night.
The new day then saw Jaddi pull ahead, but Hall would double-up once to regain some momentum. Jaddi again took control, however, leading up to the final hand that would see him declared the winner.
FINAL TABLE RESULTS
Among the 270 players that made the money were notables like Jared Hamby, Keven Stammen, Will Failla, Matt Stout, Byron Kaverman, John Racener, Ravi Raghavan, Lauren Kling, Shannon Shorr, Tony Dunst, Kyle Cartwright, Alex Bolotin, David Peters, Layne Flack, Joe Tehan, Scott Baumstein, and Dutch Boyd. Meanwhile notables who fell short of the cash included Phil Hellmuth, Ole Schemion, Ryan Hall, Mark Hoke, Amanda Baker, Nick Abou Risk, Sofia Lovgren, Victor Ramdin, Max Steinberg, Dominik Nitsche, Samuel Chartier, Yann Dion, and Marc-Andre Ladouceur.
Jaddi's last words were ones that all amateurs could relate to: "I'm a business owner, not a pro. I play for fun. Anyone has a shot to win this thing. I didn't play many hands, but somehow I ended up here. If I can do it, anyone can."
That concludes PokerNews coverage of Event #60: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em. Thank you for following along and make sure to stay tuned as coverage of the Main Event will get underway on Saturday!