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Hennigan captures fifth WSOP gold bracelet

18 June 2018

John Hennigan

John Hennigan (photo by WSOP)

Name: John Hennigan
Nationality: American
Birthplace: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Current Residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Age: 47
Profession: Poker pro
Number of WSOP Cashes: 36
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 12
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 5
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 1st, 2014 WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship ($1,517,767)
Total WSOP Earnings: $4,692,003
Personal Facts: In addition to his five official WSOP bracelets, Hennigan also won the 2008 WSOP “Ante Up for Africa” charity event. Hennigan was a professional pool player before
switching to the game of poker.

John Hennigan has captured the fifth gold bracelet of his WSOP career in taking down Event #27 of the 2018 World Series of Poker, the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship. Hennigan's triumph in this mixed-games event was worth $414,692, boosting his career WSOP earnings to nearly $4.7 million.

“Johnny World” battled from well back as this event's final table began, emerging from a lengthy Day 3 of play to claim his third bracelet in the past five years. Overall, Hennigan's five bracelet wins have come in just 36 career WSOP cashes. Hennigan, 47, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is most famous in WSOP circles for his triumph in the 2014 $50,000 Poker Players Championship, where he earned more than $1.5 million.

Hennigan's final opponent in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship was another prior bracelet winner, David “Bakes” Baker. Baker, from Las Vegas, just missed on a third bracelet win but moved to nearly $2.18 in lifetime WSOP winnings with his $256,297 runner-up payday. Hennigan and Baker's duel extended into an unscheduled Day 4 on Friday after the two bagged their chips late Thursday night.

Third went to Las Vegas's Lee Salem, whose $179,216 cash here was his best poker payday since his fifth-place showing, for $190,000, in the 1999 WSOP Main Event.

Britain's Iraj Parvizi, who now lives in Dubai, took fourth for $127,724, while fifth-place money of $92,808 went to another prior bracelet winner, Las Vegas pro Randy Ohel.

Hennigan's fifth career bracelet came an hour into the extra day's play. He continued where he'd left off hours earlier, grinding down Baker's stack and making the win seem inevitable.

After being all in on several prior occasions, Baker was trimmed to nearly nothing after losing most of his remaining chips in a limit hold'em hand. In the next hand, still playing hold'em, Baker was all in again, for less than his big blind. That led Hennigan, but Hennigan spiked a three on the flop and his hand stayed good through the rest of the board.

Hennigan's fifth overall WSOP gold bracelet is also his third in the last five years, and the $414,692 cash moved his career WSOP earnings to nearly $4.7 million. Hennigan also has three other cashes this series, including two seventh-place finishes, and will climb high on the Player of the Year leaderboard with this result.

“It was a high-pressure final table,” Hennigan told the WSOP, but not in the way one might expect. “Raj [Iraj Parvizi] yesterday was really putting everyone on tilt.” Parvizi, an amateur player from the UK, began making many unusual plays as the grueling Day 3 battle wore on, including playing several hands without checking his hole cards. “The only one I thought who held it together was David Baker. He played a great tournament . . . . It was a great learning experience; I kind of fell apart but then I was saved by the deck.”

“There were situations where I was short, and I hit a really great deck,” Hennigan added. He pointed to a couple of key hands midway through Day 3 that turned his fortunes around. One was a limit hold'em hand where he doubled through Daniel Zack with seven players remaining. Hennigan started with K-Q, Zack with Q-9, and the flop brought the other two queens. When the dust settled, Zack was short himself and soon to bust, while Hennigan was north of a million in chips, and was never in serious danger again.

As for winning a fifth bracelet, Hennigan quipped, “I'm not too preoccupied with it, but it does feel better than four. It makes me think about 'Saturday Night Live' where you get that jacket.” The win moves Hennigan into a tie for 16th on the WSOP's all-time bracelet list.

Hennigan's great start this summer has him eyeing the Player of the Year chase as well. “I'll be shooting for that, too. I'm looking forward to getting over there and playing the Poker Players Championship.” Hennigan won that event in 2014, and his $1.5 million payday there remains his best-ever WSOP cash.

Thursday's Day 3 finale in Event #27 began with 16 players, but dwindled quickly to an official final table of eight following the bustouts of Robert Campbell and Jake Schwartz at separate tables during the same hand. That allowed Tarzana, California's Michael Noori to slide through to the final with just 30,000 in chips, but as was likely to occur, Noori didn't last long. After chopping once, Noori departed in a hand of Omaha hi-lo when his hand lost both halves to Daniel Zack's on the board. Noori collected $40,155 for eighth.

Seven-handed play stretched into the evening before Zack busted next. Zack lost most of his shortened stack in a pair of Omaha hi-lo hands, then sent his final chips to Iraj Parvizi in a razz hand when he ended up with a 10-8-6-4-A to Parvizi's 9-7-3-2-A. Zack's seventh-place run was worth $52,016.

Soon to follow was Lebanon's Albert Daher, who was whittled down to just 120,000 when he moved all in during a seven-card stud hand versus Lee Salem. Daher had an ace showing to Salem's five, but Salem had a buried pair of tens as well. When all streets were dealt, Salem made tens full and easily topped Daher, seventh street being moot. Daher earned $68,783 for sixth.

Prior bracelet winner Randy Ohel's exit came in the next round, when play moved to seven-card stud hi-lo. Ohel was all in by sixth street against Hennigan, only to see his draw to a six-low brick twice and his high hand, a pair of queens, against Hennigan's made straight. Ohel's fifth-place showing brought him $92,808.

Four-way action stretched another two hours and change before back-to-back knockouts set up heads-up play. First, Parvizi was eliminated during another round of seven-card stud hi-low, with Baker winning two straight pots against him to narrow the field to three. Like Ohel, Parvizi had four cards to a solid low by fifth street, but caught queens on both sixth and seventh. Baker, meanwhile, made three sevens on sixth street, sending Parvizi off to collect $127,724 for fourth.

Lee Salem's exit soon followed, in a razz hand. Salem was all in by fifth street against Baker and led at that point. Baker caught an Ax on sixth, however, making an unbeatable 6-4-3-2-A that sent Salem to the cashier's window for third-place winnings of $179,216.

Despite the knockout, Baker still trailed Hennigan by over two million chips (5.3m to 3.0m) as their battle commenced. The two played for another hour and a half, with Hennigan increasing his lead, before play was halted for the night.

This edition of the WSOP's $10,000 H.O.R.S.E Championship drew 166 entries to build a prize pool of $1,560,400. The final 25 players made the money, with a guaranteed payday of $15,229 for each.

Other notables
Among those who cashed in Event #27 were Carol Fuchs (11th, $25,498), Robert Mizrachi (12th, $25,498), Anthony Zinno (13th, $20,993), Jean Gaspard (15th, $17,677), Mike Gorodinsky (19th, $15,229), Andrew Barber (23rd, $15,229), Jean-Robert Bellande (24th, $15,229), and Aditya Prasetyo (25th, $15,229).

Final Table Payouts (approx. POY points in parentheses)
1st: John Hennigan, $414,692 (1,057)
2nd: David “Bakes” Baker, $256,297 (529)
3rd: Lee Salem, $179,216 (476)
4th: Iraj Parvizi, $127,724 (423)
5th: Randy Ohel, $92,808 (396)
6th: Albert Daher, $68,783 (370)
7th: Daniel Zack, $52,016 (317)
8th: Michael Noori, $40,155 (291)

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

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