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Poker pro snags million-dollar win in WSOP Monster Stack

29 June 2017

Brian Yoon

Brian Yoon (photo by WSOP)

Name: Brian Yoon
Nationality: American
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Current Residence: Henderson, Nevada
Age: 27
Profession: Poker Player
Number of WSOP Cashes: 22
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 3
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 3
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 1st – Event #58: The Little One for One Drop - $1,111 No-Limit Hold'em ($663,727); 1st – Event #35: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed ($633,341)
Career WSOP Earnings: $2,777,523
Personal Facts: Yoon is a 27-year-old poker pro who has won at least $600,000 in each of his three WSOP bracelet triumphs. He can be found as @byoonz on Twitter.

In just the 106th hand at the final table of Event #47: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em MONSTER STACK, Brian Yoon earned his third World Series of Poker gold bracelet, along with the first-place prize of $1,094,349.

This four-day event attracted 6,717 players to combine for a prize pool worth $9,066,600, paying 1,008 spots. It was only fitting that the MONSTER STACK ended up with just over 100,000,000 chips in play, boasting over a million dollars for first place.

Yoon defeated a worthy competitor in Ihar Soika, who pocketed $675,995 for his runner-up finish. Soika busted the first five players at the final table, and Yoon took over to bust the next four before clinching the title. In the final hand, Yoon raised it up on the button, as he had been doing as often as possible to push the action, and Soika moved all in for his last 19,800,000. Yoon asked for a count and eventually called. Soika put himself at risk with ace-eight of spades, up against king-ten of hearts for Yoon. Soika flopped a spade draw, taking away some of Yoon's outs to pair up and improve. The turn was a brick, but the river was a magical, off-suit ten to give Yoon his third bracelet.

A 27-year-old professional poker player from Torrance, California, Yoon has now amassed over $4.2 million in earnings and can say this is his biggest career cash. Today's win is also his fifth cash of the summer and his fifth-career win.

One of the highlights of the final table was when Yoon busted Yuliyan Kolev (5th place - $281,800) and Ryan Mcknight (4th place - $374,515) in a double knockout hand. Yoon shoved from the cutoff, and Kolev and Mcknight called from the small and big blinds, respectively. Kolev had king-jack, Mcknight had ace-queen, and Yoon had ace-eight. Yoon flopped an eight and held to bring the field down to three players. When asked about that scenario he said, "I put a lot of pressure on the blinds. Got a lucky flop."

Yoon's first bracelet came in the $1,111 No Limit Hold'em Little One Drop, topping a field of 4,756 entries. When he was asked about his success in large fields, he responded that his skills and style of play is "really well-suited for this type of tournament." Yoon continued that he felt this bracelet means much more than his first two, because it came a few years after his last win. He also took the last nine months off because he didn't feel like playing, so it's extra special. Yoon says he's quite a boring guy, so he will likely put a lot of this money into investments, and he is unsure if he will continue to play after the Series is over.

Soika is a well-respected professional from Belarus with $2,590,020 in career earnings. He may not have a gold bracelet just yet, but he does hold a European Poker Tour title after defeating Jason Mercier and winning the 2014 €10,300 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller event for $989,263, which remains his top score for now.

Stanley Lee booked a career-best cash for just over a half-million dollars for third place, but that isn't really the most impressive part about his run. He has now gone deep in four tournaments in a row, where the first-place prize is guaranteed to pay out at least a million dollars. In the Millionaire Maker, he finished 24th ($45,275) in 2015, final-tabled in 2016 for a ninth-place cash worth $96,091 and came in 39th place this year for $28,160. He has now added today's cash in the Monster Stack, so he will certainly be one to watch as he continues to gun for his first bracelet.

There were many faces that did find the cash cage on their way out, such as Joe McKeehen (26th place - $37,831), Paul Volpe (56th place - 16,665), TJ Cloutier (70th place - $13,849), Men Nguyen (124th place - $7,164), Yevgeniy Timoshenko (177th place - $6,202), Ole Schemion ($6,202), Ari Engel (263rd place - $5,415), Scotty Nguyen (271st place - $5,415), Scott Davies (388th place - $4,235) and Loni Harwood (544th place - $3,124).

Some of the notables that joined the field on Day 1 but were unable to make it into the money include Tony Dunst, Annette Obrestad, Joe Cada, Layne Flack, David Sands, Jeff Madsen, JC Tran, Nick Petrangelo, Barry Greenstein, Kenny Hallaert, Antonio Esfandiari and Marvin Rettenmaier.

The unofficial table began at the beginning of Level 36, and it didn't take long before Soika eliminated Salvatore DiCarlo (10th place - $75,915). DiCarlo had pocket queens against Soika's ace-king, and Soika hit a king on the river. Soika was running wild at the final table as he eliminated Will Failla (9th place - $97,223) on just the 14th hand. Soika had pocket jacks, and Failla held Ac-5c, but couldn't find any help.

Richard Ma (8th place - $125,451) was at risk in the first hand back from dinner break with pocket jacks but ran into the pocket aces of who else but Soika. The board ran out eight-high, and they were down to seven. Seven-handed play lasted the longest, with many of the short stacks finding numerous double-ups. Eventually, Thomas Ryan (7th place - $162,087) was all in and dominated against Soika. Ryan wasn't able to connect with the board, and Soika eliminated yet another opponent.

Lee found himself very short but managed to find several double-ups to spin his stack up to something that was workable. He first got it in with king-jack off-suit and beat out Maurice Hawkins' ace-jack, then won a flip with king-queen to beat Yoon's jacks. He managed to lock up another pay jump after Hawkins committed most of his stack in a hand against Soika, then decided to fold and leave himself with two big blinds. Soika showed a bluff, and Hawkins put the rest of his chips into the middle with jack-ten, up against Soika's seven-five of diamonds. Soika turned trips, and it was all over for the ten-time WSOP Circuit champion. He took home $213,591 for his deep run in sixth place.

In the very next hand, Yoon moved all in from the cutoff, clearly applying pressure on the Kolev and Mcknight short stacks. As it turns out, both players called, and Yoon was slightly ahead of Kolev but looked like he was going to double Mcknight up. Kolev held king-jack, Mcknight had ace-queen, and Yoon had ace-eight. The flop brought an eight, and Yoon managed to hold to bust Kolev in fifth place ($281,800) and Mcknight in fourth ($374,515).

Three-handed play began with Yoon holding the chip lead, but Soika was close behind in second. Lee was very short but found a double up with ace-king of diamonds, beating out Soika's ace-jack off-suit. Soika flopped two pair, but Lee turned a flush draw and rivered a bigger two pair to stay alive. It was just a few short hands later when Lee got it in with pocket sixes, flipping for his tournament life against Yoon's ace-king off-suit. The flop brought both an ace and a king, and Yoon was able to hold, sending Lee home in third place for $501,353.

Heads-up play lasted just 28 hands, with Yoon starting the match with a two-to-one lead. Soika managed to bring things to even, but Yoon turned up the heat and took his lead back. He continued to apply pressure and eventually got it in with king-ten of hearts, rivering a ten against Soika's ace-high, as mentioned earlier.

1. Brian Yoon, U.S. - $1,094,349
2. Ihar Soika, Belarus - $675,995
3. Stanley Lee, U.S. - $501,353
4. Ryan Mcknight, U.S. - $374,515
5. Yuliyan Kolev, Bulgaria - $281,800
6. Maurice Hawkins, U.S. - $213,591
7. Thomas Ryan, U.S. - $163,087
8. Richard Ma, U.S. - $125,451
9. Will Failla, U.S. - $97,223

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

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Poker pro snags million-dollar win in WSOP Monster Stack is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.