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Baron completes comeback for WSOP bracelet

10 June 2019

Isaac Baron

Isaac Baron (photo by WSOP)

Name: Isaac Baron
Nationality: American
Birthplace: Menlo Park, California
Current Residence: Los Angeles, California
Age: 28
Profession: Poker pro
Number of WSOP Cashes: 28
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 3
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 4th at 2014 WSOP Event #64: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship ($301,369)
Total WSOP Earnings: $1,534,733

California's Isaac Baron has claimed his first World Series of Poker bracelet after completing a comeback during heads-up play to win Event #16 at the 2019 WSOP, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed. The win was worth $407,739, the largest cash of Baron's career.

The 31-year-old Baron, a resident of Menlo Park, California, boosted his lifetime WSOP earnings over the $1.5 million mark, collecting his first WSOP win in his 28th career cash.

Baron's win came at the expense of Singapore's Dingxiang Ong, who rolled over much of the final table before being reeled in by Baron in their heads-up duel. Dingxiang's first-ever WSOP cash was still worth $251,937.

Henderson, Nevada's Stephen Graner, a prior Circuit ring winner, collected third-place winnings of $177,085.

Miami, Florida's James Hughes, Coventry, United Kingdom's Richard Hasnip, and Port Orange, Florida's Cameron Marshall rounded out the final-table finishers.

“I'm feeling pretty good,” said Baron, just moments after his win. “It's been a long time coming to get this first bracelet. I've wanted it for a while. I'm just glad it was pretty easy today.”

Baron talked about the fortunate last hand, when he not only found pocket aces, but had them pay off big. “When we were heads-up and I had something as strong as aces, I didn't really want to blow him off [the hand]; I wanted it to happen exactly like it did: he flops top pair, and then I just get all his money. So, yeah, I didn't want to blow him off pre-flop.”

Just getting to heads-up play, late on Day 3, was also a key for Baron. With four players remaining, Dingxiang had built a huge lead, and Baron himself was trimmed down to less than five million in chips. “I was just trying to get to heads-up,” he said. “I knew if I got to heads-up that anything could happen, so when we were four-handed, that was kind of what I was thinking. When we got heads-up, things can change fast.”

Baron has no specific plans for his big payday, other than an “invest a little bit, spend a little bit” idea. Of course, there's more poker to be played. Baron was already planning on returning home following this event, though he'll return later in the series as more of his favorite events pop up on the schedule.

Twenty-one players returned for what was to be the Day 3 conclusion to Event #16, and in just four hours, an official final table was set with the elimination of Phoenix, Arizona's Pierce McKellar in seventh place. Dingxiang led the way into the final, with Garner in second and Baron in third, with three short-stacked players looking to climb back to the top.

Those dreams were quickly dashed. Marshall busted first, in sixth position for $66,243, when his hand couldn't surpass Graner's. The board ran out quickly reducing the final to five players.

A dozen hands later, Hasnip lost the flip side of a similar race when he didn't hold up against Hughes. This hand's board sent Hasnip to the rail in fifth.

Despite the knockout Hughes remained the shortest stack of the four remaining players, and though he fought for another three hours, he couldn't climb much higher. Eventually, Hughes got the last of his chips in against Baron, but the board ran Baron's way.

At this juncture, Dingxiang had amassed a dominant stack, holding nearly three fourths of the chips in play, and he moved his stack a notch higher by bouncing Graner in third. In this knockout hand, Graner moved all in from the button for five million in chips, but the jam ran right into Dingxiang's waiting hand. This board ran out to close out Graner's deep run.

Dingxiang began heads-up play against Baron with a nearly 4:1 edge, but Baron pulled closer in short order. The two then began a lengthy see-saw battle that saw the lead swapped numerous times. Both players doubled through more than once during Day 3's final two levels, but with a possible extra level yet to play, Baron opted for a night's rest before playing it out.

That turned out to be the fortunate choice. Just four hands into the extra fourth day, Baron closed out the win. The hnd began with Baron raising from the button to 800,000, and Dingxiang re-raised to 3.2 million. Baron called and the two saw the flop. Dingxiang bet 3.7 million and Baron called again. The turn was the six of spades, and Dingxiang moved all in. Baron called at once and showed, which led Dingxiang's hand. The river was no good for Dingxiang, and Baron had finally sealed his long-sought first bracelet win.

Event #16, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed, pulled in 1,832 entries to build a prize pool of $2,473,200. 275 players cashed, with each earning at least $2,252.

Other notables
Among those cashing in this event were Michael Gagliano (19th, $16,643), Dmitry Yurasov (46th, $7,037), Adrian Mateos (51st, $5,880), Chris Johnson (56th, $4,985), Mike Takayama (57th, $4,985), Nipun Java (78th, $4,290), Brian Yoon (80th, $3,748), Ben Zamani (86th, $3,748) and Ray Henson (90th, $3,748).

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

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