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Brian Yoon joins elite company with five WSOP bracelets

8 June 2023

Brian Yoon

Brian Yoon (photo by WSOP)

After a grueling day that went into the poker equivalent of overtime, Brian Yoon defeated Dan Shak heads-up to claim the title in World Series of Poker Event #14: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas.

For his victory over the 131-entry field, Yoon earns the champion's share of $311,433 from the $1,209,000 prize pool.

More historically, though, Yoon becomes just the 33rd player in WSOP history to earn five bracelets, joining the likes of Hall of Famers Eli Elezra and John Juanda, perennial WSOP Player of the Year contender Shaun Deeb, and one of the most recent additions to the five-timers club, Adam Friedman, who got his fifth last year.

Yoon was humble about the achievement when asked about it after his victory.

"Honestly, I don't try to bracelet hunt or anything like that, I'm just trying to play the tournaments and enjoy playing the games. It feels great, obviously, to be the 33rd to get number five, so I'll take it and see what happens in the future."

Of Yoon's five bracelets, this is his second in a mixed game, having won the $1,500 2-7 Triple Draw event last year, a game he said is maybe his best. The well-rounded Yoon acknowledged that this bracelet was special because of the game that it came in.

"Stud, I've been working on this game a little bit, so it feels nice to break through in a game where you weren't sure where you stacked up, and then you're able to win. It feels good."

As for Shak, while a runner-up finish with a chance for his first-ever WSOP bracelet is surely disappointing, he can take solace not just in the $192,479 second prize but the fact that along with his seventh-place finish in the $1,000 Mystery Millions event earlier in the series, he's well in the early mix for WSOP Player of the Year.

The 13 returning players were thinned to the unofficial final table within the first couple of levels of the day, starting with Julien Martini's elimination in 13th, followed by maybe a somewhat surprising elimination of Chad Eveslage in 12th, considering he's already won two bracelets this summer.

Following the quick back-to-back eliminations of David "Bakes" Baker in 11th and Alex Livingston in 10th, the final nine were moved to the mothership to continue to a winner.

Johannes Becker, who fought back from fumes earlier in the day managed to ladder up to ninth, and from there, it took over two hours before Day 2 chip leader Max Hoffman was the next elimination in eighth place, with Leonard August following him out shortly after in seventh.

At this point of the final table, the two top stacks, Maxx Coleman and Yoon began to pull away from the rest of the field, with short stacks Ben Diebold and Ben Yu playfully needling each other about who would be the next to bust.

It turned out to be Diebold, who fell in sixth place just before dinner.

After the final five returned from their 60-minute break, Yu managed to ladder up as George Alexander was eliminated in fifth place. Yu battled back to a seven-figure stack, but his comeback was short-lived as Coleman finally took him out in fourth place.

Shak was the notable short stack at this point, but things took a turn three-handed as Coleman ran very cold, losing several key pots to Yoon that gave him a solid chip lead.

Things got even worse for Coleman as Shak passed him in the leaderboard, and before long, Coleman became the penultimate elimination of the day, leaving Yoon and Shak to battle for the bracelet, a matchup that Yoon even admitted he wasn't expecting.

"Honestly, I expected to get heads-up against Maxx because me and Maxx kind of had all the chips through the whole (final table). I respect Maxx's game a lot, I think he's a very good player, so I was kind of prepping myself to play him. Then we got three-handed, and I just coolered Maxx over and over and over, and he lost all of his chips."

Over the duration of their nearly two-hour-long heads-up battle that needed to go to an extra level to determine a winner, Shak fought back from the brink of elimination several times, at one point nearly overtaking Yoon.

But in the end, it was a Broadway straight for Yoon versus two pair for Shak that finally clinched victory for Yoon.

Final table results:
Rank Player Country Prize
1 Brian Yoon United States $311,433
2 Dan Shak United States $192,479
3 Maxx Coleman United States $140,081
4 Ben Yu United States $103,645
5 George Alexander United States $77,985
6 Ben Diebold United States $59,688
7 Leonard August United States $46,484
8 Max Hoffman United States $36,847

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