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Collins grabs WSOP $500 Salute to Warriors bracelet

1 July 2024

Ben Collins

Ben Collins (photo by WSOP)

Event #67: $500 Salute to Warriors No-Limit Hold'em at the 2024 World Series of Poker saw a staggering 4,517 entries, generating a total prize pool of $1,851,970. In the end, everyone in this event was a warrior of sorts, but only one could be left standing. That man was Ben Collins from the United Kingdom and he had $207,486 to celebrate with as well as the elusive gold bracelet.

An overwhelmed and elated Collins had this to say:

"It's just surreal still… like, all along the way you think about holding the bracelet, you get the support from everyone which then keeps you going as you get further… to actually do it, is just ridiculous."

Collins has a long history with the game of poker – from dealing games for his dad as a teenager, to playing online professionally from 2009-2012, to winning a bracelet at the 2024 World Series of Poker hosted by Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas, cementing him in the history of the game.

Collins went on to dedicate this victory to his wife and daughter, who spent the first week of his poker trip with him but had to head home back over the pond. Collins was eager to give them a call to celebrate his victory.

Despite the American theme of this particular tournament, it proved to be quite an international affair with six countries represented at the final table. Two American short stacks' luck ran out shortly after consolidating to one table, as Richard Juliano (10th - $15,759) and Gerald Schnierer (9th - $20,052) were quickly dispatched.

Siavash Bahri appeared to be building traction when he got a full double-up holding black aces. Only two orbits later, Bahri had aces again and it seemed he would be getting the maximum again but the rivered straight of Ben Collins left him flabbergasted and on his way to the payouts window in eighth.

Funnily enough, two players at the table shared a birthday on this very day of the final table in Ben Snodgrass and Tolga Gesli who got to talking and realized they'd both been smiled upon in a happy coincidence. Snodgrass was the first birthday boy to fall when he got looked up by the better hand of his birth mate, Tolga Gesli and had to settle for seventh place.

New Zealand's, Dane Harnett, had been down to only one big blind late in the tournament but somehow converted it to a deep run. Ultimately, his luck ran out when he got short and ran into the ace-high of Paul Serrate to be eliminated in sixth place.

Rami Hammoud fell in fifth place to Ben Collins and was quickly followed by Paul Serrate in fourth who relinquished the majority of his chips to Collins before getting felted by Petychakis.

Three-handed was anyone's game for a moment but Collins luck was insurmountable when he cracked the kings of Tolga Gesli to enter heads up with a significant lead.

Heads up, the pendulum swung back and forth, as both players held the chip lead at different points during the match. Stavros Petychakis had come into the day with the chip lead and spent most of the day top three in the counts. Petychakis had a chance to win the bracelet but his sixes were outran by the overcards of Collins. Towards the end of the match it seemed Petychakis would run away with it but over a series of just a few hands, Collins went from having 24,000,000 in chips to the full count of 225,000,000.

The Salute to Warriors event was unique in that $40 from every entry was donated to the United Service Organizations, generating a tremendous boon for them of $180,680.

Plenty of notables and pro players were in the fray in this particular event but it feels right to honor those who served their country and dedicated themselves to something greater than the great game; kudos to all the veterans, weekend warriors and lovers of poker.

Final Table Results
1 Ben Collins United Kingdom $207,486
2 Stavros Petychakis Greece $138,423
3 Tolga Gesli United States $105,360
4 Paul Serrate Bolivia $76,338
5 Rami Hammoud Canada $57,420
6 Dane Harnett New Zealand $43,564
7 Ben Snodgrass United States $33,341
8 Siavash Bahri United States $25,742
9 Gerald Schnierer United States $20,052
10 Richard Juliano United States $15,759

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