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Li claims WSOP $25,000 PLO High Roller title

12 June 2022

Tong Li

Tong Li (photo by WSOP)

Tong Li defeated Fabian Brandes in heads-up play to win the 2022 World Series of Poker Event #19: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller for $1,467,739 and his first bracelet.

The four-card high roller event attracted 264 total entries to create a $6,237,000 prize pool, with the lion's share of it awarded today.

This was the first WSOP cash on Li's poker résumé and it turned out to be one to remember, as he not only earned himself his first cash, but also his first final table and first bracelet in the prestigious tournament.

"This is a dream. I can not be more excited… I never expected to be the champion," Li said after his victory.

The Shanghai resident earned a huge payday and secured his maiden bracelet while denying German high-stakes PLO cash player and Vienna-resident Brandes his first bracelet. Brandes entered the final day as the chip leader but wasn't able to go the distance, and will have to settle for the runner-up consolation prize of nearly a million dollars.

Four-time bracelet winner and reigning WSOP Player of the Year Josh Arieh came up short of another title as he finished in third, while Sam Stein and reigning WSOP No-Limits VELO Player of the Year Scott Ball also weren't able to add another piece of gold jewelry to their collection.

The prestigious event attracted many of the biggest and best in the game. Some notables who made it into the money but fell short of the official final table include David Williams (9th - $120,457), Chance Kornuth (13th - $80,105), Ben Lamb (15th - $67,313), Daniel Negreanu (16th - $57,738), Noah Schwartz (22nd - $50,575), Yuri Dzivielevski (24th - $50,575), and Stephen Chidwick (29th - $44,253).

The final table began near the end of the penultimate day and Gregory Shuda (8th - $152,091), Emmanuel Sebag (7th - $195,713), and Jonathan Depa (6th - $256,582) all bowed out before the fourth and final day of play.

Five players entered the finale and they all had a shot at the glory. Li came into the day third in chips but quickly lost some pots to become the short stack. He was the first player at risk of elimination but secured one of what would be several double-ups through Arieh. Ball became the first player to make his way to the payout desk in fifth place when his aces were beaten by Brandes on the river.

Arieh then doubled through Brandes and Li again doubled through Arieh before Stein was knocked out in fourth place. He had gotten his chips in on the flop against Arieh with nearly even odds to win the hand, but Arieh's two pair turned out to be the best, and Stein made his exit.

At that point, Arieh held nearly 60% of the chips in play, but his opponents weren't going to go down without a fight. Brandes claimed the chip lead soon enough with top set, and Li secured yet another double through Arieh to give the trio all fairly similar stacks.

The three players took a short break and when they returned, Li took the lead for the first time, partially propelled by a rivered nut flush. Brandes then doubled through Arieh, and soon after, Li made quads to extend his lead even further. Arieh was looking to make a comeback on a hand when he flopped a boat, but Li turned a superior boat, and the rest of Arieh's chips went in on the river to eliminate him in third place.

That set up a heads-up match between Li and Brandes, with the former holding over three times as many chips as the latter. They played a few small pots before most of Brandes' stack went in preflop, and the remainder went in postflop. Li had flopped trips and Brandes was hoping to complete his straight draw, but the board ran out blanks and Li had officially secured the title.

Final Table Results
1 Tong Li China $1,467,739
2 Fabian Brandes Austria $907,132
3 Josh Arieh United States $644,365
4 Sam Stein United States $465,717
5 Scott Ball United States $342,590
6 Jonathan Depa United States $256,582
7 Emmanuel Sebag United States $195,713
8 Gregory Shuda United States $152,091

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

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