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Mixed-games specialist wins WSOP $1.5K Razz event

10 July 2017

Jason Gola

Jason Gola (photo by WSOP)

Name: Jason Gola
Nationality: American
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Current Residence: Chicago, Illinois
Age: 40
Profession: Information Technology
Number of WSOP Cashes: 9
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 1
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 10th – 2015 WSOP: Event #24: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. ($15,424)
Career WSOP Earnings: $170,617
Personal Facts: Jason and his wife of 12 years, Maria, have three children – Alexa, Baccheus and Inara. He is a Notre Dame grad who also likes board games, broomball, and mini-golf.

After a monster six-hour heads-up battle Jason Gola finally saw off David "ODB" Baker to win his first bracelet in Event #69 $1,500 Razz.

Gola was all-in for his tournament life for just one big bet during Level 28, and it was from there he mounted his come back. Gola takes home $132,957 for his victory and the first WSOP gold bracelet of his career.

Ten players returned on Day 2 led by the aforementioned Baker, and it didn't take long for the first elimination of the day, Grzegorz Wyraz, who departed in 10th place for $8,477.

With the unofficial final table confirmed, Yordan Petrov (9th - $8,477), Jim Schaaf (8th - $11,024) and Gerard Rechnitzer (7th - $14,645) all departed before the day had its first big casualty.

Phil Hellmuth had come into the day as the short stack and was looking for his 15th WSOP gold bracelet. Sadly for him, he was coolered in a hand against Baker. With action on sixth street, Hellmuth needed a non-pair below a seven. However, he hit two jacks and was eliminated in 6th place for $19,865.

Benny Glaser was looking for the fourth bracelet of his career, but sadly fell short in 5th for $27,503. Glaser and Wendy Freedman both made seven-lows in Level 23, with Freedman's slightly better leaving Glaser with just 2,000 chips, which he lost to Freedman the very next hand.

Freedman would depart in 4th place for $38,847, the deepest WSOP run of her career, before Brad Ruben left in 3rd for $55,958.

Coming into heads-up, Baker held the lead, and time and time again looked to push the advantage to close out the match and win his second WSOP bracelet.

However, Gola wouldn't give up and clung to the prospect of mounting a comeback, even when he was down to one big bet. Eventually, just after 1 a.m. local time, he bested his opponent and won his first WSOP gold bracelet.

"I know [a comeback] was possible," said Gola after his victory, "I wasn't going to just fling in my last chips. I wanted to find a spot to get my chips in good.

"I knew it was possible. Especially in Razz, it's a bit different where you have blinds. There's no big blind coming where it's really urgent that you get your chips in before the big blind. The stud games are a little different in that way."

Gola had nothing but praise for his opponent.

"ODB is a very skilled player," he said. "He's good at all the games and he played really well today. He played really well all tournament.

"I'm very blessed to have beaten him. I didn't give up. Happy to make the comeback. I'm just over the moon right now; I'm so happy."

The newest WSOP bracelet-winner also heaped praise on his close friend Brandon Shack-Harris.

"He's a really good friend of mine, and I've watched and sweated him in tournaments. I don't know if anyone can bring back a small stack back better than Brandon. He's got to be one of the best in the world at it. I've watched him do it on a number of occasions to win a bracelet and go deep in tournaments; he inspired me.

"I know I shouldn't give up when I didn't have that many chips."

Gola didn't give up, and now has a gold bracelet to his name.

1. Jason Gola, U.S. - $132,957
2. David "ODB" Baker, U.S. - $82,174
3. Brad Ruben, U.S. - $55,958
4. Wendy Freedman, U.S. - $38,847
5. Benny Glaser, U.K. - $27,503
6. Phil Hellmuth, U.S. - $19,865
7. Gerard Rechnitzer, U.S. - $14,645
8. Jim Schaaf, U.S. - $11,024

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

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