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Pisarenko takes down $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship

21 June 2024

Maksim Pisarenko

Maksim Pisarenko

Maksim Pisarenko has overcome a 181-player field that created a prize pool of $1,683,300 and defeated Mike Leah heads up to claim his first WSOP gold bracelet and the $399,988 first-place prize in Event #45: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship.

Pisarenko's victory came after a lengthy heads-up match that went back-and-forth several times inside the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas. Leah became notorious for how many times he was able to double up over the course of the tournament — earning him the affectionate name of "The Phoenix" by Pisarenko.

However, it was Pisarenko's day to shine and he was able to douse Leah after a three-hour heads-up duel. The victory marks Pisarenko's largest tournament score to date, bringing the Russian pro's live-tournament earnings to over $1 million and cementing his status as a mixed-game star.

"It feels surreal. I have no adrenaline," Pisarenko explained when asked how he felt about winning the event. "Maybe tomorrow I'll feel something. It's unbelievable."

The victory was extra sweet for Pisarenko as it was his first WSOP final table after a string of min-cashes. Prior to today, Pisarenko had cashed eight times in this year's WSOP.

"I was getting upset with busting. My friends started calling me Mr. Min-cash," Pisarenko said. "This one is very important. I just wanted to fu**ing win first place."

Pisarenko was humble in victory despite overcoming a stacked final table that included multiple bracelet winners, including Benny Glaser, Steve Zolotow, and Lawrence Brandt in addition to Leah.

"I was nervous [at the start of the final table]. Benny [Glaser] is a very good player. After he busted, I felt a lot better. Leah is also a great player. If he beat me today, I would have nothing but respect for him."

Pisarenko entered Day 5 with a slight chip lead over Leah, but the tone of the match was quickly set after Leah and Pisarenko exchanged leads several times within the first level of play.

Pisarenko pulled into a considerable lead after winning a pair of hands in Razz, but Leah fired right back after making a couple of full house in both variations of Stud.

Leah pulled into an over 3:1 chip lead after making another full house against Pisarenko's flush in Omaha Hi-Lo, but Pisarenko hung tough and pulled back to even after a couple favorable hands in Razz and Stud.

Leah and Pisarenko were far from done, however, and took turns scooping each other in Stud Hi-Lo. A key hand occurred to give Pisarenko his largest lead of the match after both players made trips in Limit Hold'em. Pisarenko held the best kicker and Leah was left short.

"The Phoenix" rose again in dramatic fashion, however, after drilling a set of jacks on the flop against Pisarenko's queens in Limit Hold'em.

Despite Leah's resilience, Pisarenko wouldn't be denied. Leah found himself with crumbs after losing a large pot in Razz and, despite Leah doubling up his meager stack three more times, Pisarenko was able to finish the job in Stud with split aces against Leah's split kings.

This concludes PokerNews event coverage. Be sure to check out our live-reporting hub for continuing coverage of the 2024 WSOP and other events around the globe.

Event #45: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship Final Table Results
Place Player Country Prize
1 Maksim PisarenkoRussia $399,988
2 Mike Leah Canada $266,658
3 Lawrence Brandt United States $183,049
4 Steve Zolotow United States $128,863
5 Benny Glaser United Kingdom $93,094
6 Maria Ho United States $69,063
7 Robert Wells United Kingdom $52,651
8 Patrick Moulder United States $41,281
9 Greg Mascio United States $33,313

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