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Venezuelan player wins WSOP's The Marathon

19 June 2017

Joseph di Rosa Rojas

Joseph di Rosa Rojas (photo by WSOP)

Name: Joseph di Rosa Rojas
Nationality: Venezuelan
Birthplace: Caracas, Venezuela
Current Residence: Caracas, Venezuela
Age: 34
Profession: Businessman
Number of WSOP Cashes: 5
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 1
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 58th – 2016 WSOP Event #59: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em ($11,734)
Career WSOP Earnings: $717,170
Personal Facts: Di Rosa Rojas began playing poker eight years ago, and he has participated in several international poker events. He logged his first WSOP cash in the 2016 series.

In what was the first ever event of its kind, Joseph Di Rosa Rojas came out on top of Event #23: $2,620 "Marathon" No-Limit Hold'Em. Rojas defeated Alexander Lynskey in a heads-up battle to take home the first place prize of $690,469 and the first WSOP gold bracelet for his home country of Venezuela.

Rojas came into the day as the chip leader and never relinquished that lead as he went into heads-up play with an eight-to-one chip lead. In the final hand of the night, Rojas limped the button and baited Lynskey into an all-in shove, which Rojas quickly called. Rojas was way ahead with the 10d-10c vs Lynskey's 9c-6c, however, when the flop came Qc-9s-6d, he would need some help. That help came in the form of the Qh on the turn. The 5h completed the board, and Rojas came out victorious as his rail jumped over the gates and flooded the stage area with cheers.

Rojas, a Venezuelan pro, realized he had a real shot at winning a bracelet today once the final two tables came together. He explained that he intended to play a lot of hands with the huge lead he had and stuck to this plan.

This is Venezuela's first WSOP gold bracelet. wWhen asked how he feels about this, he said, "I don't know, maybe tomorrow I will know," he laughed, clearly overcome with emotion. The newly-crowned champion began playing poker eight years ago, and it's his second time playing in Las Vegas. He has played in Barcelona, Bahamas, Panama and Aruba. This is his first official win, and before today's win, his total earnings added up to $55,344.

Rojas explained that he is very focused on poker, and he will keep playing online and working on his game. "I like tournaments more than cash games. It's more of a competition," he said. He plans on enjoying this win and staying until the end of the series, including a shot at the Main Event in July.

The official final table of nine players came together after Josh Weiss (10th place - $42,334) and his super short stack were ousted by Julian Stuer. Maurice Hawkins (9th place - $54,356) came into the final table as a short stack as well, having just over three big blinds. He got his remaining chips in the middle with two live cards and a gut-shot straight draw, but was unable to hit anything. Not far behind him was Pratik Ghatge (8th place - $70,590), when he was all-in vs Andrew Jernigan. Ghatge was in a dominating position preflop but Jernigan out-flopped him sending Ghatge to the cash cage.

After taking out the seventh place finisher, Andrew Jernigan (7th place - $92,705) still found himself as a short stack and couldn't get anything going. He was all-in with Ah-9h against Stuer's Ad-10d and was unable to hit a nine. Faraz Jaka (6th place - $123,105) was pretty quiet all day, but managed to ladder up to a sixth place finish. He, too, had all of his chips in the middle in a dominated position against Alexander Lynskey and could not catch up afterward. It was an action-packed hour after the dinner break, as there were five all-ins within ten hands, in which case nobody busted. On the sixth all-in, it was Julian Stuer (5th place - $165,277) at risk with 7h-7s against Tomlinson's Kh-6h. Stuer flopped a set, but it wasn't good enough to beat Tomlinson's flush on the river.

Four-handed play didn't last very long, either, as it was Tim Reilly (4th place - $224,316) who found himself all-in with pocket eights vs Tomlinson's pocket nines. Reilly couldn't catch an eight and was sent to the rail. The 53-year-old Jeffrey Tomlinson (3rd place - $307,728) put up an outstanding fight on the final table, but just came up short when his ace-king was beaten by Rojas' pocket eights. Tomlinson was a former WSOP bracelet winner in the 2015 $5,000 8-max event. That set the stage for a heads-up match between Lynskey and Rojas, with the Venezuelan holding a massive chip lead.

This unique style of tournament featured 100-minute levels and put players to the test on the ultimate grind level, with days taking up to 14 hours to complete. It attracted a total of 1,759 entries that generated a prizepool of $4,147,722. There were 264 places that got paid, with each of them being guaranteed to cash for $3,934. Some notables that took home some money but failed to reach the final table include Patrick Mahoney (13th place - $33,350), Upeshka De Silva (30th place - $17,491), Kristen Bicknell (44th place - $14,446), Adrian Mateos (52nd place - $12,077) and Jason Mercier (143rd place - $4,909).

1. Joseph Di Rosa Rojas, Venezuela - $690,469
2. Alexander Lynskey, Australia - $426,663
3. Jeffrey Tomlinson, U.S. - $307,728
4. Tim Reilly, U.S. - $224,316
5. Julian Stuer, Germany - $165,277
6. Faraz Jaka, U.S. - $123,105
7. Andrew Jernigan, U.S. - $92,705
8. Pratik Ghatge, U.K. - $70,590
9. Maurice Hawkins, U.S. - $54,356

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

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