Darrin Wright scored his first World Series of Poker bracelet in dominating fashion as he scored five of the seven available knockouts at the final table of the $600 no-limit hold’em/pot-limit Omaha eight-handed event.
The recreational player from Chicago earned $127,219 for his victory after besting the 1,569-entry field and defeated Victor Paredes heads-up. Wright told WSOP live reporters after the event that during his run to the title, he thought it was meant to be.
“I just felt it,” said the former Chicago Sun-Times writer. “You know how sometimes you can feel something, and you can feel it in your stomach. They say that’s your gut. I felt it in my gut.”
Wright only began playing poker a few years ago and was at the first major final table of his career in just his second recorded cash. He came into the unofficial nine-handed table right in the middle of the pack, sitting fourth in chips.
But once there, everything changed, and Wright began accumulating chips at a rapid pace. After winning a few non-showdown pots and eliminating Erik Eberts in ninth, Wright was sitting atop the leaderboard.
Kyle McLean was eliminated in eighth when he was all in postflop against both Paredes and Wright. On a board of QJJ7, McLean moved all in and was called in two spots. Paredes and Wright checked the river and Paredes took the pot with KK102 against McLean’s AKQ5 and Wright’s Q988.
Wright lost the pot but went back to work when he eliminated John Gilchrist in seventh. Gilchrist flopped trips with J864 on a KJJ flop, but he was drawing dead against Wright’s full house with AKJ2. All the chips went into the middle on the 10 turn with the eventual river meaning nothing.
Ryan Colton hit the rail in sixth when he functionally moved all in preflop, leaving himself just 1/20th of a big blind and was called by Wright. The last of the chips went into the middle on a J95 with Wright’s AJ in the lead against Colton’s 33. The turn and river were clean for Wright, sending Colton to the cashier’s cage.
Wright knocked out his third consecutive player when he flopped quad eights in pot-limit Omaha with K988 on an 883 flop against Hanan Braun’s AAJ10 drawing nearly dead. Braun didn’t hit running aces and was out in fifth.
The final four players finished the level and went on dinner break with Wright holding more than half the chips in play. When they returned, the only other elimination that didn’t involve Wright took place.
With three left, Wright was still the chip leader, but Paredes slipped and became the short stack, while Ray was in second. Paredes doubled through Ray and then Wright sent Ray packing when they were all in on an 852 flop.
Both players flopped a pair and a flush draw, but Wright hold both the better pair and the better draw with K863 against Ray’s QJ72. The turn was the A and the river was the 5, which extended Wright’s chip lead as he started his heads-up match against Paredes.
The heads-up match didn’t even last the remainder of the level. In yet another hand of Omaha, all the money went in on the turn with the board reading 942Q. Paredes was the favorite with Q964 against Wright’s J654.
Wright needed a heart and got it when the K came on the river which gave Wright the title. Paredes earned $78,604 for his runner-up finish.
Final Table Results:
Photo Credit: WSOP/Danny Kim