Justin ‘Jsaliba2’ Saliba’s first recorded poker tournament cash came during the summer of 2019. In the span of just over two years, Saliba went from making the money in smaller-stakes events to playing much higher buy-in events. On Thursday, July 15 he overcame a field of 188 players to win the 2021 World Series of Poker Online $5,300 buy-in no-limit hold’em high roller event, earning his first WSOP gold bracelet and the top prize of $253,800.
The score increased Saliba’s lifetime tournament earnings to $455,167. This was by far his largest-ever cash, topping the $49,987 he earned as the seventh-place finisher in the recent $3,500 buy-in event at the Wynn Summer Classic series.
The top 25 finishers made the money in this event, with plenty of big names among those who cashed, including three-time bracelet winner and WPT champion Nick ‘Cashusklay Schulman (29th – $8,554), two-time bracelet winner and WPT champ Tony ’Panoramic’ Dunst (28th – $8,554), recent WSOP Online bracelet winner Gionni ‘COLDWARKID’ Demers (22nd – $8,930), bracelet winner Arkadiy ‘Crocofantos’ Tsinis (17th – $9,870), bracelet winner Jason ‘Haderade’ Somerville (18th – $9,870), current Card Player Player of the Year race leader Ali ‘SasukeUchiha’ Imsirovic (17th – $9,870), bracelet winner Andrew ‘WATCHGUY42’ Lichtenberger (13th – $12,220), and two-time bracelet winner Ryan ‘Adopt_aDogg0’ Leng (12th – $12,220).
The final table of nine began with ‘OrcinusOrca’ atop the chip counts and Saliba in third place. Bracelet winner Jonathan ‘Art.Vandelay’ Dokler scored the first two knockouts of the day, eliminating Michael ‘BrockLesnar’ Holtz (9th – $15,980) and Thomas ‘HavanaClub’ Boivin (8th – $22,560) to enter seven-handed play with the chip lead.
John ‘Macallan25’ Riordan was the next to fall. The 2021 U.S. Poker Open $10,000 big bet mix event winner got all-in with AK facing the pocket sixes of ‘OrcinusOrca’. The pocket pair held up to send Riordan to the virtual rail in seventh place ($35,720). ‘OrcinusOrca’ continued to accumulate, winning the next big all-in with pocket queens against the ace-queen of Joshua ‘Zeal1906’ Ray to narrow the field to just five players. Ray earned $47,000 for his deep run.
2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25,000 high roller winner Martin ‘bathroomline’ Zamani got his last eight big blinds in preflop with A8. he received a call from Jesse ‘Patient0’ Yaginuma’s K9 in the big blind. Yaginuma flopped a pair of kings and held from there to kncok Zamani out in fifth place ($56,400).
Saliba earned his first elimination of the final table when his 106 beat out the J9 of ‘OrcinusOrca’ (4th – $65,800), who was left short after doubling Saliba up a few hands prior. Saliba made tens up by the river to cut the field to three players.
Jesse Yaginuma’s run in this event came to an end when his A10 ran into the AK of Saliba, who made aces and kings on the turn and avoided Yaginuma’s straight outs on the river. Yaginuma took home $84,600 for the fifth-largest cash of his career.
With that, Saliba took more than a 3.5:1 chip lead into heads-up play with Jonathan Dokler. It didn’t take lond for him to convert that advantage into the title. Saliba limped from the button for 50,000 total with KJ. Dokler moved all-in for around 10 big blinds with 55. Saliba called and the board came down AK8K7. Saliba made trip kings to lock up the pot and the title, while Dokler took home $148,000 for his second-place showing.
Here is a look at the payouts awarded at the final table:
|1||Justin ‘Jsaliba2’ Saliba||$253,800|
|2||Jonathan ‘Art.Vandelay’ Dokler||$148,050|
|3||Jesse ‘Patient0’ Yaginuma||$84,600|
|5||Martin ‘bathroomline’ Zamani||$56,400|
|6||Joshua ‘Zeal1906’ Ray||$47,000|
|7||John ‘Macallan25’ Riordan||$35,720|
|8||Thomas ‘HavanaClub’ Boivin||$22,560|
|9||Michael ‘BrockLesnar’ Holtz||$15,980|