A new three-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner has been crowned in Event #40: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship. American mixed game specialist Kevin Gerhart went wire-to-wire on the final day after defeating Marco Johnson in heads-up play.
Out of a field of 149 entries, Gerhart outlasted some of the biggest names in the world of poker and claimed the biggest slice of a $1,389,425 prize pool. For his efforts, he earned a top prize of $361,124 while runner-up Johnson had to settle for a consolation prize of $223,194.
While today’s victory is the biggest in terms of money earned, he considers the first bracelet in Event #54: $1,500 Razz back in 2019 as the most important one.
“I would consider the first one, the Razz one, the most important just because it opened the doors for me for bigger and better things,” he said. “I just started playing $10ks this year so it’s something new to me and I haven’t experienced this field very much but I have played against all these guys in the $1,500s. I am just so happy to have all my friends that support me through everything.”
It was a tough battle throughout the last four days and Gerhart praised not only the four opponents on the final day but also those who busted prior in the money.
“If you look at just the final nine or even the last 16, there are so many names, so many bracelets, so many top-level players. I am so happy that I get to prove myself year after year after year with three bracelets and be hopefully considered among the top in the world right now.”
Event #40: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship Final Table Results
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in USD)|
|1||Kevin Gerhart||United States||$361,124|
|2||Marco Johnson||United States||$223,194|
|3||Eddie Blumenthal||United States||$155,971|
|4||Bryce Yockey||United States||$111,701|
|5||Brandon Shack-Harris||United States||$82,033|
|6||Chris Vitch||United States||$61,819|
|7||Jake Schwartz||United States||$47,835|
Gerhart headed into the final day as the chip leader after a long session at the tables on the previous day, on which the field was whittled down from 16 contenders. That included a long spell with just one elimination on the nine-handed unofficial final table.
“It was so difficult. Playing nine-handed, anything is difficult, the hand ranges you have to play, tighten up so much and the short stacks kept doubling and doubling. By the end of the day I got home, I had no energy to think about anything and went straight to sleep for twelve hours,” the eventual champion admitted.
Gerhart described runner-up Johnson as a tough competitor, especially one Stud Hi-Lo hand in which a Johnson raise caused Gerhart to “almost threw up” as it was difficult to fold. However, once they headed into the next limit hold’em round, Gerhart went on a heater in which he “just had it over and over, I kept getting value bet after value bet in and he just called off.”
That short spell sent Gerhart into an overwhelming lead and he eventually finished the job in an Omaha Hi-Lo hand in which he flopped an unbeatable full house.
During the final table, Gerhart had a large rail going and there was the usual atmosphere of previous years to be heard in the Thunderdome while three WSOP events played down to a winner at nearly the same time.
“It is unbelievable to have 30 people cheering for you at the same time, just the energy I felt from the crowd. The only rail I had the last few days were my girlfriend and my girlfriend’s parents who just came into town Thursday night,” Gerhart said in the interview after his victory.
The win also comes at a special time as he celebrates his birthday next week and received the “best present I could have asked for.” It was the fifth cash of the ongoing series in Las Vegas but Gerhart will be skipping the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and go back to his usual $1,500 Events and add a “couple of 10k buy-ins, play the Main Event and call it a year.”
After the 2021 has wrapped up, Gerhart will certainly take a break from poker and promised his girlfriend a trip anywhere in December and January to spend some time together.
Action of the Final Day
Only five players returned to their seats on the main feature table in the Amazon Room and Gerhart was the chip leader ahead of Eddie Blumenthal while Johnson was in third place. Another two WSOP bracelet winners were in contention including Bryce Yockey and Brandon Shack-Harris with the latter as the distinct short stack.
There would be no third victory for Shack-Harris as he fell in the opening stages, and Yockey’s stack was decimated before he bowed out in a three-way Razz hand against Blumenthal and Gerhart. Throughout the entire 124 hands on the final day, which was live-streamed on the PokerGO platform, Gerhart remained in the lead and was only temporarily threatened by Johnson during heads-up play.
Blumenthal’s fate was sealed in a limit hold’em hand in which Johnson made trips queens and the heads-up action commenced with a near two-to-one lead for Gerhart. After nearly closing the gap at one point, Johnson dropped to a severe short stack and was unable to mount a comeback to claim his own third WSOP gold bracelet.
This concludes the PokerNews coverage for this event but the live reporting team is providing exclusive updates throughout the entire 2021 WSOP in Las Vegas from start to finish.