After two close calls earlier in the series, Michael “njnj17” Leib broke through and won his first World Series of Poker bracelet in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Leib bested a 1,517-entry field to earn $81,645 and the hardware in the $333 no-limit hold’em. It was his third cash and third deep run of the 2021 World Series of Poker Online following a 13th place finish in the $888 no-limit hold’em crazy eights event and a 16th place in the $2,000 no-limit hold’em deepstack event.
Leib defeated Robert “LuckyLuch11” Aronowitz heads-up and topped a final table that featured high roller regular Dan “oiltrader513” Shak and Michael “helionic” Dyer, who finished third in the 2018 World Series of Poker main event for $3.75 million.
After Shak disposed of bracelet winner Will Givens in 10th place, he took the chip lead into the final table. Aronowitz was just a few big blinds behind him and Leib sat in a distant third.
However, once the final nine took their seats, it became a two-man show with Leib and Aronowitz dominating the table. The final two players scored every knockout at the final table, as they pulled away from the pack.
Aronowitz eliminated George “gkon86” Konstantoulakis very early to overtake Shak for the chip lead. In a battle of the blinds, Aronowitz raised from the small blind with Q4 and Konstantoulakis defended 69 from the big blind.
Both players checked the 864 flop and the Q came on the turn. Aronowitz bet and Konstantoulakis called. The river was the J and Aronowitz checked. Konstantoulakis put out an overbet shove that was eventually called by Aronowitz. Aronowitz’s two pair sent Konstantoulakis home in ninth and gave Aronowitz temporarily into the chip lead.
It was Leib’s turn to give everyone some more virtual elbow room, as he scored a double knockout in a three-way all in. Michael “MMenz08816” Menzer moved all in for just shy of 9 big blinds, and Vinny “Vinnyj88” John three-bet shoved all in for about 18 big blinds on the button. Leib called from the small blind, having both of them covered.
Menzer tabled 99, John showed 88 and Leib turned over AQ. Leib got about as good of a flop as he could’ve hoped for, flopping top pair and the nut flush draw on a QJ3 board. It left his opponents with two outs combined, which neither hit, and they were both eliminated.
Since John started the hand with the bigger stack, he took home the better finishing spot. He earned $10,467 for seventh, while Menzer took home $7,919 for eighth. The double knockout moved Leib into the lead.
After the blinds went up, however, Aronowitz picked up right where he left off. He min-raised from the cutoff and called a five big blind shove from Mijael “Diaper_money” Meza on the button. Meza was in the lead with A-10 against Aronowitz’s Q-J suited, but a Q came on the river and sent Meza to the rail in sixth.
Dyer then went home in fifth after he moved all in for 11 big blinds from the cutoff with A9 and ran into Leib’s AK in the small blind. Dyer never improved and Leib scooped the pot with a better ace-high.
Following another bump in stakes, Shak was sent packing when he ran his A6 into Leib’s 77. The board ran out 53565 and Shak was eliminated in fourth. Shak’s elimination left Leib and Aronowitz neck-and-neck for the chip lead, while Richard “3ofspade” Bruner was on fumes.
Bruner busted in third when his Q4 fell to Aronowitz’s Q6 after all the chips got into the middle preflop, which left a very even start to the heads-up match.
It wasn’t even for long, though. An early cooler went Leib’s way and he quickly found himself with a better than 20-to-1 chip lead.
Leib raised on the button and Aronowitz called out of the big blind. The flop was KQ3 and there “was a bet and a call,” according to the official updates. The 4 came on the turn and all the chips found their way into the middle.
Leib showed 33, giving him bottom set, and Aronowitz needed to fill up with his K4. The 5 came on the river and Leib won the massive pot to leave Aronowitz with fewer than six big blinds. Leib finished the job a few hands later with middle pair against a gutshot straight draw.
Here is a look at the final table results:
|1||Michael “ninj17” Leib||$81,645|
|2||Robert “LuckyLuch11” Aronowitz||$50,562|
|3||Richard “3ofspade” Bruner||$35,907|
|4||Dan “oiltrader513” Shak||$25,850|
|5||Michael “helionic” Dyer||$18,886|
|6||Mijael “Diaper_money” Meza||$13,926|
|7||Vinny “Vinnyj88” John||$10,467|
|8||Michael “MMenz08816” Menzer||$7,919|
|9||George “gkon86” Konstantoulakis||$6,098|