2018 WSOP Weekend Roundup: Zhigalov, Dimov, Friedman, Varnell

Ognyan Dimov Wins $1,500 NL Six-Max

Last weekend, a total of four WSOP bracelets were awarded at the Rio Convention Center in Las Vegas, bringing the number of events played so far this year to 23, of which 17 winners have been crowned. On Saturday, Russia’s Andrey Zhigalov took down the $1,500 HORSE event, while a busy Sunday saw three more players win bracelets, including Bulgaria’s Ognyan Dimov triumphing at $1,500 NL Hold’em Six-Max, and US pros Adam Friedman and Craig Varnell capturing titles at the $10k Dealer’s Choice and $565 PL Omaha events, respectively.

Andrey Zhigalov Wins $1,500 HORSE

Event #15: $1,500 HORSE drew a field of 731 players to create a prize pool of $986,850, and amongst the noticeable pros seeing a retun on their buy-ins was Barry Greenstein in 47th ($3,595), Roland Israelashvili in 41st ($3,595), and Brian Hastings in 15th ($7,120). Former bracelet winner Scott Clements then headlined the final table, but ultimately fell in 7th place, after which Andrey Zhigalov and the USA’s Timothy Frazin progressed through to heads-up play.

Twenty minutes later, Zhigalov defeated his final opponent to claim his first WSOP bracelet, as well as the biggest score of his career worth $202,787. Commenting after his famous victory, the player now with $552,982 in live earnings, referred to the lack of adequate air conditioning at the venue, stating:

“I was exhausted yesterday. It was difficult to concentrate with sweat dripping off your forehead in the Amazon Room.”

1st: Andrey Zhigalov (Rus) $202,787
2nd: Timothy Frazin (USA) $125,336
3rd: Bradley Smith (CAN) $87,769
4th: Matt Woodward (USA) $62,379
5th: Nicholas Derke (USA) $45,006
6th: Sandeep Vasudevan (USA) $32,971
7th: Scott Clements (USA) $24,531
8th: JW Smith (USA) $18,541

Ognyan Dimov Wins $1,500 NL Six-Max

Event #17: $1,500 NL Hold’em Six-Max attracted a healthy field of 1,663 players, resulting in a $2,245,050 prize pool. By the time the final table of six had been reached, four of the players were former WSOP winners, with just Ognyan Dimov (photo) and Italy’s Antonio Barbato yet to capture a coveted gold accolade.

Interestingly, it was these two players who subsequently contested the heads-up phase of the competition, albeit with Dimov holding a commanding 9:1 chip lead over Barbato. Sixteen hands later, and Barbato shoved his remaining 7bbs all-in preflop holding A-9, but had to settle for a runner-up finish after Dimov’s K-6 call paid dividends. Commenting upon his approach during the tournament, the player now with $1,448,048 in winnings, said:

“I didn’t think much about it, although it’s a huge thing. I tried to stay calm. I felt really good while playing. So I won, and that’s really amazing.”

1st: Ognyan Dimov $378,743
2nd: Antonio Barbato $233,992
3rd: Nick Schulman $163,785
4th: Ryan D’Angelo $116,118
5th: Joey Weissman $83,396
6th: Yue Du $60,686

Adam Friedman Wins $10k Dealer’s Choice

In 2012, Adam Friedman took down the $5,000 WSOP Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split 8-or-Better event for $269,037. On Sunday, he then claimed a second career bracelet after triumphing at Event #18: $10,000 Dealer’s Choice for $293,275, and as a result the pro now boasts $2,476,368 in career earnings.

A total of 111 players took part in the $10k Dealer’s Choice event, and on Day 4 Friedman entered the final table as chip leader, holding more than double the chips of his nearest. Friedman subsequently took a 3-to-1 chip lead over Stuart Rutter into heads-up play, and eventually managed to see him off during a round of stud eight-or-better.

“In terms of the $10k events, this one is right up there,” explained the 36-year-old pro. “You need to know how to play 20 games. How many people are at least competent in at least 20 games? Not many. I think this takes as much skill as any other event.”

1st: Adam Friedman $293,275
2nd: Stuart Rutter $181,258
3rd: Alexey Makarov $127,487
4th: Chris Klodnicki $90,713
5th: David Baker $65,308
6th: Marco Johnson $47,579

Craig Varnell Wins $565 PL Omaha

Event #19: $565 Pot-Limit Omaha saw a massive field of 2,419 players take part in the popular four-card poker format. On Day 3, Varnell then entered the final table second in chips, but became the table leader after eliminating 2010 WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel in 6th place. He then followed up by doing likewise to Maxime Heroux in 4th and Omar Mehmood in 3rd to take a 6-to-1 chip lead over Seth Zimmerman into heads-up play.

Soon after, the deciding hand was played with Varnell (Kd-Jc-9s-5s) and Zimmerman (Ad-Kh-Qd-4h) moving all-in preflop. Zimmerman subsequently had to settle for a runner-up finish worth $112,347 after the Qs-Jh-3d-6s-9d board that ensued made Varnell two pair to secure the victory.

“It felt good to finally close one out,” said Varnell. “I almost didn’t play this event. But when I did, and I got a stack, I had a big advantage over the other players.”

Varnell now has $1,481,652 in career winnings to his credit, including in 2016 finishing third at the WPT Choctaw Durant for $306,346.

1st: Craig Varnell $181,790
2nd: Seth Zimmerman $112,347
3rd: Omar Mehmood $81,852
4th: Maxime Heroux $60,190
5th: Christopher Trang $44,677
6th: Jonathan Duhamel $33,477
7th: Shaome Yang $25,325
8th: Jason Lipiner $19,344
9th: Ilian Li $14,920