Paulo Joanello has topped a field of 1,501 players to capture his World Series of Poker gold bracelet in Event #77: $1,500 Fifty Stack No-Limit Hold'em. Joanello defeated Toby Price after a back and forth heads-up match that saw Joanello walk away with the first-place prize of $321,917.
This is Joanello's fourth WSOP cash of his career, but this one will go down as his largest by far to date. The Brazilian has played poker for the majority of his career in his home country and usually only travels to the United States for the WSOP. He's been attending the annual event in Las Vegas since 2013 but this was his first final table and he wasn't about to let the bracelet escape him.
Final Table Results
|2||Toby Price||United States||$198,970|
|3||Martin Bicanik||Czech Republic||$146,061|
|5||Roongsak Griffeth||United States||$81,228|
|7||Elio Fox||United States||$47,145|
|8||David Morel||United States||$36,508|
|9||Scott Hall||United States||$28,585|
"When he came back in heads-up, I thought I was going to lose. But I looked at the bracelet and my rail and I said "No" this is going to Brazil and these people and I'm very happy."
Joanello specifically came to the WSOP this year for the Main Event but was eliminated on Day 3. He made a deep run in Event #75: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Freezeout, finishing in 74th place just yesterday. After jumping into this tournament shortly after, Joanello said everything just fit into place.
"Today, I ran good. It feels awesome," Joanello shared with PokerNews after his victory.
Joanello had one of the most boisterous rails at the 2021 WSOP and the Brazilians seem to never disappoint. When the final river card was dealt, Joanello was jumping around with his rail and the echoes could be heard throughout the Amazon Room. He admitted afterward what this means to him and the country of Brazil.
"It's a dream, a dream come true. I have no voice left because I was yelling, but it's a dream for all of us." Joanello could barely fight back the tears but he was still grinning from ear to ear.
Final Day Action
There were 114 players that returned to the felt for the second and final day of this event. The action was fast and furious right from the start with players all over the room being eliminated in the first hand. Some of the early exits included Bart Lybaert (107th place), Anthony Spinella (87th place), Ari Engel (86th place), Martin Jacobson (71st place), Gal Yifrach (56th place), and Damian Salas (44th place).
It was a sprint to the final table which occurred prior to the dinner break in level 32. Scott Hall started the final table third in chips but sent a big double to Price in the early going. On the very next hand, his pocket sevens fell to the pocket kings of Joanello. He was quickly followed to the payout desk by David Morel in eighth place who was also a victim of Joanello's hot streak.
On the last hand before the dinner break, Elio Fox bowed out in seventh place. Fox was the shortest stack remaining on the table and decided to get his chips in the middle before the blinds came around one more time. Unfortunately for him, Joanello woke up with pocket tens in the big blind and Fox was unable to recover.
Once the players returned from dinner break, Axel Hallay, Roongsak Griffeth, and Ron Moisescu filed their way to the payout desk in short order. Hallay lost a coin flip, Griffeth bluffed his stack after missing a combo draw, and Moisescu ran into kicker problems after flopping top pair.
With only three players remaining, Price held a commanding lead with around 80% of the chips in play. However, those chips got splashed around a bit, with the majority of them going to Joanello. Martin Bicanik and his rail were enjoying watching the action unfold but eventually, the blinds got too big for the short stack. Bicanik got it in good with ace-king against the ace-jack of Joanello, but a jack on the flop would put Joanello in the lead and Bicanik was ousted in third place.
The heads-up battle started with Price in the lead but the two players exchanged the chip lead multiple times over the course of the two-hour battle. Price was slowly getting shorter near the end of the last level and it all came to a halt when he flopped top pair against the overpair of Joanello. An explosion of cheers could be heard throughout the rail and Price was forced to head to the payout desk in second place.
That wraps up our coverage for this event but there is still one more week of tournaments to be played at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. Keep it locked here for all of the updates at PokerNews.