Brad Ruben has won his fourth World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet and a $126,288 first-place prize in the 2022 WSOP Event #4: $1,500 Dealer’s Choice after defeating the defending champion, Jaswinder Lally, in heads-up play.
But, it was neither the money nor the trophy on his mind when playing at the final table.
Ruben proudly wore the shirt of a charitable organization named Shields & Stripes, an organization aiming to help veterans. Even after defeating defending champion Lally to win his fourth WSOP bracelet — he became the third player through four events to capture their fourth bracelet alongside David Peters and Scott Seiver -- Ruben’s focus was still on those the charity supports.
“This one is very, very special. I kind of feel like this one is a little bigger than me,” Ruben said following his victory.
“I wore this shirt. It’s a charity called Shields & Stripes. They help vets. They help first responders and police officers who have injuries that aren’t really seen. I honestly feel like this is bigger than me. I’m representing them. I’m donating one percent of my winnings but also, I’m trying to get the word out about organizations like them and also maybe spread the word on maybe other poker players donating to charities.”
Ruben was introduced to the organization by one of his coaches when he asked about charities to support with his poker winnings. Poker is a solitary game, played by one player against a host of opponents, and Ruben was trying to find a way to get beyond the selfish nature of the game.
“I feel like when I play for a cause, I’m more fulfilled. It’s like a more wholesome way to play the game. The game can sometimes feel like it’s a little bit selfish, so this makes me feel more fulfilled," he said.
2022 WSOP Event #4: $1,500 Dealer's Choice Final Table Results
|1||Brad Ruben||United States||$126,288|
|4||Ben Yu||United States||$35,793|
|5||Jorge Walker||United States||$25,056|
|6||Charles Bransford||United States||$17,944|
|7||Alfred Atamian||United States||$13,153|
Final Day Action
Ruben came into the final day as the chip leader and watched as players like Norman Chad (13th), Brian Rast (12th), and Marco Johnson (8th) came up short of the final table. He was third in chips at the start of the final table and eliminated Charles Bransford in sixth place with a straight in Stud 8.
He also knocked out another four-time bracelet winner, Ben Yu, by making two pair in another Stud Hi-Lo hand. It was yet another Stud hand that propelled Ruben on his way to victory. He showed down a full house against Naoya Kihara which catapulted him into a massive chip lead with three players remaining.
After Kihara’s elimination, Ruben and Lally engaged in a friendly, cordial heads-up match that ended in a hand of Omaha 8 or Better. Lally raised all in with two queens and Ruben called with . He paired his ace on the flop and improved to a flush on the turn. The river provided no help to Lally, who celebrated with Ruben with a toast after the match.
Lally’s attempt to win the event for a second consecutive year came up just one spot short, but Ruben had nothing but praise for his opponent.
“It was great. He’s very friendly. He’s the defending champ and a very good player. So I’m blessed I was able to beat him. I got the cards in the end,” he said.
Four Bracelets in Three Years
Ruben has WSOP cashes going back to 2013, but, not even two years ago, he had still yet to win a bracelet. He then won two events in the WSOP Online and after that he won the $1,500 Razz event at last year’s series. His four bracelets in the last two years have come in three different formats, both live and online. It’s the culmination of an effort he made years ago to adapt in order to survive in the game.
“I can kind of see how five, six, seven, eight years ago, hold’em, it was really tough to beat and players were getting better. So I really felt that I needed to get good at all the other games to kind of maintain my edge,” he said.
And he’s not done. Ruben plans to stick around for the entire series. The quest for bracelet No. 5 begins right away: “I’m going to play a lot. Hopefully, win my fifth. Gonna keep going and maybe even go for the Player of the Year."
He added: "Why not? I had a good start, so why not."
That concludes coverage of the $1,500 Dealer’s Choice event. Keep following PokerNews for live updates from the 2022 WSOP in its new home at Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas.