It was far from an easy path to victory for Sandeep Pulusani, though he was able to to push the right buttons at the right times to come out victorious in Event #77: $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha at the 2022 World Series of Poker at Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas. Pulusani topped a field of 1,234 entrants who generated a prize pool of $1,647,390.
Pulusani took home the biggest piece of that pool, with the first place prize being $277,949 and the coveted WSOP gold bracelet and the second of his career, after defeating Esther Taylor in heads-up play. He previously won a bracelet at the 2013 World Series when he won Event #44 $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em, for which he took home the biggest cash of his career at $592,684. This win adds to an already impressive resume which includes over $1,600,000 in live career earnings before today’s victory.
Event #77: $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold'em/Pot Limit Omaha Final Table Results
|1st||Sandeep Pulusani||United States||$277,949|
|2nd||Esther Taylor||United States||$171,787|
|3rd||Aden Salazar||United States||$124,864|
|5th||Richard Kellett||United Kingdom||$68,274|
|6th||Noah Bronstein||United States||$51,372|
|8th||William Leffingwell||United States||$30,129|
Pulusani entered the final day with the third smallest stack (1,210,000) among the 11-player field. It wasn’t always smooth sailing for him either, as at one point, his stack reached a low point of around 400,000 per his own estimate.
“It was a rollercoaster. Yesterday I also started short and ran it up until I made a bad play against Esther Taylor at the end of the night. And today has been a real grind because I was short the entire time and Aden Salazar had all the chips until we got three-handed,” Pulusani told PokerNews about his journey to victory. He went on to describe what a second bracelet meant to him, “My first bracelet was in a 3k No-Limit Event nine years ago actually, so it’s been a while! To win this one feels super special. It kind of proves my first bracelet wasn’t a fluke, so it’s really nice.”
Pulusani had immense respect for his fellow competitors. He and Taylor shared an embrace after the last hand. He also had this to say about third place finisher Aden Salazar, “Salazar is only 21 years and already had many great results. You can tell he has a talent for the game and it’s really cool to play against young rising stars and see how my skills match up and how to adjust.”
Other notable deep runs included Daniel Negreanu (18th -$9,844), Scott Davies (45th - $5,863), and Jonathan Dokler (26th - $8,174).
Final Table Action
The first big action of the final table came courtesy of Richard Kellett. The Englishman earlier in the day had his stack reduced to just 45,000 after doubling up Pulusani. Kellett had managed to make the final table thanks to a triple up, double up, and another double up on three consecutive hands, followed by a third double up a few hands into the unofficial final table of nine players.
Kellett scored yet another double-up when he ran his ace-queen into the pocket threes of Salazar and the flop paired his ace. A bit later he also scored the first knockout of the final table when William Leffingwell ran his top pair into the nut flush of Kellet.
Roughly an hour later, the next elimination came as the Norwegian Vegard Andreassen fell in seventh place after moving all in against Pulusani, who went on to flop a set and turn a full house.
Just a bit later, Day 1 chip leader Vincent Lam scored a big double up against Salazar when he turned trip tens. Only 15 minutes later, it was Pulusani who scored a double-up through Salazar when he flopped a set of deuces to bust Salazar’s aces.
The next to fall was Noah Bronstein in sixth place. Bronstein had shared that he had a wedding to attend the next day and had originally had a flight scheduled on Day 2 of this event, but obviously had to reschedule given his success. He ran into quite the cooler when he was all in with ace-ten of clubs against Lam’s king-jack of hearts. The flop paired his ten, as well as putting two clubs on the board, but Lam paired his jack on the turn and Bronstein was unable to improve further.
Kellett was eliminated in fifth place, as his good fortune finally ran out. He found himself as the middle stack in a three-way all-in pot against Salazar and Pulusani. This proved to be one of the most crucial pots of the tournament, as Pulusani came out the big winner with the flopped nut flush, giving him a triple-up that put him in a position to go on the run that he ultimately did. Salazar managed to make a flush on the river to scoop the side pot and send Kellett out of the tournament.
With just four remaining players, the bracelet became more and more of a real possibility for the players with each passing pot. Taylor managed a big double-up against Lam when she made a full house, moving her ahead of the Day 1 chip leader.
Lam doubled up Taylor after she made a full house on the last hand before the dinner break. Then, shortly after returning from dinner, Lam met his end. He had enjoyed a large stack ever since he made a hero call on the last hand of the night on Day 1 to scoop a pot north of 1,000,000 chips, but he was eliminated by Salazar, who managed to river two pair to eliminate the Canadian.
Salazar reached his chip apex shortly into three-handed play when he reached 20,000,000, nearly two-thirds of all the chips in play. But soon he started bleeding chips. First, he doubled up Pulusani when he paired his ace against Salazar’s pocket pair. After losing a series of smaller pots, Salazar failed to get a bluff through against Taylor and was knocked down to a more modest chip lead, with 12,000,000, while Pulusani and Taylor both had around 8,000,000.
Just a bit later, Pulusani and Salazar played the biggest pot of the tournament. Salazar three-bet shoved on the flop, which Pulusani called. Pulusani had middle set, which held. This pot put Pulusani over 18,000,000 chips, a commanding chip lead while making Salazar the short stack for the first time all day with just over 4,000,000. A few minutes later, he was eliminated in third place when he ran into the double-suited aces of Taylor and was unable to improve.
Pulusani entered heads-up play with a chip lead of more than 2:1. That lead grew quickly as he made the better two pair just a few hands in, to reduce Taylor to fewer than 3,000,000. She managed to double up once but was eliminated a few minutes later. She ran queen-seven into pocket nines of Pulusani. She did manage to pair her queen on the river, but that queen completed a straight draw for Pulusani, giving him the pot, and the bracelet.
What does Pulusani have planned now, after his second bracelet win? “Actually I have a one-and-half-year-old at the house that I haven’t seen for a couple of weeks so I’ll probably head back home tomorrow to LA and celebrate with my wife and child!”
That's it for this event, but keep your browser on PokerNews for comprehensive coverage of the remainder of the 2022 WSOP!