The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final is well and truly up and running–and we’re very quickly down to seven players after near back-to-back knockouts. Both Milos Skrbic and Timothy Su are on the rail, losing their stacks to the two dominant players.
Garry Gates took from Skrbic to end the Serbian’s day in ninth, and then Su lost a flip to Hossein Ensan. The rich get richer, and even the “poor” now walk away with $1 million and $1.25 million, respectively.
Skrbic told reporters after his elimination that he had lost seven all-in confrontations in a row, the last of which was the first time that he was the player under threat.
“I’m still in shock,” Skrbic said. “It was fun, for sure, somehow I’m happy with every decision I made in the whole tournament. I wouldn’t change anything.”
His final hand came about when action folded to Gates in the small blind and he moved in, covering the 17.4 million Skrbic had behind. Skrbic found A♠J♥ and made a quick call, but Gates had him pipped with A♣Q♥. The board offered no salvation to Skrbic.
“I just busted in a huge cooler,” Skrbic said. “I really tried to do it for the people of Serbia. I know there’s a lot of people there watching me, hoping that I can win. It wasn’t up to me, clearly.”
For all that, he couldn’t find a bad word to say about anything regarding his World Series experience, acknowledging to get to this stage of a tournament of this magnitude represented a huge success.
“Tournaments are rough,” he said. “It’s very bad when you run bad in tournaments, but it’s definitely fun when you run like me, deep run everything. You are always disappointed unless you win.”
He added: “I have fun all the time. That’s just the way I am. The way I play, I do a bunch of stuff that other pros don’t do. I learn to extract the best from it. I just enjoy myself, I didn’t have stress at all.”
A cash game player by trade, he said he will likely return to that format, or focus on his business — an environmental charging company — more if he takes some time away from poker.
“I couldn’t do anything better,” he said. “I might drink every day for the next year.”
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Only a few hands later, the stands around the final table erupted again when Su open pushed for 17.7 million with 3♦3♣ and was called by Ensan’s A♦J♠. This flip went in favour of the big stack too when the dealer put a jack on the flop and another on the river, sealing the deal for Ensan.
Su too was clearly disappointed, but also entirely reasonable about how things panned out.
“Once you’ve chosen to play poker, you’re playing poker and win or lose that’s just part of the game,” he said. “That’s bound to happen whether you’re the best player in the world, the worst player in the world, there’s a lot of luck involved, so you’re bound to sometimes just lose. That happens. It doesn’t really bother me knowing that’s a possible and also likely outcome. People might just underestimate it.”
Su had captivated audiences both in Las Vegas and watching at home by his calm and grace under pressure, as well as a backstory that doesn’t necessarily fit with the archetype of the poker player. Su is a software engineer, who plays three instruments in his spare time, and continued to draw comparisons between his time with the orchestra and at the poker table.
“With all my hobbies and interests and my profession, the way you have to approach those to become proficient or good, whatever that means, is the same thing that applies to poker,” he said. “It’s a lot of talking to people, meeting, studying, trying to figure out how to better yourself each day.”
He added of his experience this week: “There’s no regrets on anything, that’s for sure. In terms of the pots I won and lost, sometimes you can make the best decision and it doesn’t work out and that’s an awesome lesson poker teaches.”
He gave a shout out to the support he’s received from friends and family and said that the final seven should serve up a treat for poker fans. “I think it will be pretty unpredictable because there are a lot of players still in capable of making some pretty crazy moves in certain spots,” he said.
It’s less of a thrill with both Skrbic and Su now departed, but the pressure is only increasing.
The one player to actually win a showdown while under threat so far today was the returning short-stack, Nick Marchington. The young Brit shoved his 19.6 million stack into the middle during the first orbit after Zhen Cai had opened for 3 million. Cai thought about it and called, and this final saw its first showdown, its first race and ultimately its first double up.
Marchington had 10♣10♥ to Cai’s A♦Q♥ and a ten spiked on the flop. Cai was drawing dead after the turn and, thanks to a dream start, he soared from ninth to third in the counts. With Hossein Ensan and Gates clear at the top, it was very, very tight from third down. The subsequent quick eliminations of Skrbic and Su only served to prove it.
Stacks at 8pm:
Hossein Ensan, Germany – 208,400,000
Garry Gates, USA – 140,200,000
Alex Livingston, Canada – 48,900,000
Dario Sammartino, Italy – 37,700,000
Zhen Cai, USA – 35,300,000
Kevin Maahs, USA – 27,300,000
Nick Marchington, UK – 17,000,000
WSOP photography by PokerPhotoArchive