Bradley Gafford, a resident of San Diego, California, emerged as the champion of the 2023 World Series of Poker mini main event. He outlasted an impressive field of 5,257 entries in the $1,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em freezeout tournament, securing his first WSOP gold bracelet and a remarkable prize of $549,555.
This victory marked Gafford’s most significant tournament accomplishment to date, surpassing his previous second-place finish at the Wynn Millions last spring, where he earned $97,386 in a $1,100 buy-in event.
The tournament attracted substantial demand, taking place during the bustling weekend leading up to America’s Independence Day celebrations and the main event. As a result, the line for late registrants extended across a considerable distance between the Paris and Horseshoe Las Vegas tournament areas. You can view a social media post from poker player Elvis Toomas, which includes video footage documenting the massive queue.
By the end of the first day, the initial field of several thousand entries had been reduced to 426 players, all of whom were already guaranteed a share of the prize pool. A total of 789 players finished in the money, including notable players who made deep runs such as bracelet winners Aditya Sushant (115th), John Reading (21st), and Timur Margolin (15th).
The final day began with Jeremy Oleon in the lead, with only five contenders remaining. However, Oliver Berens’ tournament journey came to an end after his A-Q hand collided with Joshua Reichard’s pocket tens. With tens full of nines by the turn, Berens had no chance of winning, and he finished in fifth place, earning $147,129.
Jennifer Abad was the next player to be eliminated, unable to overcome Reichard’s A-3 with her K-J. Abad failed to improve her hand, while Reichard hit a pair of threes to secure the pot, narrowing the field down to three players. Abad received $193,103 for her fourth-place finish.
When three-handed play began, Bradley Gafford found himself as the short stack. However, he managed to double up twice against Reichard, lifting himself out of the danger zone. In a critical showdown, Gafford called an all-in bet from Reichard with his A-Q, while Reichard held 10♣6♣. Although Reichard flopped a flush draw, he failed to complete it on the turn and river, allowing Gafford’s ace high to earn him another double-up.
In another significant clash, Reichard made a button jam once again, but this time Gafford called with pocket tens, which held strong against Reichard’s 8-6 suited. With this hand, Gafford seized the chip lead.
Although Reichard won the subsequent all-in confrontation with his A♥3♥ triumphing over Oleon’s K♦4♥ (3rd place – $255,215), Bradley Gafford maintained his lead over Reichard as the heads-up play began.
Reichard fought his way back to the top just in time for the pivotal hand of the match. With a flop of 10♥6♠3♥, Gafford checked with his Q♦10♠, and Reichard, holding 10♦2♠, placed a bet. Gafford check-raised and subsequently called Reichard’s all-in. The turn (7♦) and river (5♣) cards favored Bradley Gafford, ensuring that his hand remained superior.
With less than four big blinds left, Reichard’s journey concluded when his A-9 was unable to surpass Gafford’s 4-3. Reichard received $339,646 as the runner-up, earning his largest payout to date and increasing his lifetime earnings to over $2.7 million.
Event #74: $1,000 Mini Main Event Final Table Results
|1||Bradley Gafford||United States||$549,555|
|2||Josh Reichard||United States||$339,646|
|4||Jennifer Abad||United States||$193,103|
|5||Oliver Berens||United States||$147,129|