The Giant’ certainly lived up to its name. The inaugural running of the World Series of Poker $365 buy-in no-limit hold’em event drew a massive turnout of 10,015 entries built a prize pool of $3,004,500. In the end, the lion’s share of that was awarded to Las Vegas local Dieter Dechant,who emerged victorious to win the $291,906 top prize and his very first WSOP gold bracelet.
“I have dreamt of this moment for 25 years. It’s surreal,” said Dechant, who was overcome with emotion after the final card was dealt.
Dechant, a 56-year-old shift manager at in a Las Vegas poker room, had come incredibly close to fulfilling that dream just weeks ago when he finished third in the $1,000 seniors no-limit hold’em event for $281,691. Three weeks later he managed to improve on that run and close the deal.
“I really believe that going deep in the Seniors, it alleviated a lot of doubt that I had about my game,” said Dechant. “Can I play at this level? Can I handle the pressure? My run through the Seniors was the same as it was through this tournament.”
‘The Giant’ was a unique tournament that had one starting flight a week starting back on June 9, with each of the five flights kicking off at 7:00 p.m. local time on Friday night. The survivors came back on Saturday, July 8 and played down to the final three tables.
Dechant came into the final day of this tournament in seventh place with 27 remaining, including a number of veteran pros like bracelet winner Eric Baldwin (17th – $12,766) and World Poker Tourchampion Ravi Raghavan (12th – $20,582).
Dechant was able to survive and build his stack. He eliminated Vera Kuhl in third place ($134,154) in order to take a 5-to-3 chip lead into heads-up play with Hrair Yapoudjian.
The two only played 15 hands in their final showdown. Yapoudjian was able to wrestle the lead away from Dechant early on, but in quick succession Dechant doubled up and then closed the deal. On the final hand Yapoudjian was left with only a couple big blinds. Dechant moved all-in with the K4and Yapoudjian called with the 95. The board ran out 10826J and Dechant’s kinh high was enough to win the pot and the title.
Yapoudjian earned $180,455 as the runner-up.
Dechant shared a message with WSOP reporters after finally taking down his first title at the series.
“Number one is, never give up on your dreams. That’s the first thing,” said Dechant. “Perseverance and taking advantage of the opportunities as they come. Don’t let them slip by. I stayed in the moment. Didn’t think about tomorrow or the next day or the final table. I played one hand at a time and the next thing you know its four days later and here you are. The locals can compete and a 56-year-old man can compete with the 22 and 25-year-olds.”
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at this final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
For more coverage from the summer series, visit the 2017 WSOP landing page complete with a full schedule, news, player interviews and event recaps.