Elik Vodovoz has won the 2019 World Series of Poker Circuit Hammond $1,700 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. The 72-year-old amateur poker player originally hails from Ukraine but now resides in Naperville, Illinois. The retired dentist won his way into this event through a $220 satellite, and then went on to defeat a massive field of 1,050 entries to secure his first WSOPC gold ring and the top prize of $294,290. His largest previous score was only for $13,088.
“Frankly, I really like playing poker,” Vodovoz told WSOP reporters. “I just have fun playing. My son is also playing and he told me ‘you’re playing well. Take your time and in the future, you will win something.’ Well the future came early.”
In addition to the ring and the money, Vodovoz also secured 960 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win, enough to see him climb into a three-way tie for 49th place in the overall standings, joining Koray Aldemir and Brian Wilson.
Vodovoz came into the third and final day of this event in fourth chip position with 17 players remaining. He knocked out Evan Scherer (9th – $29,015) to take the chip lead early at the final table. He scored his next elimination by picking up the KDiamond SuitKClub Suit and winning a three-way all-in against the QSpade SuitQClub Suit of Brek Schutten and the AClub SuitKSpade Suit of Adam Greenberg, who was sent to the rail in sixth place ($59,462). He kept his spree going by sending Peter Kelly (4th – $101,649) and Brek Schutten (3rd – $135,214) home.
With that Vodovoz took nearly a 2-to-1 lead into heads-up play against Derek Hanauer. He was able to extend the lead to more than a 6-to-1 advantage by the time the final hand arose. Vodovoz raised to 340,000 from the button with the 9Heart Suit9Club Suit and Hanauer three-bet to 1,100,000 with 10Diamond Suit10Club Suit. Vodovoz moved all-in and Hanauer quickly called. The board ran out AHeart SuitQHeart Suit4Heart Suit7Diamond Suit9Diamond Suit, and Vodovoz spiked a nine on the river to make a set, securing the pot and the title. Hanauer earned $181,950 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table: