Cold Spring Harbor, New York’s Scott Seiver has earned the second WSOP gold bracelet of his career by taking down Event #48 of the 2018 World Series of Poker, $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship.
Seiver, a 33-year-old native of Columbus, Ohio, collected $296,222 for the victory, in the process moving his career WSOP winnings to $4,585,429. Seiver’s career live-event winnings around the globe amount to well over $23 million.
Seiver came back from short-stacked status during five-handed action to reach heads-up play then did so again during that last duel to claim the win. His final opponent was fixed-limit specialist Matt Szymaszek, 39, a Massachusetts-born poker pro now living in Redondo Beach, California. Szymaszek’s second-place cash of $193,081 was more than double his previous career WSOP earnings of $83,182.
Third place in this elite event went to another prior bracelet winner, Anthony Zinno. The deep Event #42 run was Massachusetts’ Zinno’s best of the 2018 WSOP to date and was worth $129,186. Christopher Chung, a homemaker from Irvine, California, placed fourth and earned $93,009 in the best cash of his WSOP career. Philadelphia’s Matt Glantz, who has earned over $3 million in his WSOP career but has yet to capture a gold bracelet, finished fifth and earned $68,352. Seiver came from well behind on more than one occasion to pull off his second career bracelet win. During five-handed play, he and Glantz returned to very short stacks, but Seiver was able to knock out Glantz, grab a few extra chips, then fight back to the top of the counts.
Later, while playing heads-up against Szymaszek for the win, Seiver had the event all but sealed. But not only did Szymaszek double up in several all I hands, Szymaszek surged to take his own 3:1 lead, putting Seiver in danger once more. With the blinds climbing high, a few key pots would decide it, and Seiver caught the best of it from that point on, closing out the win with a rush.
The last hand of the duel found Szymaszek’s stack reduced to crumbs, and he was forced to play against Seiver’s . The flop offered some hope, but the turn dashed most of that, leaving Szymaszek drawing to only the four fives in the deck for a straight. Instead, the completed the board and officially ended play in Event #52.
Seiver took pains to detail his repeated returns from the near brink to the eventual victory, beginning with his good fortune against fellow short stack Glantz. “Especially in limit hold’em of all the games, all pots are very big. There was a very difficult dynamic the entire time because Matt Glantz was very short, and there was an ‘outlasting’ situation. Honestly, I got lucky that he went out somewhat soonish and I could play more for the win at that point.
“I made a couple big hands, which is really what you need in this game, and it helped catapult me up, out of the danger zone.”
Seiver would evade further danger until the final duel against Szymaszek, when the ever-increasing blinds combined with mini-runs of hot cards for a couple of wild swings. “It was kind of terrifying,” Seiver said. “The blinds were huge, the stakes were huge; he started off with a 3-to-2 chip lead. I then had him with a 21-to-1 chip lead, and then about four minutes later, he had me at a 3-to-1 chip lead. So, yeah, my heart was going at about a thousand miles a second.”
It also turns out the as Seiver’s career progresses, he’s becoming ever more the fan of mixed games as opposed to plain old no-limit hold’em or Omaha. “It’s exciting to learn new games. It’s fun to try new things. This is a natural progression for almost every single poker player you talk to. I really became enchanted with mixed games when I came back to Vegas after Black Friday and online poker. I tried to play the mixed games here; it was a lot more enjoyable for me, a lot more fun. I took to it. I really enjoy all the aspects of all the different games.
“I like the feel of the table in limit hold’em better. It’s more friendly, more cameraderie. As you saw today, there was just a lot of laughing and joking throughout the day.”
Fourteen players returned for Day 3 action in this year’s limit hold’em championship, with New Jersey’s Daniel Zack well ahead of the pack with his 1.2 million in chips. Three hours after play resumed, the field had been whittled to an unofficial final table of ten, and then to nine as the United Kingdom’s Benny Glaser, a three-time bracelet winner, busted out in tenth.
Zack had been reeled in by the time the official final table was set, with Scott Seiver, Christopher Chung and Anthony Zinno at the top of the counts, each with more than 900,000 in chips. Nine-way play then lasted another hour before China’s Ken Deng busted, when his couldn’t stay ahead of Chung’s . The board ran out , giving Chung a pair of aces and sending Deng off for $24,700 in ninth-place money.
Prior bracelet winner Michael Moore exited next. Moore, from Agar, SD, got his last chips in against Chung after a flop, but found his well behind Chung’s . The turn and river made a flush for both players, but Chung’s was higher and Moore’s run ended in eighth, worth $30,821.
Early leader Zack’s tough Day 3 saw him bust out in seventh, in a big pot against Matt Glantz. Glantz started with to Zack’s , and an all-low board meant plenty of betting action all the way, with Zack all in on the turn and Glantz not having much behind himself. The board’s completion ended Zack’s run, and he was off to collect seventh-place money of $39,329.
Sixth place and $51,296 went to Charlotteville, VA’s Philip Cordano. Cordano was down to his last 80,000 when he went to showdown in a hand where Glantz raised Chung out of the pot after a flop. Glantz showed his while Cordano opened , and Cordano found no help on the turn and river.
Glantz returned from Day 3’s dinner break to a short 350,000 stack and didn’t waste much time getting those chips into the middle. He was down to 150,000 when he moved all in with , while Seiver called with . The gave Seiver both the lead and outs to a big hand, but Glantz never improved anyway as the turn and river completed the board, and Glantz departed with $68,352 for fifth.
Chung’s run ended in fourth soon after. He was whittled down to his last 215,000 when he squared off against both Szymaszek and Zinno. A Szymaszek bet after a flop got Zinno to fold and leave Szymaszek against the all-in Chung. Zinno’s had connected with the flop, and Chung was way behind with his . The turn and river were no help, and Chung was locked in to a $93,009 payday.
Zinno’s turn to hit the rail came not long after, when he squared off against Seiver for the rest of his chips in a battle of the blinds. Seiver, who completed from the small blind, called Zinno bets before and after the flop, then check-rasied Zinno on the turn. Zinno called all in and showed , but found himself reverse-dominated to Seiver’s for a pair of threes. Zinno needed a river ten but the arrived instead, sending him off for a $129,186 payout.
Despite the knockout, Seiver only held 40% of the chips in play as his battle against Szymaszek began, thus setting the stage for their see-saw finish.
Event #52, $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship, drew 114 elite fixed-limit hold’em players and offered a prize pool of $1,071,600. The top 18 players made the money, with a min-cash worth $14,615.
Among those cashing in Event #52 were Glaser (10th, $20,253), Nick Schulman (11th, $20,253), Mario Ho (12th, $20,253), Brock Parker (14th, $17,000), and John Hennigan (16th, $14,615). Hennigan’s cash may push him back into the led in the 2018 WSOP Player of the Year race when points re update early Thursday morning.
Final Table Payouts (POY points in parentheses):
1st: Scott Seiver, $296,222 (1,008.68)
2nd: Matt Szymaszek, $193,081 (504.34)
3rd: Anthony Zinno, $129,186 (453.91)
4th: Christopher Chung, $93,009 (403.47)
5th: Matt Glantz, $68,352 (378.26)
6th: Philip Cordano, $51,296 (353.04)
7th: Daniel Zack, $39,329 (302.60)
8th: Michael Moore, $30,821 (277.39)
9th: Ken Deng, $24,700 (252.17)