Simeon Spasov is the latest gold bracelet winner to have emerged victorious at the 2022 World Series of Poker. The Bulgarian player defeated a field of 1,977 entries to earn his first piece of WSOP hardware and a career-high payday of $527,944.
Prior to this win, Spasov’s largest cash had been a $100,000 score earned as the runner-up in a $5,00 buy-in event at the Merit Poker Top Guns festival in 2019. He now has nearly $1.1 million in lifetime earnings.
Spasov was also awarded 1,080 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This was his third final-table showing of the year. With 1,732 total points and nearly $650,000 in year=to-date POY earnings, Spasov now sits in 61st place in the 2022 POY race, sponsored by Global Poker.
The healthy turnout for this event resulted in a $3,519,060 prize pool, with the top 297 finishers making the money. Big names that ran deep included Maria Ho (147th – $4,355), two-time bracelet winner Yuri Dzivielevski (145th – $4,355), two-time bracelet winner Eric Baldwin (71st – $7,885), 2020 WSOP main event champion Damian Salas (51t – $10,830), three-time bracelet winner Georgios Sotiropoulos (47th – $10,830), two-time bracelet winner Dmitry Yurasov (33rd – $15,546), FiveThirtyEight founder and 2021 WSOP 410,00 limit hold’em championship runner-up Nate Silver (28th – $15,546), and bracelet winner Heidi May (14th – $15,546).
An extra day was needed in this event, as play was halted late on day 3 with seven players still in contention. Ply resumed with World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour champion Mike Watson in the lead.
Watson was soon supplanted atop the chip counts by Daniel Custodio. Watson slipped a bit by doubling up a short stack, and then Custodio knocked out Evan Sandberg (7th – $76,912) with A-J beating Q-10 suited all-in preflop. This was Sanberg’s fourth-largest score, with his top payday being the more than $293,000 he earned as the winner of the 2021 $1,600 ’Mystery Bounty; event during the Wynn Fall Classic.
Spasov also moved ahead of Watson thanks to earning an elimination. Spasov’s A-Q outran the pocket nines of bracelet winner Christopher Frank, spiking an ace on the turn to take the lead and then holding from there. Frank earned $100,688 as the sixth-place finisher.
Brazil’s Walter Ripper lost the majority of his sack with middle pair on the flop running into the top set of Ioannis Angelou Konstas. Ripper was left short after that hand, getting his last couple blinds in moments later with 4-3 suited and failing to overcome the K-J of Spasov. Ripper took home $133,129 for his fifth-place showing.
Angelou Konstas lost a couple sizable pots to Watson during four-handed play to fall to the bottom of the leaderboard. He got his last seven big blinds in preflop with pocket queens leading the pocket tens of Spasov, but a rivered straight for the Bulgarian sent the Angelou Konstas to the rail in fourth place. The Greek player earned $177,761 in this event, the fifth-largest score of his career. He now has more than $3.1 million in lifetime cashes to his name.
Custodio lost a few pots to Spasov early in three-handed play that saw his stack fall to just over 10 big blinds. He soon got all-in with A-2 suited, shoving from the small blind and receiving a quick call from Watson, who had picked up K-Q in the big blind. Custodio flopped top pair of aces, but wasn’t out of the woods with Watson picking up a gutshot to broadway. The turn was safe, but a jack on the river completed Watson’s straight to eliminate Cusodio in third place ($239,679). The Portuguese player earned a career-best payday of $239,679 for his strong showing in this event.
Heads-up play began with Spasov holding nearly a 2:1 chip lead over Watson. He maintained the advantage up until the final hand was dealt. All of the chips went in with Spasov holding AClub SuitQDiamond Suit. Watson called and was at risk with ADiamond Suit9Diamond Suit. The board ran out JSpade SuitJClub Suit4Club Suit3Diamond SuitQClub Suit and Spasov’s queens and jacks locked up the pot and the title. Watson earned $326,296 as the runner-up, increasing his lifetime earnings to more than $15.4 million.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:
Winner photo credit: WSOP / Katerina Lukina.