The 2023 World Series of Poker won the coveted gold bracelet’s third winner in Las Vegas, Paris, and Hosche. Event #5: Out of 456 items in the $1,500 dealer’s choice 6-hand, American poker pro Chad Eblage beat Andrew “AJ” Kelsol in a short-lived showdown to win the biggest slice of the $608,760 prize.
It was the second bracelet in years after Evleslage won Event #8: $25,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed. The maiden win at the time came with a seven-figure score and also came very early in the series. For his efforts over the last three days, Evanslage received a salary of $131,879 and Kelsall was denied a second bracelet and had to settle for $81,509.
The final day featured one more WSOP bracelet by John Racener, who reached the final table and dropped to fourth place. Clayton Modzen was the only non-American still in contention among the 11 favorites and finished fifth.
Compared to his maiden win a year ago, Eblage admitted, “I’m not as excited, but I’m having fun.” Obviously, the difference was different. Not only was the stakes down, but it was a totally different atmosphere compared to the serious nature of high-return competition at the time.
“Do you know what I mean? The mixed atmosphere is much, much more relaxed. We were joking. It’s as if I couldn’t say a single word, as I did when I hit Jake with my head. But it’s a really good thing… But I don’t think winning a World Series poker bracelet will ever get old,” the two-time current champion clearly said.
While many of his competitors chose certain games, Eveslage said he considered his advantage a rather traditional variant. “There were a lot of varduses, but there were holds. I think I have a lot more experience with Normit Hold than many of these people. So just calling the game is worth a lot,” he added, but made it clear that the former is one of his favorite variations. “I’m definitely… I’m sure I have the upper hand over almost everyone in the game… They’re laughing at me just because I sound selfish,” the champion joked while his friends laughed at him.
Eveslage, who is called the “greatest Badusi player in the world” as well as runner-up Kelsal, said it all started with him playing the greatest figure on the table like a championship wrestler, but “that could also be true.”
Another tongue-in-cheek remark by the opposing candidates, which has been frequently discussed throughout the past two days, is “Run like Chad,” as he explained.
“A lot of people who have mixed me up, I’m just… I don’t think I’m good at it and I think I’m really good at it. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re a kind of psychological justification. I don’t know what’s going on, but that’s where it came from.”
But the two-time WSOP bracelet player won’t be far out of the poker game, and he’s still unsure what game to play next. Potential candidates include the Dealer Choice Championship or the Mystery Bounty Event. “I don’t know. Let’s see how I feel,” he concluded.
Kelsol, the runner-up, entered the final day as a chip leader but couldn’t keep up with the momentum of the day before. In the frustrating opening stage, Kelsol fell back into the middle of the crowd and even joked, “The second day player is much better than the third day player.” The lead has changed several times and some of the competitors have returned from the brink to remain competitive.
But that was not the case for Nick Fupilo, as his stack was swallowed by James Johnson in Port Limit 2-7 Triple Draw. With 10 players remaining, Eveslege was the shortest stack by a small margin, while the racer saw his stack reduced to part of the full bet. Nevertheless, Ryan Lauder was knocked out by Eveslege, making him the next casualty.
The rise of the stack soon triggered rapid growth for Eveslege, who dispatched Gregory Kelly. The racer’s argument continued while Andrew Brown witnessed the stack disappearing from multiple false runouts as he approached just before the unofficial final table. With seven players remaining, Eveslege had three times as many chips as second-place Nick Coste, and even Moseszen’s miraculous escape was only a very small setback.
Eveslage broke David Levy’s stack, knocked out by a racer. Johnson fell on mozzen before eveslage took over the stack of mozzen in the city of badeus and racers in the big o. Coste was left short by Eveslage’s hot run and lost his shortstack battle against Kelsal, who failed to overcome his opponent’s overwhelming lead and the majesty of a tremendous Badeusi.
Final Table Results:
a national prize
Chad Eblage U.S.$131,879
Andrew Kelsall US$81,509
Nick Coste U.S.$54,247
4 John Racer U.S.$36,953
5 Clayton Mosezen Canada $25,779
6 James Johnson U.S.$18,428