The World Series of Poker (WSOP) $10,000 No-Limit Hold-Em World Championship, better known to poker fans as the Main Event, crowned a domestic champion on Monday, Dec. 28 when Joseph Hebert of Metairie, LA out-lasted the field of finalists at the in-person final table at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to win $1,553,256.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet; this is a life-changing experience,” Hebert said. “It feels like a dream. I felt like I was dreaming the whole time I was playing. I know my mom was here with me, and this was for her.”
The 38-year-old Hebert dominated the chip count from start to finish, but the victory was anything but easy. Hebert unexpectedly lost his mother in September. In their final exchange he told her his dream was to win a WSOP bracelet and he dedicated this incredible run to her memory. Hebert started a grassroots social media campaign #ForLinda and finished it off with a first-place performance. He said he could feel her presence with him as he played, and he certainly made her proud. By the end of the tournament, he stood alone after knocking out runner-up, Ron Jenkins.
Hebert has been a long-time grinder playing mostly in smaller stake, regional tournaments and gradually earned a top 200 ranking in the Global Poker Index. Following his WSOP win, Hebert will celebrate with his family and friends, surprising his father with a new car and granting his 8-year-old son’s wish for a pet bird. Hebert also plans on revisiting his roots at The Galley Seafood restaurant in Metairie, Louisiana where he has worked on and off for nearly two decades in the service industry.
As the winner of the tournament’s domestic leg, Hebert will now go head-to-head for the title of World Champion against the international winner, Damian Salas of Argentina, who defeated Brazil’s Brunno Botteon for the top prize of $1,550,969 at the King’s Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic on Dec. 15.
Due to unforeseen travel complications presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Heads-Up Finale will now be played on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
“Certainly 2020 has been a year of challenges for so many and we experienced them in organizing this unique format for a poker tournament on two continents,” said Ty Stewart, Executive Director, World Series of Poker. “We are so proud of this event, and the showcase it will provide for poker on January 3. We’ve seen memorable moments you can’t believe and discovered two central characters you can’t help but root for. A dream will be dealt on Jan 3, and that’s exactly what we need heading into 2021.”
The World Champion will earn an additional $1 million and the most valuable trophy in the world of sports – the 2020 diamond and gold encrusted WSOP Main Event bracelet.
The 2020 WSOP Main Event Domestic Final Table Payouts are below:
|1st place – Joseph Hebert – Metairie, LA||$1,553,256|
|2nd place – Ron Jenkins – South El Monte, CA||$1,002,340|
|3rd place – Michael Cannon - Harrisburg, PA||$529,258|
|4th place – Ryan Hagerty – Somerset, NJ||$387,130|
|5th place – Ye ‘Tony’ Yuan - Madison, WI||$286,963|
|6th place – Harrison Dobin -West Long Branch, NJ||$215,222|
|7th place – Shawn Stroke – Lawrence, NY||$163,786|
|8th place – Gershon Distenfeld – Bergenfield, NJ||$125,885|
|9th place – Upeshka De Silva – Houston, TX||$98,813|
Hand #98 was the first deal of heads-up play, and the final hand of the tournament. Hebert entered heads-up play with a 2:1 chip lead over Jenkins, and wasted no time attacking. Hebert four-bet jammed with ace-queen, and Jenkins called off with pocket queens. An ace spiked on the flop and Jenkins was eliminated. He walks away as a millionaire himself with $1,002,340 in prize money.
The players weren’t the only ones who benefited from the Final Table payouts in 2020. In the spirit of giving, Gershon Distenfeld, who finished in 8th place in his first ever WSOP Main Event, will use his platform for philanthropy. He graciously pledged to donate 100% of his winnings to charitable causes close to his heart.
The 2020 Main Event established a new benchmark for prize pools in U.S. regulated markets, easily eclipsing the $2.019 million achieved for the 2020 WSOP Online championship in July 2020. Also of note, since regulations began for online poker in 2014, never had a player won $1 million or greater on a U.S. licensed poker site. The 2020 Main Event made millionaires of both first and second place for the domestic field, and when combined with first and second place payouts for the international bracket, saw four players hitting the millionaire mark from the tournament.
Key Upcoming Dates:
Heads-Up Championship of Domestic Winner vs. International Winner:
Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas
To stay up to date on the latest WSOP news, visit: www.WSOP.com.