It’s the second consecutive WSOP where the Russian won a tournament after winning the $3,000 HORSE in 2019. Strebkov bested a 212-entry field and defeated Jerry Wong heads-up to earn $117,898 for his victory. Wong, who finished eighth in the 2016 WSOP main event for $1.1 million, remains as one of the best players without a WSOP title. He took home $72,868 for his runner-up finish.
Although he was full of adrenaline, the grinder was ready to go fire the next event immediately after he shipped his most recent bracelet.
“I am just speechless right now,” Strebkov told WSOP live reporters after the win. “The second bracelet is very good. I am going to go to the Razz [championship] right now. I am already thinking about the next one. I might play another Omaha tournament, but we will see how it’s going.”
Like most mixed players, Strebkov enjoys the variety and doesn’t really enjoy playing the two-card version that draws some of the larger fields.
“I like the mixed format because I play a lot of games,” Strebkov told reporters. “I play a lot of mixed. I don’t like to play hold’em, but I like to play some other games where you can play a lot of hands and have more fun.”
Heading into the third and final day, there were three tables remaining with 14 players left and Strebkov holding a sizable chip lead. He started the day with 1,425,000 and his next closest competitor, Shanmukha Meruga, came into the day with 877,000.
It took about four hours of play to reach the unofficial final table of seven and Strebkov still held a massive chip advantage over the field. He went into the final table with nearly 2,600,000 and Wong was second with 1,350,000.
While Strebkov did briefly give up the chip lead to Wong at one point, he was never worse than second in chips and was never short-stacked, which led to a quick final table that played to a winner in about six hours.
Strebkov immediately went back to stacking chips when he eliminated Patrik Ciklamini in sixth. Ciklamini moved all in for his last nine big blinds with A8 but ran into Strebkov’s AQ. The board ran out 54297 and Strebkov extended his chip lead.
Meruga was the next to go in pot-limit Omaha 8-or-better. He was all in for two big blinds preflop and Bai forced the other players out of the side pot by the turn with the board reading 101089.
There was no low possible on that board and Meruga’s KK74 was in trouble against Bai’s 10943. Meruga needed to spike a two-outer to make a better full house and stay alive, but the 2 came on the river to send him to the rail in fifth.
Despite having a sizable stack, Bai played a massive pot with Wong in pot-limit 2-7 triple draw to hit the rail in fourth and give Wong a brief stint as the chip leader.
Bai raised on the button and Wong three-bet out of the big blind. Bai called and took two, while wong took one. They got the rest of Bai’s 1.280 million chips into the middle after the first draw.
Bai took one card each time and Wong stood pat with 8-7-5-4-2. Heading into the last draw, Bai was drawing with his 7-6-3-2. He hit a Q on the river, however, and Wong won the massive pot.
Strebkov eliminated Pearce Arnold in third after besting him in Big O. On a flop of 1062, Arnold got all in with a wrap straight draw and the third nut low draw and was up against Strebkov’s two pair and the second nut low draw. The turn and river were both high cards to leave Strebkov heads-up with Wong for the title.
At the outset of heads-up, Wong actually held a slight chip lead. But in one of the first hands of their match, Wong ran a big river bluff with queen-high and a missed flush draw, but Strebkov eventually called with a small flush and Wong was left very short. He doubled up but was eventually eliminated few orbits later in pot-limit Omaha 8-or-better.
Final Table Results:
Photo Credit: WSOP/Alec Rome