In 2021, Eli Elezra was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame as a four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner. The Israeli poker pro is now 61-years-old, and is not yet finished adding to his impressive tournament resume. In the early-morning hours of July 2, 2022 he secured his fifth career WSOP gold bracelet, taking down the $10,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better championship for the second-largest tournament score of his career: $611,362.
Elezra, who is still largely focused on playing cash games, now has nearly $5.2 million in career tournament earnings. He dedicated this latest victory to two important people in his life: his late father Michel, who recently passed away, and his wife Hila.
“You saw I was very emotional there because my dad died 18 days ago. And I wanted to win for him. And I did it,” Elezra told WSOP reporters after coming out on top.
Elezra hasn’t been playing as busy of a schedule as he often does at the series so far in 2022.
“This is my fourth $10,000 buy-in event instead of like my 11th,” said Elezra. “I’m so happy I can show them this Hall of Famer’s still got it!”
Elezra overcame a record turnout of 284 entries in this event. The top 43 finishers made the money, with a long list of big names cashing including 2012 main event champion Greg Merson (29th – $16,171), ten-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey (37th – $16,171), three-time bracelet winner David Bach (36th – $16,171), three-time bracelet winner Paul Volpe (28th – $17,687), three-time bracelet winner Dan Zack (23rd – $20,214), Joao Vieira (17th – $23,521), and recent winner of the fixed-limit version of this tournament Amnon Filippi (15th – $27,860).
The final day began with 20 players remaining and three-time World Poker Tour winner Chino Rheem in the lead and Elezra in the middle of the pack. By the time the official final table was set, Elezra had worked his way into third chip position behind Rheem and Filippos Stavrakis. He soon closed the gap even further by busting Seungjin Lee (9th – $51,353) to narrow the field to just eight contenders.
Charles Coultas was the next to hit the rail. He got all-in on the flop with a low draw, a gutshot, and backdoor flush draws facing the top two pair of two opponents. Coultas failed to improve on the turn or river and was knocked out in eighth place ($65,113).
Four-time bracelet winner Josh Arieh was the defending champion of this event. The reigning WSOP Player of the Year made a valiant effort at defending his title but was ultimately knocked out in seventh place ($83,920) when his flopped bottom pair, flush draw and backdoor low draw was unable to improve against the top pair of Elezra.
Filippos Stavrakis’ run in this event came to an end when his A-5-4-4 was unable to beat out the K-K-Q-8 with hearts of Elezra with all the chips in the middle preflop. Elzra flopped top set and improved to an ace-high straight on the river to scoop the pot and take a big lead. Stavrakis, who won a 2018 $1,000 pot-limit Omaha event at the series, earned $109,910 as the sixth-place finisher.
Bracelet winner Ken Aldridge got his last chips in with AA82 facing the A1095 of Rheem. Rheem made two pair by the turn, and with no low possible thanks to four high cards on the board, Aldridge was down to needing an ace, queen, or jack on the river to remain in the event. Instead, a brick rolled off the deck on the end and Aldridge was eliminated in fifth place ($146,242).
Elezra scored another knockout, with his pocket jacks and a suited A-3 besting the 8-6-4-2 runout with a suit for Damjan Radanov. Elezra flopped a set and held from there to drag the whole pot and narrow the field to three contenders. Radanov cashed for $197,637, the largest score of his tournament career.
Both of Robert Cowen’s bracelet wins have come in pot-limit Omaha events, including his victory in the $50,000 buy-in PLO high roller earlier this series for a career-high score of nearly $1.4 million. He came close to securing his third piece of WSOP hardware in this event, but fell just short when his A844 was unable to beat out the KK99 of Rheem after all the chips went in on a Q97 flop. The 6 turn gave Cowen the only low draw to go along with his nut-flush outs. The J on the river kept Rheem’s set of nines best, though, and Cowen was eliminated in third place ($271,219).
Heads-up play began with Elezra holding approximately 9 million to Rheem’s 8 million. Elezra pulled away multiple times, only to have Rheem bounce back. Rheem was in the lead when Elezra scored a huge double with the nut flush besting two pair. Rheem fell to 17 big blinds after that pot. Not long after that, he got all-in on aboard of KJ5 with KQQ10 for top pair and an open-ended straight draw. Elezra held AK105 for kings up, a gutshot straight draw, and backdoor spade possibilities. The 7 turn kept Elezra ahead, and the 5 river saw him improve to a full house to scoop the pot and the title. Rheem earned $377,855 as the runner-up.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings||POY Points||PGT Points|
Winner photo credit: WSOP / Seth Haussler.
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