This year’s $1,000 COVID-19 Relief No-Limit Hold’em tournament was added to the World Series of Poker schedule to raise money for “charitable organizations benefiting frontline health workers.” With $100 from each buy-in withheld for charity and 266 total entrants, the event raised $26,600 for the cause. It also gave Jeremy Ausmus the opportunity to win his second career WSOP gold bracelet and $48,681.
Jesse Lonis led most of the way
The action was fast and furious from the beginning. Players started with 20,000 chips and were playing in a turbo structure with rapid 20-minute levels. It took less than eight hours for the Day 1 field to whittle down to the final five that would return for Day 2 on Friday. Jesse Lonis, who set the final table by scoring a double knockout with his pocket kings over Kevin Wang’s ace-eight and John Yocca’s pocket jacks late on Day 1, entered Day 2 with the chip lead holding 2,285,000 in chips.
Lonis put his chip lead to good use when action resumed Friday afternoon. Less than 20 minutes after the final table began, Steve Gross moved all-in with his short stack from the small blind with eight-four, and Lonis made the call in the big blind with queen-five. Gross took the lead when the flop came jack-ten-eight, but an ace on the turn followed by a king on the river gave Lonis a straight and eliminated Gross.
After losing an all-in pot against Mitchell Halverson, Lonis bounced back in his next all-in pot when he called the all-in of Asher Conniff with pocket sixes facing Conniff’s ace-six. No help came for Conniff, who was eliminated in fourth place as Lonis’s chip stack grew to 4 million. Lonis would then proceed to get his revenge on Halverson in an all-in pot about 10 minutes later. That’s when his pocket threes sucked out on Halverson’s pocket jacks, when a three peeled off on the turn.
Jeremy Ausmus comes out on top
Lonis entered heads-up play with about a 3-to-1 chip lead over his opponent. While it took only one hour to get down from five players to two, it would take almost another hour for Ausmus and Halverson to settle things heads-up.
Ausmus finally erased Lonis’s heads-up lead about 40 minutes into heads-up play, moving all in with pocket tens and getting called by Lonis holding a suited king-jack. The board ran out clean for Ausmus to bring the two players about even in chips. Ausmus grinded up a small lead before the tournament’s final hand. He limped in on the button, and Lonis moved all-in for his last 1,960,000 with a suited king-nine. Ausmus called with a suited ace-nine, and held on for the win.
Jeremy Ausmus is no stranger to tournament success with over $8.5 million in live tournament earnings, including over $4 million in WSOP cashes. His first bracelet came in a €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament at the 2013 World Series of Poker Europe. Ausmus had 10 cashes in the 2019 WSOP, and is well on his way to another big year here in 2021.
Final Five Payouts
1. Jeremy Ausmus: $48,681
2. Jesse Lonis: $30,086
3. Mitchell Halverson: $20,960
4. Asher Conniff: $14,919
5. Steve Gross: $10,854