Unusual online/live hybrid high-roller gives Sam Soverel his second career WSOP bracelet

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: July 05, 2023 16:44 PDT

Florida's Sam Soverel earned his second career WSOP gold bracelets on Wednesday in one of the more experimental events on the 2023 World Series of Poker slate. Officially designated as $ 5,300 No Limit Hold'em - High Roller Championship (Online Bracelet Event 13) (NV/NJ), the event was really an online/live two-parter. The event, open to WSOP.com players in Nevada and New Jersey, drew 408 entries Monday evening.

Those 408 entries played down to a six-player final table, which reconvened Wednesday at the Horseshoe for a live finale. Soverel began the day as the chipleader but had to come back for the win against Hungarian national Gergely Kulczar, who now lives and plays in Massachusetts. Kulczar began the day as the short stack but charged to the lead before Soverel overtook him during heads-up play.

The unusual factor in play is that WSOP.com has only run a few of these online/live hybrid tourneys to date, so committing a high-roller to the format was an interesting twist. Whether or not the WSOP would reimburse New Jersey players for travel isn't clear, and they may not have: the WSOP did not reimburse any New Jersey players who made this week's live-finish "Go For the Gold" promotion.

All that could've been an interesting challenge for a New Jersey-based player, who would have had to lock up a final-table seat late Monday night and then book a last-minute flight to play on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Unless, that is, the New Jersey player had already laid in plans to play on today's Day 1D of the Main Event, and had worked the online/live hybrid event into a preplanned schedule.

That means that the live finale in Vegas likely trimmed most would-be New Jersey players from the mix, yet at least one or two of the final six may indeed have played the Monday online leg from New Jersey. Second-place finisher Kulczar was at the WSOP in early June, when he recorded one live cash, so he could have already spent the summer playing tourneys and cash games in Vegas but may also have been in New Jersey. Fifth-place finisher Lingkun Lu, however, lives in New Jersey and has posted only online results so far this summer, meaning he likely played Monday from there, then spent Tuesday getting himself to Vegas on the quick.

The other four final-table players, including Soverel, have been in Las Vegas this summer. But beyond the event's results themselves, there remains a hidden question for the WSOP brass to consider in future years. Is the virtual exclusion of most New Jersey players, because of logistical reasons, worth however many more Nevada players joined in because of the live-bracelet finale? Somewhere the numbers will be crunched.

Here are the final-table finishers and payouts from this week's $5,300 No Limit Hold'em - High Roller Championship (Online[/Live] Bracelet Event 13) (NV/NJ):

  1. Sam "ApesSonIMHO" Soverel - $393,516
  2. Gergely "wildace_hun" Kulcsar - $284,784
  3. Yuval "Larrybird84" Bronshtein - $207,264
  4. Aleksejs "APonakov" Ponakovs - $150,144
  5. Lingkun "CN_23" Lu - $109,344
  6. Ethan "Rampunts" Yau - $80,784