WSOP 2021 Event #72: Mixed PLO/NLHE won by Motoyoshi Okamura

Kat Martin
Published by:
Posted on 11/15/2021

The $1,500 entry WSOP 2021 Event #72: Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha really put the “world” in WSOP. The eight-handed final table featured players from eight different countries, perhaps reflecting the greater ease with which international players can now reach Las Vegas.

The event attracted 846 players, building a prize pool of $1,129,410 with $209,716 awarded to first place. After three days of play, it was Motoyoshi Okamura of Japan who claimed that prize along with the gold bracelet.

Final table action

When the final table formed, Rafael Mota of Brazil sat comfortably in the chip lead on 125bb. His closest competitor was Japan’s Motoyoshi Okamura on 64bb. Importantly, the seat draw placed plenty of distance between the two, with Mota in the four-seat and Okamura in the eight. This allowed the two players to avoid each other while pressuring the shorter stacks.

Tim Grau was first to fall to Mota, quickly followed by Marc Lange at the hands of Leonid Yanovski. A couple of hours of back-and-forth play ended when Mick Yunis broke the last remaining American, Jordan Spurlin. Yunis soon struck again, eliminating Mike Takayama. The action closed up the field somewhat, but with Mota still enjoying the chip lead.

The next elimination saw Mota extend that chip lead, as he accounted for Yanovski in a PLO round. But a big pot contested by Okamora and Nick Yunis vaulted the Japanese player into the chip lead for the first time at the final table.

The two would meet again when Okamura completed the small blind, and the short-stacked Yunis shoved in his remaining chips with 33. Okamura insta-called and tabled KK. That held, eliminating Yunis in third place and giving Okamura a 3:2 chip edge entering the heads-up joust.

With both players fairly deep, the resulting contest saw fortune ebb and flow. Then a sustained drive by Mota looked like he was ready to put the match away, opening up a 4-to-1 chip lead over his opponent. But Okamura battled back vigorously and once again edged ahead in chips, before the players took their second break from the heads-up action.

It was now Okamura’s turn to pile on the pressure, as he opened up a 5-to-1 chip advantage and pushed Mota down to only 15bb. Mota fought back with an emergency preflop all-in that saw his T8s outflop Okamura’s K7s.

The final hand occurred during a PLO round. In an unraised pot, Okamura flopped top pair to Mota’s overpair and nut flush draw. Okamura went ahead on the turn when he made two pair, and sealed the deal with a rivered full house.

The victory is Okamura’s first WSOP gold bracelet. Indeed, his Hendon Mob database indicates Okamura’s first cash on U.S. soil was only last month at the WSOP. He has had an impressive last ten days, with a second and fourth place finish at the Aria’s High-Roller Series now being capped with a WSOP title.

Final table pay-outs

  1. Motoyoshi Okamura: $209,716
  2. Rafael Mota: $129,621
  3. Nick Yunis: $91,989
  4. Leonid Yanovski: $66,249
  5. Mike Takayama: $48,428
  6. Jordan Spurlin: $35,942
  7. Marc Lange: $27,088
  8. Tim Grau: $20,737

Featured image source: Twitter