Another Two-Bracelet WSOP 2013 Winner in Event #16

June 11, 2013

Seconds after being locked in a tense death stare with the other last standing man in the $10,000 buy-in Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em event, Mark Radoja was all over the ESPN television stage shouting “I don’t believe it!” in celebration as a cheering rail of supporters mobbed him.

The final two combatants for the WSOP gold bracelet were in a face off in the last moments of a grueling three-day journey. The 27-year-old Canadian poker pro has won a gold bracelet before, but the tough rising player Don Nguyen proved quite an opponent. He finished as runner-up.

Last year Radoja came so close to bagging the gold bracelet that he could almost touch it, and perhaps the memory of the pain of finishing runner-up was what gave his legs wings as he ran around the stage incredibly transformed from the stoic poker-faced player to a gleeful athlete.

“Last year when I finished second, it was tough. It was like a dagger.  It’s true that the deeper you go, the worse you feel right after you get eliminated….coming back in this one was very exciting for me,” Radoja said.

This was a much more emotional Rodoja than was seen in his last victory. Asked about it, the pro said, “There wasn’t much emotion until I started to come back (from a deficit) and thought I had a chance. I knew I had a chance going into [the final heads-up match against Don Nguyen] but once I got down I had started to write it off in the back of my mind, even though I still had hope. Then, all the sudden a lot of chips came my way and I thought this might actually happen. That just excited me more.”

This victory gives Radoja two WSOP gold bracelets and one second place posting in three years, a mark surpassed only by the New York City Limit Hold’em specialist Matt Matros who boasts wins in three consecutive years. Radoja won his first gold bracelet two years ago in the $5,000 Buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Shootout and last year he finished second place. This year’s win comes with a $336,190 prize, totalling his WSOP earnings to nearly $1.5 million. He has had 18 cashes, 4 final tables, and 2 gold bracelets since 2007.

The $10,000 buy-in Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em event drew 162 entries, and the last 16 standing had a payday. Pro Phil Hellmuth was a top 8 finisher though Radoja eliminated him. The event marked Hellmuth’s first cash of this year’s series and his 97th in-the-money WSOP finish, which is the most any player has ever had in history.


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