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Alan Percal Wins 2016 World Series of Poker $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship

23-Year-Old Actuary Wins Seven Matches To Capture First Gold Bracelet and $320,574 First-Place Prize

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Alan Percal has won the 2016 World Series of Poker $10,000 heads-up no-limit hold’em championship, winning seven straight matches against the likes of Brian Rast, Jeff Gross and Olivier Busquet on his way to capturing his first gold bracelet and the top prize of $320,574.

The 23-year-old actuary based in Florida not only won his first WSOP title in this event, it was his first cash at the series as well.

“My friend Zack and I came out here last year and like went 0 for 20,” Percal said after the win. “Friends asked me how I thought I’d do this year and I just said, ‘It can’t be worse than last year.’ But this means a lot. I’ve been dreaming about winning a bracelet since I first got introduced to the game.”

Percal has been playing online for years, mostly in six-max and heads-up cash games. This was only the second heads-up tournament he had ever played.

“I got a bye in the first round but then I looked at the draw and saw I had Brian Rast in the second round and just laughed, because there were probably 100 people I’d rather play. But it ended up giving me a lot of confidence because he gave me some compliments on my play afterwards.”

John SmithPercal defeated online heads-up sit’n’go specialist Olivier Busquet in the semi-finals to set up the championship match with John Smith, a 69-year-old veteran of the Vietnam War. The La Habra Heights, CA resident has only one prior cash at the WSOP, which came in this same event two years ago when he made the round of 16.

Percal was able to take a big lead after making a hero call with king high on the very first hand of the match with a board of 8Spade Suit8Diamond Suit4Diamond Suit9Club Suit9Spade Suit. Smith had flopped two pair with a four in his hand, but his two pair was counterfeited when the turn and river brought a pair of nines. He turned his hand into a bluff on the river and Percal sniffed it out, taking more than a 2-to-1 chip advantage right off the bat when he made the call and Smith mucked his cards without showing.

Percal was able to extend his lead to roughly 12-to-1 by the time the final hand arose. With the last cards dealt Smith limped in from the button with the 5Spade Suit4Spade Suit and Percal checked with the 8Heart Suit7Diamond Suit. The flop brought the 9Spade Suit8Diamond Suit4Club Suit and Percal checked. Smith bet 200,000 and Percal raised enough to put him all in for 875,000 total. Smith made the call and found out this his bottom pair was in bad shape. The 9Heart Suit on the turn and JClub Suit on the river kept Percal in the lead, securing him the pot and the title and sending Smith to the rail as the runner-up with $198,192.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded from the final day of this event:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
Champion Alan Percal $320,574 720
Finalist John Smith $198,192 600
Semi-finalist Olivier Busquet $123,929 420
Semi-finalist Alexandre Luneau $123,929 420

For more coverage from the summer series, visit the 2016 WSOP landing page complete with a full schedule, news, player interviews and event recaps.