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Benjamin Moon Wins 2018 WSOP $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Big Blind Ante Event

San Diego Poker Pro Defeats Field of 1,306 Entries To Win $315,346


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A new approach to antes in tournaments has swept the poker world in recent years. Events that utilize the “big blind ante” format have the player in the big blind post the antes for the entire table, saving the dealer from and confirming that each player has indeed anted before continuing to deal. 2018 marks the first year that this novel format has been implemented at the World Series of Poker, with a total of eight events making use of the big blind ante this year. The $1,500 no-limit hold’em big blind ante event drew a total of 1,306 entries, building a final prize pool of $1,763,100. In the end, the lion’s share of that money was awarded to 34-year-old poker pro Benjamin Moon from San Diego,m California. Moon emerged victorious from the sizable field to capture his first WSOP gold bracelet and the top prize of $315,346.

“I’m so excited right now," Moon told WSOP reporters after coming out on top. “I’ve played poker for a long time, but I went on hiatus. Just this past October, I decided I’d go and give it a try. Go pro. I’ve been grinding cash in San Diego and playing tournaments in L.A."

“I love the big blind ante,” Moon offered when asked about the new approach and it’s 2018 debut at the series. “They do it in L.A. All the tourneys I’ve played there have been big-blind. It plays faster.”

In addition to the hardware and the money, Moon also earned 960 Card Player Player of the Year points as the winner of this event. This was his second POY-qualified score of the year, and this latest win was enough to see him climb into 90th place in the Player of the Year standings, which are presented in 2018 by Global Poker.

Moon entered the final day of this event as the chip leader with six players remaining. He eliminated Nhathanh Nguyen in fifth place ($73,242) to take a massive lead, with more than three times as many chips as his nearest opponent. He then scored two more knockouts, sending Steven Snyder (4th – $100,268) and Colin Robinson (3rd – $138,938) to the rail to set up the final showdown for the bracelet.

Runner-up finisher Romain LewisHeads-up play began with Moon holding nearly a 4-to-1 chip advantage over France’s Romain Lewis, which he increased slightly before the final hand of the tournament arose.

With blinds of 50,000-100,000 and, of course, a big blind ante of 100,000, Moon raised to 250,000 from the button. Lewis moved all-in and Moon quickly called with the AClub SuitJSpade Suit. He was well ahead of Lewis’ ADiamond Suit2Diamond Suit, but had a sweat after the flop and turn came down 9Diamond Suit4Club Suit3Heart Suit8Diamond Suit. Lewis did not hit a diamond or a straight on the river, with the 8Club Suit securing the pot and the title for Moon. Lewis was eliminated in second place, earning $194,837 for his impressive run.

Notables who made a deep run in this event included three-time bracelet winner Dutch Boyd (9th – $23,605), Shaun Deeb (16th – $11,553), Justin Young (22nd – $9,350), Dylan Linde (25th – $9,350), Ankush Mandavia (27th – $9,350) and Daniel Strelitz (29th – $7,670) and Jeff Madsen (58th – $4,602).

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

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Benjamin Moon $315,346 960
2 Romain Lewis $194,837 800
3 Colin Robinson $138,938 640
4 Steven Snyder $100,268 480
5 Nhathanh Nguyen $73,242 400
6 Bohdan Slyvinskyi $54,160 320
7 Eric Polirer $40,549 240
8 Raymond Ho $30,742 160
9 Dutch Boyd $23,605 80

For more coverage from the summer series, visit the 2018 WSOP landing page complete with a full schedule, news, player interviews and event recaps.