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Jeremy Pekarek Wins First World Series Of Poker Bracelet In $600 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack

Illinois Poker Pro Defeats 6,150 Entries For $398,281

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Jeremy Pekarek won his first World Series of Poker bracelet Wednesday night by taking down the $600 no-limit hold’em deepstack.

Pekarek, a poker pro living in Las Vegas but originally from Illinois, defeated a massive 6,150-entry field to earn $398,281. He defeated Dan Kuntzman heads-up for the title. Kuntzman took home $245,881 for his runner-up finish.

“I feel like this is the culmination of the past five years of me learning more about myself,” Pekarek told WSOP reporters after his win. “Self-awareness is everything in this game. Knowing when to be aggressive, when to hold back… there were a lot of lessons I had to learn when I came out here.”

Pekarek moved to Las Vegas seven years ago and went through some rough times before breaking through with his recent victory.

“Two years ago, I was broke and taking the bus to work,” said Pekarek. “And I was trying to fight just to stay and play poker. This is what I really wanted to do, but I wasn’t able to admit that I wasn’t really good enough to do it. Being able to accept that and take on the challenge, take responsibility for my own skill and move forward was the key, I feel like, to getting here.”

Dan KuntzmanAlong with the money and title, Pekarek picked up 660 Card Player Player of the Year points. This was Pekarek’s first victory and second final table of 2019. He now sits in 156th place on the 2019 POY race leaderboard, which is sponsored by Global Poker.

The final table got underway at 3 p.m. local time with Pekarek sitting in the middle of a tightly packed race. Paul Jain started the day as the chip leader, but Pekarek scored an early double through him with pocket queens all in preflop against Jain’s pocket eights.

Pekarek’s early double moved him into the chip lead, and he stayed at or near the top of the counts for most of the final table. Jain would end up taking a seventh-place finish for $59,075.

During three-handed play, Juan Hernandez scored a huge double up through Pekarek with his A-K all in preflop against Pekarek’s A-Q. That gave Hernandez a huge chip lead just a couple orbits into three-handed play, but he would eventually give up that chip lead and bust out in third.

Pekarek scored the finishing blow to Hernandez’s run and took a nearly 4:1 chip lead into heads-up play against Kuntzman, another native of Illinois. With such a commanding lead, it only took two hands of heads-up play for Pekarek to dispose of Kuntzman.

*Final Table Results: *

Place Player Winnings (USD) POY Points
1 Jeremy Pekarek $398,281 660
2 Dan Kuntzman $245,881 550
3 Juan Hernandez $182,173 440
4 Benjamin Underwood $135,959 330
5 Noomis Jones $102,216 275
6 Tan Nguyen $77,418 220
7 Paul Jain $59,075 165
8 John Skrovan $45,418 110
9 David Elet $35,183 55

For more coverage from the summer series, check out the 2019 WSOP landing page, complete with a full schedule, results, news, player interviews, and event recaps.