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Sean Swingruber Wins $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Bracelet

Los Angeles Cash Game Grinder More Than Doubles Career Tournament Earning With First Bracelet


A Los Angeles cash game grinder made his mark in the poker tournament world Saturday night.

Sean Swingruber, a 30-year-old cash game specialist from Los Angeles, defeated Ben Yu in the finals of the $10,000 heads-up no-limit hold’em championship to earn his first World Series of Poker bracelet. Swingruber bested the elite field of 112 players to earn $186,536.

This was just his second-ever WSOP cash after picking up his first earlier this week in the $400 online no-limit hold’em. It’s his eighth-ever career tournament cash and more than doubled his career earnings.

“To win this event, first try, first bracelet. It’s incredible,” Swingruber said to WSOP reporters after his victory.

Swingruber was never a fan of tournaments, but after a six-figure score at the Los Angeles Poker Classic last February, Swingruber caught the tournament bug and decided to take a few normally would this summer.

He normally spends the summer playing cash games and used his anonymity to tournament regulars to his advantage throughout the tournament.

“I honestly thought my biggest edge coming into this tournament was that people really didn’t know me. I’m not really known in the poker world,” said Swingruber. “I think a lot of opponents looked me up and thought ‘This is going to be an easy match.’”

Swingruber picked up 600 points in the Card Player Player of the Year race to go along with the title and prize money. He now sits in 69th place in the 2019 POY race, sponsored by Global Poker.

With 112 entries in the field, more than half of the field was given $5,000 back and squared off in the ‘play-in’ round. Swingruber defeated Bill Klein in his first match and disposed of Gregory Jensen in the round of 64. He beat Jimmy Guerrero in the round of 32 to finish off his Day 1 matches and head to Day 2.

He faced off against Jan Lakota in his first Day 2 match with a WSOP cash on the line. He beat the Slovenian and locked up at least $31,151. He went on to best Jimmy D’Ambroisio later in the day, earning a day off and a spot in the semifinals.

When play resumed on Saturday afternoon. Yu was matched up against 2015 champion Keith Lehr and Swingruber was up against Cord Garcia. Swingruber was the only player in the final four without a bracelet victory.

Yu won his match against Lehr before Swingruber started his match against Garcia. Swingruber won his match in just 34 hands to face-off against Yu in the finals.

Unlike his semifinals match against Garcia, Swingruber’s match against Yu was long, grueling and saw several lead changes. On the 134th hand of play, after four hours of play, Swingruber moved all in on the button and Yu called off his final 11 big blinds.

Yu showed pocket sixes and was in great shape against Swingruber’s 8Heart Suit6Heart Suit. The flop contained one heart and the turn and river brought two more to give Swingruber a flush and deny Yu his fourth bracelet. Yu took home $115,174 for his runner-up finish.


Place Player Winnings (USD) POY Points
1 Sean Swingruber $186,356 600
2 Ben Yu $115,174 500
3 Cord Garcia $73,333 350
4 Keith Lehr $73,333 350
5 James Dambrosio $31,151 175
6 Jake Schindler $31,151 175
7 Kristen Bicknell $31,151 175
8 Matthias Eibinger $31,151 175

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.