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Dan Sepiol Wins First World Series of Poker Bracelet After Massive Heads-Up Comeback

Reigning World Poker Tour World Championship Winner Tops 1,534 Entries In 2024 WSOP $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout To Earn $305,849

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Early on in the heads-up match for the 2024 World Series of Poker $1,500 no-limit hold’em shootout title, Dan Sepiol attempted a multi-street bluff with his missed straight draw that culminated in a river overbet. His opponent, Robert Natividad, went into the tank before eventually making the call with third pair to extend his already sizable chip lead to approximately 17:1.

“It doesn’t feel good, especially when you just bluffed off your entire stack but I kind of, like, played my stack that was in front of me and just tried to make the best decisions,” Sepiol told WSOP reporters after the event was over.

Sepiol was soon all-in with an open-ended straight draw against two pair and hit the wheel on the end to double up and out of the danger zone. From there the experienced player, with more than $7.1 million in prior tournament earnings chipped away at Natividad’s lead, then moved ahead, then pulled away himself. In the end, the 2023 World Poker Tour World Championship winner closed out the victory, securing his first bracelet and the top prize of $305,849.

This was the first title and third final-table finish of 2024 for Sepiol, who closed out 2023 with a career-best win worth nearly $5.3 million in the previously mentioned WPT season-ending championship. The 1,080 Card Player Player of the Year points he earned for this latest win were enough to move him into 75th place in the 2024 POY standings presented by Global Poker.

The 1,534-entry turnout for this event built a prize pool of $2,047,890 that was paid out among the top 160 finishers who won their initial single-table sit’n’go. The 16 players that came out on top of their second table moved on to the final day of play, having locked up $15,027.

From there, the event played out like a traditional no-limit hold’em event. bracelet winner Vitor Dzivielevski (15th), three-time _WSOP Circuit ring winner Brad Albrinck (13th), and $25,000 heads-up championship winner Darius Samual (10th) all fell on the way to setting the official final table.

Natividad scored the first two knockouts of the day, eliminating Aaron Pinson (9th – $28,577) and two-time bracelet winner Scott Ball (8th – $36,385) to enter the final seven with the chip lead.

Jeremy AusmusSix-time bracelet winner Jeremy Ausmus’ Q-8 outran the A-5 of short stack Sean Ragozzini (7th – $46,948) to further narrow the field. Two-time bracelet winner and World Poker Tour champion Daniel Strelitz then beefed up his stack by busting Richard Dixon (6th – $61,380), with J-8 suited coming from behind to beat A-7 with an eight on the river.

Strelitz ended up running pocket jacks into the pocket queens of Sepiol. Jeremu Ausmus was also involved with the hand, but ended up laying down A-K after Strelitz four-bet shoved over his three bet and Sepiol cold-called in between. Ausmus would have made the best hand on the ace-high runout, but as it was, Sepiol’s pocket queens held to send Strelitz to the rail with $81,298 for his fifth-place showing.

Ausmus was soon all-in with A-9 suited facing the Q-6 suited of Sepiol, who had shoved from the small blind. Sepiol flopped a flush draw and then turned a pair. Ausmus didn’t receive any help on the river and was eliminated in fourth place ($109,071). He now has more than $18 million in lifetime tournament earnings to his name.

James Davidson was the clear short stack entering three-handed play. He managed a double up, but was soon all-in and at risk with A-10 trailing the A-Q suited of Natividad. Both players paired their ace, and Davidson’s kicker problems persisted through the river. He earned $148,196 as the third-place finisher.

Natividad entered heads-up play with 27,000,000 to Sepiol’s 11,500,000. As previously mentioned, he pulled even further ahead in the early going, only to have Sepiol begin to mount a rally after having his big bluff picked off.

After a couple of lead changes, Sepiol ran another bluff later in the match, again with a missed straight draw. This time it got through. After Natividad folded his fourth pair, he asked to see Sepiol’s cards and was shown seven high as Sepiol dragged in the pot to move ahead in the match.

The very next hand ended up being the last of the tournament. Natividad limped in from the button with AHeart Suit9Heart Suit from the button and Sepiol checked his option with QSpade Suit10Spade Suit. the flop came down QClub Suit8Spade Suit7Heart Suit. Sepiol checked his top pair and Natividad bet half pot. Sepiol check-raised from 750,000 to 2,300,000. Natividad then made a small three bet 3,900,000. Sepiol four-bet click back to 5,500,000. Natividad moved all-in for 16,300,000 total and Sepiol made the call. The JSpade Suit on the turn and 7Spade Suit on the river kept Sepiol ahead to earn him the pot and the title.

Natividad secured $203,889 as the runner-up. This was the largest tournament score yet for the Cerritos, California resident. He now has more than $1.2 million in career cashes under his belt.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Daniel Sepiol $305,849 1080
2 Robert Natividad $203,889 900
3 James Davidson $148,196 720
4 Jeremy Ausmus $109,071 540
5 Daniel Strelitz $81,298 450
6 Richard Dixon $61,380 360
7 Sean Ragozzini $46,948 270
8 Scott Ball $36,385 180
9 Aaron Pinson $28,577 90

Visit the Card Player 2024 World Series of Poker page for schedules, news, interviews, and the latest event results. WSOP coverage sponsored by Global Poker.

Photo credit: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego, Enrique Malfavon.