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WSOP: Jason Young Wins Event No. 17

Young Prevails After a Grueling Heads-Up Showdown


After a long Round two, and an even longer night, 26-year old Jason Young came to the final table on one hour of sleep and enough adrenaline to outlast the final nine players standing in the way of his shiny new bracelet. A small-time poker player and parks and recreation worker, Jason Young had found modest success in the local poker rooms of Atlantic City before coming out to Vegas and trying his luck in the World Series of Poker. Young had recently quit his job in an effort to focus more on his passion (poker), and that decision just earned him a cool $329,872. According to Young, “That’s ten years of working in just two days.”

Winning his first gold bracelet would be no easy task, and getting rid of runner-up Mike Schwartz might very well have been the toughest challenge of his young life. After a grueling battle of heads-up play and countless short stack double ups by Schwartz, Young finally put the nail in his coffin a mere 13 hours after starting the final day.

Here is a look at the final table contestants when things began. Since this was a shootout tournament everyone started all over again with the same amount of tournament chips:

Sergey Rybachenko: 1,000,000
Tom West: 1,000,000
Rory Monahan: 1,00,000
Mike Schwartz: 1,000,000
John Strzemp: 1,00,000
Kyle Bowker: 1,000,000
Matt Giannetti: 1,000,000
Jason Young: 1,000,000
Alex Triner: 1,000,000
Casey Coleman: 1,000,000

Here are highlights from all of the action, as featured in’s live coverage of the final table:

Casey Coleman Eliminated in 10th Place ($7,508)

Mike Schwartz came in for a raise to 60,000 and both Casey Coleman and Matt Giannetti made the call. The flop came 7 7 3, and Schwartz made a bet. Coleman called all in for his last few thousand chips while Giannetti got out of the way. Schwartz turned over 8 8 for the overpair while Coleman showed A Q. Coleman would need some help on the turn and/or river to stay alive. The turn was the J and the river was the 10, no help to Coleman who was eliminated in 10th place ($7,508).

Alex Triner Eliminated in Ninth Place ($9,828)

With Strzemp putting in a pre-flop raise, Alex Triner moved all in behind him and Strzemp made a quick call.

Triner: J-J
Strzemp: Q-Q
Board: 4 4 3 K 5

Triner picked a seemingly good spot to ship it with pocket jacks, but Strzemp’s raise was much stronger than Triner had thought. Strzemp showed pocket queens, and after losing most of his stack to A-J with A-K, now it was Triner who was looking for a jack to stay alive. "Come on jack!...One more time!", said Triner, but no help on the board and he was eliminated in ninth place ($9,828).

Tom West Eliminated in Eighth Place ($12,422)

A short stacked Tom West got the rest of his chips in the pot with A Q against Jason Young’s A K. The board came 4 3 3 8 6, giving both players a flush, with Young having the best of it and West was eliminated in eighth place ($12,422). On a side note, that makes two shootout final tables for the West brothers so far at this year’s WSOP, his brother Tim West placed fifth in Event No. 11 ($5,000 no-limit hold'em shootout).

Kyle Bowker Sergey Rybachenko Eliminated in Seventh Place ($15,698) - Kyle Bowker Eliminated in Sixth place ($23,888)

Kyle Bowker came in for a 100,000 raise. John Strzemp called from the cutoff and Mike Schwartz called from the button. Sergey Rybachenko moved all in from the small blind for a little over 250,000. When it got back to Bowker, he too moved all in (637,000), and so did Schwartz when it got to him. Strzemp folded and it was a three-way all in pot. Schwartz had them both covered.

Rybachenko: K K
Bowker: Q 9
Schwartz: A Q

Board: J 4 2 9 A

Rybachenko led with a pair of kings. The turn gave Bowker a small piece of the board, but the ace on the river gave Schwartz the check mark and Rybachenko was eliminated in seventh place ($15,698), followed by Bowker in sixth place ($23,888). Although Rybachenko and Bowker were both eliminated on the same hand, Bowker gets the better finish based on the fact that going into the hand, Bowker had more chips.

Matt Giannetti Matt Giannetti Eliminated in Fifth Place ($40,268)

After a series of consecutive pre-flop open-raises, Matt Giannetti raised for the last time and Mike Schwartz made the call. The flop came A K 9, and Swchartz moved all in. Giannetti tanked for a minute and then called off the rest of his chips. Schwartz turned over Q 9 for bottom pair and the nut flush draw while Giannetti showed A 10 for top pair. The turn was the Q, putting Schwartz out in front with two pair. Giannetti picked up the inside straight draw along with other outs, but the river brought the 9, giving Schwartz a full house. Giannetti was eliminated in fifth place, earning $40,268.

Rory Monahan Eliminated in Fourth place ($82,583)

After a series of uncontested all-in raises from a short stacked Rory Monahan, John Strzemp had enough chips at his disposal and decided to look him up.

Monahan: 6 5
Strzemp: A Q
Board: A J 10 3 7

Strzemp led the hand the entire way, flopping top pair. Monahan picked up a busted flush draw on the turn and after failing to improve, he was eliminated in fourth place ($82,583).

John Strzemp Eliminated in Third Place ($129,675)

On a flop of K 7 2, John Strzemp bet 175,000 and Mike Schwartz made the call. The turn was the 5 and Strzemp bet 500,000, Schwartz called. The river brought the K and Strzemp moved all in for a million and change. Schwartz couldn’t call quick enough, turning over K 8 for trip kings. Strzemp was holding Q 9 as his cards were flashed on their way to the muck. John Strzemp was eliminated in third place ($129,675).

Heads-Up Play Begins

After Mike Schwartz eliminated John Strzemp in third place, both Schwartz and Jason Young started heads-up play virtually dead-locked with roughly five million in chips each.

The Turning Point, Young Takes a Multi-Million Pot

After just a few hands of heads-up play, Mike Schwartz raised to 300,000 from the button and Jason Young reraised to 1,000,000. Schwartz made the call and the flop came Q 8 2. Young bet out 1,000,000 and Schwartz called. The turn was the 4 and Young moved all in. Schwartz went into the tank, ultimately folding as Young gave his opponent a courtesy flash of 88 for the set. Young took a massive chip lead after this hand.

Young Becomes Aggressive, Leans on Schwartz

With a little better than a three-to-one chip advantage over his opponent, Jason Young began to really put the pressure on. There were several hands in particular where Young made modest (in relation to the blinds) pre-flop raises, getting Schwartz to call, and then open-shoved on the flop, forcing Schwartz to fold. For a while there, Young seemed to really have a handle on how much of his stack Schwartz was willing to risk in certain situations, exploiting that to his full advantage. After a while, Young was able to stretch his lead, slowly but surely closing in on the dwindling stack of Schwartz.

Mike Schwartz Schwartz Strikes Back, Steals Momentum (Temporarily)

Action was limp-checked to a rag flop, and both players checked a blank on the turn. Schwartz fired out a 500,000 bet on the river with A K and Young made a crying call with A 10. It looked as if Schwartz was about to make a robotic-like check on the river, and then decided last minute to make a value bet. It worked, and he was paid off. More importantly it gave Schwartz some momentum, and undoubtedly some confidence. Over the next half hour or so he was able to chip and putt his way back into the black.

Young Cripples Schwartz, Down to His Last Blind

By this point Mike Schwartz had actually regained the chip lead, but not for long. Schwartz had completed the small blind when Young exercised his option and raised another 400,000 from the big blind. Schwartz called and the flop came J 10 4. Young bet 750,000 and Schwartz called. The turn was the 4 and Young moved all in. Schwartz tanked for a minute and called with J 8. Young turned over A J for top pair with a better kicker. The river was the 3 and with that Young won his first bracelet...well not quite. The chips had gone back and forth so many times by this point, that both players, even Schwartz, thought that Young still had the chip lead, but it turned out they were wrong. Schwartz had a few more chips than Young, about 150,000 more, so Young would have to save the celebration for a later time.

Schwartz Rises From the Ashes, Once Again

With barely enough chips to cover the big blind and the ante, Mike Schwartz was all in with jack-high against Ryan Young’s ace. Schwartz made two pair and doubled up. Schwartz would continue to double up until he had over 1 million in chips.

Young moved all in on button with 6 6 when Schwartz insta-called with K K. The board came A 8 5 J 3, and Schwartz had once again doubled up, this time to over 3 million. Game on!

Jason Young Wins Event No. 17 ($329,872)

After a grueling battle of heads-up play and countless short stack double ups from runner-up Mike Schwartz, Jason Young finally put the nail in his coffin after Schwartz made a 700,000 pre-flop raise and Young moved all in. Schwartz called and the players turned over their hands.

Young: A J
Schwartz: 4 4
Board: 8 6 2 A Q

Schwartz had the best of it going in, but Young spiked an ace on the turn for top pair, and the rest is history. Young is the brand new WSOP champion, nabbing the 17th gold bracelet of the year and the $329,872 grand prize. Schwartz gave it his all and will receive $209,528 for his efforts.