WSOP Roundup: International Players Rack Up Wins Including Seven-Figure Scores

The last week has seen several international players rise to the top at the World Series of Poker. That included the United Kingdom’s Robert Cowen and Latvia’s Aleksejs Ponakovs both taking down scores of more than $1 million.

Ponakovs not only conquered a WSOP event but also conquered Phil Ivey in the process. It was a nice week with numerous international players finding wins and deep runs. Here’s a look at some of the action from Las Vegas.

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Ponakovs tops Ivey for high roller win

Winning a bracelet is quite a bullet point for a poker player’s career. Doing it heads-up against Phil Ivey makes that even more special.

That’s exactly what Latvia’s Aleksejs Ponakovs (pictured in lead image, courtesy PokerGO) did in Event 42: $100,000 High Roller. After becoming his country’s first player to win a bracelet in November on, he now adds a second with a score of $1.9 million.

“I never had victory in live tournaments,” Ponakovs said. “Finally I did it. Nothing could be better at the moment.”

Ivey just missed out on his 11th bracelet, but earned $1.2 million for second place. The UK’s Ben Heath finished third for $805,024. The high roller action brought in 62 entries for almost a $6 million prize pool.

Brandes runs deep in PLO again – this time for gold bracelet

Fabian Brandes shows off his new WSOP hardware. (photo courtesy PokerGO)

The big summer continued for Germany’s Fabian Brandes in Event 39: $3,000 Six-Handed Pot Limit Omaha. He took down the title for his first bracelet for $371,358.

Brandes, who now lives in Austria, topped a field of 719 players that produced a $1.9 million prize pool. He began the day second in chips and eventually faced off with Israel’s Leonid Yanovski, who began the day as chip leader.

“It was a roller coaster of a day,” Brandes told “It is unreal to have the bracelet in my hand.”

For runner-up, Yanovski took home $229,529 and Hungary’s Ferenc Deak finished fifth for $76,880. This was Brendes’s second big PLO finish this summer. He took runner-up in the $25,000 High Roller PLO for $907,132 as well.

Six-max bracelet goes to Germany’s Ullman

Nino Ullman led the field with 55 players remaining in Event 33: $3,000 Six-Max NLHE and turned that run into his first bracelet and $594,079. The event brought in 1,348 entries for a $3.6 million prize pool.

Several German players manned the rail to cheer their fellow countryman on to victory. 

“It’s nice to have them all here for the winner’s picture,” he said, “even if during the play it was more distracting than helping me actually, but I’m happy now.”

Chan grabs first WSOP bracelet

Event 35: $2,500 Mix Big Bet produced another first-time bracelet winner. Hong Kong’s Lok Chan added some gold and a top prize of $144,338. The 22-year-old learned to play when he was only 15 with some tutoring from his brother.

Chan is now planning on more series action this summer as well as the Main Event. The tournament attracted 281 players for a $625,225 prize pool. Canada’s Drew Scott finished runner-up for $89,206.

Cowen bags second bracelet, seven-figure payday

In high stakes PLO action, England’s Robert Cowen secured the title in Event 28: $50,000 High Roller Pot Limit Omaha event. The event attracted a 106-player field for a $5.1 million prize pool. Cowen won his second second bracelet for $1.4 million.

Cowen now has more than $2.8 million in live tournament winnings and his first bracelet came last year. He won a $3,000 PLO event for $280,916 and also found a 39th-place finish in the Main Event for $163,900.

Dash Dudley finished in second place for $861,442 and Bulgaria’s Veselin Karakitukov finished fourth for $458,016.

The last hand in the tournament produced some fireworks when Dudley rivered a flush. However, that wasn’t quite good enough as Cowen landed a full house.

A look at other players finding some other winners

Several other international players have found deep runs in recent days. In Event 24: $1,000 GGPoker Flip & Go, Israel’s Rafi Elharar took runner-up for $116,050. Taiwan’s Pete Chen finished fifth for $47,760.

Yuri Dzivielevski, one of the world’s top-ranked online poker players and a partypoker ambassador, came close to his third bracelet. He finished fourth in Event 29: $1,500 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw for $37,379.

Dzivielevski made another deep run in Event 38: $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship, finishing fourth for $71,315

Event 32: $1,500 HORSE saw Canada’s James Morgan finish runner-up for $121,195. Two Frenchmen earned top spots in Event 34: $1,500 Freezeout. Samuel Bifarella took the runner-up spot for $225,506 and Maxime Parys finished third for $164,469.

Longtime poker pro Chris Moorman, of the UK, just missed winning his third bracelet in Event 43: $500 Freezeout. The online poker legend scored $149,405 and now has $6.5 million in live tournament winnings.

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Looking ahead

Plenty of action remains on the horizon in Las Vegas at Bally’s and Paris casinos. Here’s a look at some of the upcoming events.

  • $10,000 HORSE Championship (Event 44) – June 20
  • $1,500 PLO Eight-Max (Event 45) – June 21
  • $5,000 NLH Six-Max (Event 46) –June 21
  • $1,000 NLH Seniors (Event 47) – June 22
  • $1,500 Eight Game Mix Six-Max (Event 48) – June 22
  • $2,000 NLHE (Event 49) – June 23
  • $250,000 Super High Roller NLHE (Event 50) – June 23
  • $600 Online Deepstack (Event 5) – June 26 at

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