Adrian Moreno won his first WSOP gold bracelet and $528,316 in Event #74: $1,111 The Little One for One Drop.
Moreno came from behind to beat Martin Lesjoe heads-up and claim the bracelet and the top prize of $528,316. On the final hand, Moreno got Lesjoe all in on the flop with the nut flush draw against a pair and hit the flush on the turn. He danced around and celebrated with his friends before sitting down in a chair alone and crying for a moment. Moreno recently lost one of his best friends, and much of his emotional reaction to winning was tied to the loss of his friend.
"It was pretty rough for me," Moreno said. "I lost one of my best friends and flew home for the funeral. Then I flew right back to play the tournament. I dedicated my whole day, my whole tournament to him."
Moreno came into the final day 11th in chips out of the 12 remaining players. Matt Berkey was holding a huge lead coming into the day with almost a third of the total chips in play, but Moreno managed to move up the ranks and eventually claim his first WSOP bracelet.
"I decided to play it like a sit-and-go. Just let people get out and move up. Then pick my spots."
Event #74 Final Table Results
The final table action was quick at the start. On Hand #16, Alexandros Papadopoulos got all in against Lesjoe with queen-high against pocket sixes. Papadopoulos couldn't connect with the board and was eliminated in ninth place.
Samuel Vonkennel was next to go in eighth place. He got all in on a nine-high flop with pocket eights against Berkey. Berkey had tens and held to send Vonkennel to the rail.
Ricardo Ramos was eliminated in seventh place by the eventual sixth-place finisher, Giuseppe Pantaleo. Pantaleo had aces and made a full house to knock out Ramos. Then, Pantaleo was eliminated by Lesjoe, who had about half the chips with five players remaining after he rivered an ace against Pantaleo to beat his pocket queens.
Richard Dixon was knocked out in fifth place by Moreno. Dixon lost a big pot one hand before busting to Moreno. Moreno made two pair and managed to dodge a ton of outs to win the hand and earn a full double. The next hand, Moreno finished Dixon off. Dixon raised all in, and Moreno and Jimmy Guerrero called from the blinds. They both checked it down, and Moreno made a straight to finish Dixon off.
"I decided I needed to change my play up and be more aggressive. It worked out."
Then, Berkey went on a big upswing and knocked out Guerrero in fourth place. Berkey flopped top pair and faded Guerrero's flush draw to send him home in third place. Berkey followed him out 14 hands later. He doubled Moreno and then got all in with top pair against Lesjoe's flush draw, and Lesjoe hit the flush on the turn.
That left Lesjoe and Moreno close to even going into heads-up play. Lesjoe gained the lead quickly, and Moreno need to double up. He did did, eventually going on to win.
"He's a good player," Moreno said. "I decided I needed to change my play up and be more aggressive. It worked out."
Moreno capped off a strong summer with his first bracelet. His first outing was a win in a $235 Daily Deepstack. He then finished 23rd in the Monster Stack and 19th in the Crazy Eights tournament later in the series. After busting Day 2 of the Main Event, Moreno flew home for his friend's funeral before registering for the Little One for One Drop on Thursday. The tournament's first day was rough, given the circumstance, but Moreno pulled through to claim his first WSOP gold bracelet and more than a half million dollars in prize money.
"You always dream of winning a bracelet every time you play a tournament," Moreno said.