Dieter Dechant outlasted a field of 10,015 entries to reach his ultimate goal of winning a WSOP gold bracelet in Event 19: THE GIANT - $365 No-Limit Hold'em. Dechant took home $291,906 for his outstanding performance.
The win clearly meant a lot to Dechant, as he was overcome with emotion and brought to tears after the final hand was complete. Once he gathered himself, he went around hugging and kissing and high-fiving his friends and family members who were there to support him.
It was a phenomenal day for the Las Vegas native, who said, "I have dreamt of this moment for 25 years. It's surreal."
Dechant's live tournament cashes at the WSOP had totaled less than $1,000 before he took third place in Event #31: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship, earning $281,691. He wasn't done there, as he topped that result by roughly $10,000 with this victory. But for Dechant, the bracelet is far more meaningful. He now has his sights set on the Main Event, warning, "You aren't done hearing from me yet."
THE GIANT Final Table Results
|1||Dieter Dechant||United States||$291,906|
|4||John Hutchinson||United States||$100,737|
|6||John Myung||United States||$57,592|
|7||Marcus Laffen||United States||$44,057|
|8||Andrew Crookston||United States||$33,871|
|9||Michael Guzzardi||United States||$26,950|
The final day started with 27 players remaining, and the action was brisk right out of the gate. The players dropped early and often, as nine eliminations came during the first hour of play.
Action didn't slow down as the new redraw took place with 18 players remaining. By the time the first break was reached at two hours into the day, just 14 players remained. Canada's Hrair Yapoudjian held the chip lead with 34.8 million, followed by John Hutchinson with about 10 million fewer.
The unofficial final table was reached about an hour after the break. Martin Zamani was eliminated in 10th place after his pocket jacks couldn't hold against the eventual champion's ace-king.
When nine-handed play began, Yapoudjian was still in the chip lead with about 46 million. Dechant was not too far behind him with roughly 30 million.
Michael Guzzardi was the next casualty about 20 minutes later when he got into a preflop battle with ace-king against Yapoudjian's pocket tens. Yapoudjian flopped a set and took it down, leaving eight competitors.
Andrew Crookston was the eighth-place finisher after getting into a blind-on-blind battle with Martins Kleins that didn't go his way. Crookston was then sent to the rail when John Myung woke up with ace-queen suited and held against his jack-eight off-suit.
With seven players remaining, the "Dechamp Show" began. There was a period of about a half hour before Marcus Laffen became the first to tangle with the eventual winner. Dechant had pocket queens against Laffen's ace-king and won the preflop flip.
At that point, Yapoudjian and Dechant had separated themselves from the rest of the field, both having more than 20 million more chips than their nearest competitor.
Myung fell in sixth place after shoving his stack preflop and running into Dechant's pocket rockets, sending the former to the payout desk and the latter to the top of the leaderboard.
Shortly thereafter, Kleins decided to get involved with Dechant, and that didn't work out well for the Latvian, as Dechant eliminated him in fifth place with queen-jack of hearts. Kleins rivered a set, but Dechant a straight, and that was a sign of further things to come.
The energetic and fun-loving John Hutchinson went out next in fourth place. He had a rollercoaster day and battled hard for the entire event, eventually hitting the rail after taking a beat with pocket queens against Yapoudjian, which left him extremely short. The final blow was landed by Dechant, who took Hutchinson out with ace-king.
"I got rid of all my bad habits and have been focused and ready."
Sixty hands into final table action, Vera Kuhl hit the rail in third place. The German had a phenomenal run but fell just short after Dechant held against her queen-ten of hearts. He had ace-high, and it was good in the end, sending him into heads-up action.
The duel began with Dechant holding a decent chip advantage. He had just over 123 million, and Hrair Yapoudjian had 78 million. Heads-up play lasted 15 hands between the two warriors.
Out of the gate, Dechant continued to accumulate chips with his aggression, but the Canadian took several stands and closed the gap 10 hands in. By Hand #13 of heads-up play, Yapoudjian had taken over the chip lead, but the two got into a massive pot on the very next hand.
Dechant rivered a flush with six-five of diamonds, and Yapoudjian rivered a straight with ten-nine of spades in a pot that had 98 percent of the total chips in the middle. That was the defining moment of the tournament, and Dechant took down the very next hand to seal the win when his king-four off-suit beat Yapoudjian's nine-five off-suit.
Yapoudjian ended as the runner-up, taking home $180,455.
Dechant said, "I haven't played one hand of poker since the last World Series. I got rid of all my bad habits and have been focused and ready. This is almost karma, as I took a beat three-handed in the Seniors event to be eliminated, and today, I put the beat on the Canadian when I rivered that flush."
Dechant is going out to enjoy some dinner, relaxation, and good company before he jumps into the Main Event, about which he says, "It feels like it will be another deep run."