Gal Yifrach has won the 2018 World Series of Poker $3,000 six-max no-limit hold’em event, overcoming a field of 868 total entries to win his first WSOP gold bracelet and the first-place prize of $461,798. This was the largest score of the 31-year-old Los Angeles entrepreneur’s life, with his biggest previous cash coming from a win in the 2017 WSOP Circuit Bicycle Casino $3,250 buy-in no-limit event for $90,005.
“I’m feeling pretty good. I’m feeling great,” Yifrach told WSOP reporters after coming out on top. “You know, coming into this event, I didn’t expect, obviously, to win. Everybody has hopes. Everybody is hoping to get very far. I was fortunate enough to get there … But you know, when you run good, you play good as well. It comes hand-in-hand.”
In addition to the money and the bracelet, Yifrach also earned 1,368 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This was his first final table of the year, but this win alone was enough to catapult him into 80th place in the 2018 Player of the Year standings. Yifrach entered the unofficial seven-handed final table of this event in second chip position, behind only WSOP bracelet winner James Mackey. Gary Hasson eliminated Ben Palmer in seventh place ($48,823) to set the final table and move into an essential tie for second chip position with Yifrach.
Hasson continued his run by knocking out Ana Marquez in sixth place ($67,116). Two-time World Poker Tour main event winner Aaron Mermelstein score the next elimination, winning a preflop race against Darren Rabinowitz. Mermelstein’s 8Spade Suit8Heart Suit flopped a set against Rabinowitz’s ASpade SuitKDiamond Suit and held from there, sending the two-time WSOP Circuit ring winner to the rail with $93,917.
Despite winning that hand, Mermelstein was the next player to be eliminated. Gary Hasson doubled up through him to leave him with less than six big blinds. Shortly after that Yifrach finished the job, knocking Mermelstein out in fourth place ($133,731) to take a dominating lead into three-handed play. The event was scheduled to play to a winner in three days, but in the end the decision was made late on day 3 for the remaining three players to bag up their chips for the night. Yifrach sat with 6,965,000, Mackey with 3,100,000 and Hasson 1,960,000.
Early on day 4 Hasson moved all in for around 1,500,000 (around 10 big blinds) from the small blind. Yifrach made the call from the big blind with the ADiamond Suit6Diamond Suit. Hasson held the KSpade Suit10Club Suit. The board ran out QSpade SuitQDiamond Suit10Diamond SuitKHeart SuitASpade Suit, with the ace on the river giving Yifrach the superior two-pair to earn him the pot and send Hasson home with $193,716.
Yifrach began with nearly a 2-to-1 chip lead over Mackey, but the 2007 WSOP $5,000 no-limit hold’em event winner was able to mount a comeback. After the first six hands of heads-up play, he had essentially evened things up. Then the final hand of the tournament arose. With blinds of 80,000-160,000 and an ante of 20,000 Yifrach raised to 325,000 from the button. Mackey three-bet to 1,125,000 from the big blind and Yifrach called.
The flop brought the 8Diamond Suit6Heart Suit2Club Suit and Mackey fired out 1,000,000. Yifrach called and the turn brought the 2Spade Suit. Mackey moved all-in for 4,325,000 and after several minutes of thought Yifrach made the call, putting Mackey at risk as he had him covered by roughly a single big blind. Mackey held the 10Spade Suit10Diamond Suit for the best hand, with Yifrach’s ASpade Suit8Heart Suit in trouble heading into the river. The 8Club Suit on the river bailed him out, giving him a full house to win the pot and the title. Mackey was eliminated as the second-place finisher, earning $285,377 for his deep run.
Final Table Results
|1||Gal Yifrach||United States||$461,798|
|2||James Mackey||United States||$285,377|
|4||Aaron Mermelstein||United States||$133,731|
|5||Darren Rabinowitz||United States||$93,917|