James Gilbert
James Gilbert took down the 18th event of the 2021 WSOP Online Series beating Landon Tice heads up.

After an exciting final table, the World Series of Poker Online Series Event #18 ($1,000 NLHE North American Open), was won by James Gilbert after he took control of a stellar final table to sweep to victory and claim his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet, along with the top prize of $137,569.

Heading into the final table, Landon Tice held a considerable chip lead, his 4.9 million chips dwarfing his nearest challenger, Tony Dunst with 3.9 million. While not one of the shortest stacks, Daniel Dagostino needed to chip up to stand a chance of threatening the podium paces, but instead, he departed the final table action first. Dagostino was all-in pre-flop with AdKc but needed to hit against Brett Shaffer’s JcJh. The flop of 5h4h4d provided no encouragement and through the 5c turn and 7h river, Dagostino was eliminated.

It was the short-stacked ‘DLAZ14’ who lost all their chips next, with Shaffer again doing the damage. ‘DLAZ14’ moved all in over the top of Tony Dunst’s opening bet, with both Shaffer and Dunst calling. On the flop of Js4c3h, Shaffer’s bet of roughly a third of the pot saw Dunst get out of the way. Shaffer’s QdJc was well ahead of ‘DLAZ14’ who had AsKh. The turn of Tc provided hope for a three-outer Broadway gutshot on the river, but that came 4s to reduce the field to seven players.

As those seven players battled for supremacy, Gilbert won several pots to become chip leader, edging past Tice at the top of the chip counts. Two back-to-back hands then propelled Gilbert into a dominant position as table captain as he took out two players in quick succession.

First, Gilbert moved all in from the button with AsJh and was immediately called by William Corvino in the small blind with 8c8h. The jack-high flop of JcTd7d saw Gilbert take the lead in the hand and the Js turn gave him a set. Corvino had a shot at a gutshot straight from the flop, but he couldn’t find a nine as the 5s river was the death knell to his bracelet dreams.

In the very next hand, Gilbert took out ‘tennispro75’. Gilbert was again the aggressor, moving all-in from the hijack with TsTh, called only by ‘tennispro75’ with AsJs. The flop of 8h7s6s kept Gilbert ahead but put the nut flush draw out there. The turn of 4d was no good for ‘tennispro75’ and the 9h ended the hand with Gilbert making a straight and further confirming his dominance of the middle stages of the final table.

Gilbert had the chip stack to threaten everyone’s chances of playing back at him and he wasn’t done there, staying on the attack to take out the most decorated opponent remaining. Dunst called off his stack with the best hand, holding 9s9d. Gilbert had shoved with Ac5s and although the flop of 8s5d2d kept Dunst ahead, the Td turn was followed by the As on the river, condemning Dunst to a fifth-place finish for $30,448.

Felix Vandeput had already enjoyed a final table appearance during this WSOP Online series, but he could ladder no further than fourth this time out. Vandeput called off his stack from the big blind with AdQc after Gilbert’s all-in shove with Jd6d from the small blind. The board of Jh7c3dTh7h saw Gilbert lead from the window and sent play three-handed.

Within just a few minutes, the battle for the bracelet was heads-up. Shaffer had enjoyed the best start of anyone when the final table began, but by the time he called off his stack for his tournament life, his stack was tiny compared to that of the massive chip leader Gilbert. It was Gilbert who shoved from the button with Ac9s and Shaffer called it off with two live cards in the shape of Jh3c. The flop of 7h5h5c maintained Gilbert’s lead and that stayed the case through the 4s turn and 7c river.

Heads-up looked like it might be over as quickly as the preceding few hands, with Gilbert in a more than commanding 4:1 chip lead, but an early double-up for Tice saw the young superstar battle back into contention. Tice got himself back to a stack of half the chips of Gilbert. It wasn’t to last, however, as Gilbert ground down his opponent until he regained the initial lead he had entered the heads up clash with.

In the final hand, Tice limped from the small blind and James Gilbert moved all in to put his opponent to the test. Tice called with Kd8d but needed a lot of help as Gilbert’s KcTs was out in front. The flop of Ac9s2h saw Gilbert keep the lead and the 4c turn and 6h river confirmed that it was Gilbert and not Tice who won his maiden WSOP bracelet. Gilbert’s win was worth $137,569, which adds nicely to a period of recent success for the WSOP Circuit ring winner who has over $2 million in live winnings and had previously reached two WSOP final tables.

In what was a well-populated tournament, 524 unique players rebought 232 times to create a $692,000 prize pool, with 126 players reaching the money. This number did not include Daniel Negreanu, who left the party early or Phil Hellmuth who ran deeper but still fell short of profit. Chris Moorman almost reached the bubble but busted to quads just before the remaining field made the money.

Three-time WSOP bracelet winner Kristen Bicknell led with two tables remaining but ran into some bad luck to crash out before the final table, losing a particularly painful pot when committed for a top-two stack against Dunst with ace-jack losing to Dunst’s ace-queen. In the very next hand, Bicknell departed, her ace-seven no match for Paul Tong’s pocket jack, with a jack on the flop, eventually seeing Bicknell drawing dead by the river.

Bicknell’s departure in 12th place for $7,404 was not the only one of a major player just before the final table was reached. Raman Afansenka lost his seat in unlucky 13th, eliminated by Tice when Tice’s ace-eight made a straight against Afansenka’s ace-six. Chance Kornuth busted in 14th place for the same score of $5,882 with pocket tens shot down by pocket queens, and Samantha Lake went in 18th place for $4,706 when her move with ace-eight ran into the pocket aces of Taylor Black.

WSOP Online Series Event #18 Final Table Results:

  1. James ‘Danfriel’ Gilbert $137,569
  2. Landon ‘ActionDealer’ Tice $85,046
  3. Brett ‘furofakind’ Shaffer $59,512
  4. Felix ‘madenspauwke’ Vandeput $42,281
  5. Tony ‘Panoramic’ Dunst $30,448
  6. ‘tennispro75’ $22,282
  7. William ‘swaggyb’ Corvino $16,538
  8. ‘DLAZ14’ $12,456
  9. Daniel ‘st0neydanza’ Dagostino $9,549