After three days and 219 hands on the official final table, Event #55: $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold’em has come to an end. Giuseppe Pantaleo and Nikita Luther have been crowned as the winners, taking two coveted WSOP bracelets and the first-place prize of $175,805 to share between them!
The 2018 edition of this event broke all records as 1,032 teams entered on Day 1 to have a shot of following in former champions Aditya Sushant & Nipun Java’s footsteps.
These are Pantaleo’s and Luther’s first bracelets and the biggest career cash ever for Luther. For Pantaleo, this is his third-biggest cash ever and his second biggest here at the WSOP after finishing in 6th place in last year’s Little One for One Drop.
The winner of that event, Adrian Moreno, actually came over to rail Team Pantaleo for the win. Other notable players on the final table included Kazuki Ikeuchi, Manig Loeser, Alex Rocha, Adam Lamphere, Cord Garcia, and Loni Harwood.
Speaking on how their partnership came about Luther said: "I just randomly hit him up on Twitter, I said we should be the teams, we met once last year, and we didn't know each other well but, now we know each other well."
Pantaleo added, "It was playing the WSOP 3k last year we met, and I liked how she was playing."
But their winning formula almost didn't happen said, Luther. "He almost wasn't going to play the tag team as he had plans to play other tournaments."
The tag team structure is a unique proposition, but it seemed to suit both Pantaleo and Luther.
"She [Luther] was multi-tabling the 3k here, which she got 17th in, and she would run back and forth in breaks," said Pantaleo, before continuing: "She mostly wanted me to play, but it worked well when we tagged in and out. We switched more on Day 3 to give yourselves little breaks, and mostly when we felt the momentum went away a bit. But it was with us a lot of the time."
The pair used the momentum to good effect, especially when considering strategy, which can be a tough proposition when playing as a team.
"I usually have my basic strategy and foundation," said Pantaleo. "But if there was a closer pot, you don't want to spew and feel guilty to your teammate. And also, the other teams will not want to bluff as much, only a few people were going for it on the rivers. It makes a difference; people bluffed less.”
Final Table Results
|1||Giuseppe Pantaleo - Nikita Luther||$175,805|
|2||Kazuki Ikeuchi - Hiroki Iwata - Sho Mori||$108,608|
|3||Manig Loeser - Joelle Parenteau - Daniel Weinand||$76,797|
|4||Alex Rocha - Megan Milburn - Joanne Milburn||$55,016|
|5||Gabriel Neto - Carlos Caputo||$39,936|
|6||Adam Lamphere - Ao Chen - Yijie Zhang||$29,380|
|7||Salah Levy - Frank Mariani - Cord Garcia||$21,910|
|8||Bon Koo - Bienvenido Caballero||$16,565|
|9||Loni Harwood - Haixa Zhang - Kelly Minkin||$12,700|
The Day's Action
The day started with 28 teams returning at noon to play down to a winner, all guaranteed a payday of at least $4,175. The first team sent to the rail was Team Hardcastle, consisting of Jack Hardcastle, Ryan Laplante, Patrick Truong, and Kevin Gerhart. Hardcastle ran pocket tens into the pocket queens of Team Gagnon (Samuel Gagnon - Sammy Lafleur) who would later fall in 21st place ($5,064) themselves.
After the redraw for the final three table, the eliminations started coming in quick with a slew of teams departing to bring play to the last two tables in short order. With the elimination of Team Wilson (Andrew Wilson - Benjamin Phillips - Eric Penner) at the hands of Team Koo (Bon Koo - Bienvenido Caballero), only 18 teams remained.
Another redraw took place for the last two tables, it then took a mere five minutes before the first team got sent home. Team Clarke (Andre Clarke - Michael Corson) ran their ace-jack into the ace-king of Team Pantaleo.
It took a scant 30 minutes to whittle the remaining teams down to the final ten, with both Team Pantaleo and Team Ikeuchi dominating a great deal of the action. It was the latter who would set up the unofficial ten-handed final table after Team Reymond (William Reymond - Ami Alibay) walked into the aces of Ikeuchi to exit in eleventh place and the remaining ten teams moved into the Brasilia Room.
Team Moore (Thomas Moore - Norman Straughn) would become the official final table bubble when their ace-nine couldn’t win against the ace-queen of Ikeuchi.
After 58 hands of nine-handed play, Loni Harwood would be eliminated in ninth place when her queen-jack couldn’t win against the jack-eight of Gabriel Neto. Harwood and fellow teammates Haixia Zhang and Kelly Minkin headed to the payout desk to collect $12,700 to divide between them.
Only seven hands later, Bienvenido Caballero ran pocket kings into the aces of Hiroki Iwata and Team Koo was eliminated.
An hour later, Cord Garcia of Team Levy ran pocket nines into Alex Rocha's ace-king, with the ace coming on the flop.
The hand right after that, Ikeuchi took care of Adam Lamphere and teammates with ace-eight against Lamphere’s queen-ten. Both hit a pair on the flop, but Ikeuchi's was bigger.
Team Neto’s Gabriel Neto ran queen-jack into the ace-trey of Manig Loeser to finish in fifth place.
The final curtain fell for Team Rocha (Alex Rocha - Megan Milburn - Joanne Milburn), when Rocha's nine-eight shove was called by Pantaleo who held ace-nine. Loeser departed 35 hands later, failing to win with queen-eight against the queen-ten of Pantaleo.
After that elimination, Pantaleo would start the heads-up battle with a lead of close to twelve big blinds. It took 60 hands of heads-up play before Pantaleo managed to deal the final blow to Iwata, moving all in preflop with pocket deuces and getting a call from Team Iwata's ace-nine. While Team Ikeuchi flopped a pair of aces a deuce on the river saw the Team Pantaleo rail explode in celebration as Team Pantaleo won bracelets for their home countries of Germany and India.
Speaking on the final table, Pantaleo said: "It was rough nine-handed, no one wanted to bust, but I'm happy we made it."
"What a fight they put up!" added Luther.
This concludes the PokerNews live reporting coverage for the Tag Team Event this year. Stay tuned as the coverage of the other events will continue until the final cards have been dealt at the end of the summer!