Argentina have their first World Champion after Damian Salas defeats Joseph Herbert heads-up for $1 million in Las Vegas.
The most unique and controversial World Series of Poker Main Event has concluded with a World Champion from Argentina.
It has been one hell of a journey for Damian Salas to the title after previously coming 7th in the 2017 Main Event. First he had to grind for two days online at GGPoker, then he had to travel from Argentina to Rozvadov during a pandemic with heavy travel restrictions to win the International leg for $1,500,968. After that he had to first quarantine and then make his way to Las Vegas, where despite testing negative for COVID he was not initially allowed into the country, meaning the heads-up match had to spill over into the new year.
With all that out of the way, dispatching of US leg winner Joseph Herbert probably felt relatively easy. It was actually a long match that took 173 hands with a lot of swings until he finally took it down for $1 million, making his overall winnings from the event $2,500,968.
A boom in Argentina?
More importantly, perhaps, is the title that he won. Although it was very controversial this year and unlike any previous Main Event title, being the first WSOP Main Event champion from Argentina will probably become a career in itself, it will certainly be a shot in the arm for the game over there.
That is, of course, if the broadcast of the event becomes a hit. Perhaps because of all the logistical issues that could come up during the (hopefully only) Main Event in a pandemic, the decision was made not to live stream any of the event. Instead it will be turned into an edited highlights show for ESPN.
One million reasons to celebrate!@WSOP #GGPoker #GGCam pic.twitter.com/295u4TTWal
— GGPoker – HOME OF ONLINE POKER’S LARGEST PRIZEPOOL (@GGPoker) January 4, 2021
PokerNews, who were doing the live updates at the Rio, spoke to Salas after the match:
Normally around now we would be hearing the first nuggets of information about what to expect for the next World Series of Poker, but for obvious reasons it looks like we will be waiting a bit longer. With the news of vaccines spreading hope around the world perhaps we will see something that resembles a bit of normality where the WSOP is concerned this year?
Will there be a full live World Series of Poker this year? Let us know in the comments:
Barry Carter is the editor of PokerStrategy.com and the co-author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2, Poker Satellite Strategy and PKO Poker Strategy