Safiya Umerova is a World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner in her first year competing in the greatest poker festival in the world. The Russian-born LA resident defeated Scotland’s Niall Farrell in heads-up action.
For some, the search for a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet takes a lifetime. Then you have others who make their Las Vegas debut and wonder what all the fuss is about?
Tony Cousineau has cashed over 70-times in World Series of Poker (WSOP) events and has been playing at the WSOP for 17-years. Tom McCormick has cashed over 50-times and has been playing at the WSOP for close to a quarter of a decade. Neither has won a bracelet.
And then you have the likes of Safiya Umerova.
The 28-year old Russian-born LA resident was making her Vegas debut. It was a good time to come. All the signs were there, including a fifth-place finish in a $570 buy-in $1m Guaranteed event at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in April earning $76,144. There were 2,923 entrants in that one, and the final table housed the likes of Robert Mizrachi. Umerova was ready to take the next step.
And what a step she has taken.
Umerova has become the second female to win a bracelet at the 47th Annual WSOP after beating 1,050 players in Event #50: $1,500 Shootout No-Limit Hold’em. The event attracted a $1,417,500 prize pool, and $264,046 of that purse will be used to create a bankroll for Umerova’s next leap into the higher echelons of professional tournament poker.
Whenever there is glory, you will find pain, and this time, it was Scotland’s Niall Farrell’s turn to suffer. The former European Poker Tour (EPT) winner suffered the heartbreak of finishing second in a WSOP event when he lost to Sandeep Pulusani in a $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em event in 2013. And when he went into heads-up with vastly more experience and a slight chip lead over Umerova, the odds were in his favour that he would not be repeating that painful experience.
But when has poker ever read a script?
The tide turner came during Hand #137. By this time, Farrell had ground down the stack of Umerova before the pair got it in pre-flop with the lady holding the ladies, and Farrell was holding [Ac] [9d]. The British rail was screaming for an ace; the dealer laid the beautiful faces of two more queens onto the flop to hand Umerova quad queens and the double up.
With the momentum in Umerova’s corner, she pushed on and took the chip lead in the next 15-hands. The finale came when she called a Farrell shove holding [Ah] [6h]; Farrell showed [Qs] [9h], and the WSOP debutant flopped an ace and rivered a flush to deliver a fatal one-two to the favourite.
So, what’s next for Umerova?
“I want to be the best poker player in the world.” She told WSOP reporters after her win.
Final Table Results
1. Safiya Umerova – $264,046
2. Niall Farrell – $163,158
3. Michael Mixer – $118,109
4. Yuliyan Kolev – $86,513
5. Damian Salas – $64,129
6. Raymond Ho – $48,115
7. Daniel McAuley – $36,543
8. Daniel Tang – $28,101
9. Alexander Lakhov – $21,881
Three-time WSOP bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst finished tenth.