PMA’s Weekly WSOP Wrap: Obst-acle course

James Obst. (All Images Courtesy of PokerNews)

The 2023 World Series of Poker continues at the Horseshoe Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas, and although it’s been a relatively quiet week for the Australian contingent, one man was doing his best to land our first bracelet of the year.

James Obst – for many years rated among Australia’s elite and with one WSOP bracelet already to his name in 2017 – became the first to reach a final table in 2023, eventually finishing 5th from a field of 1,143 starters in the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better for US$63,737. In fact, Obst has now reached two final tables at this year’s WSOP, backing up that performance with an 8th place finish in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better for another US$48,300. He has four cashes so far in 2023.

Australia’s only other final table of the 2023 WSOP after the first two weeks belongs to none other than six-time bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro, who finished 5th in the $1,500 Razz for US$34,752.

While it’s been slow going for the Aussies, we do note that more players are arriving with each passing day, including the likes of Yita Choong, Alex Lynskey, Ash Gupta, Robert Campbell and David Steicke. We’ll keep you updated on their progress at and across our social media channels.

It’s hard to think of a single player to have performed better at the WSOP over the past three years than Josh Arieh. The 48-year-old may also represent the greatest comeback story in poker, having won his first WSOP bracelet way back in 1999 and his second in 2005. He had to wait another 16 years for his third but what a ride it has been since then.

That third bracelet was in the $1,500 PLO and Arieh wasted no time adding a fourth that same year – enough to propel him to WSOP Player of the Year honours ahead of runner-up Phil Hellmuth.

While Arieh couldn’t add a fifth in 2022, he did cash 10 times and reach three final tables. And he has already made up for lost time in 2023, carving out that fifth bracelet in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship – one of four cashes over the past week or so. Could he make it two WSOP Player of the Year titles in three years?

Josh Arieh

Arieh’s fifth bracelet brought him level with his good friend and well-known poker identity Shaun Deeb … but not for long. Just a few days later, Deeb moved into rare air by taking down his sixth WSOP bracelet in the $1,500 Eight-Game Mix. Not only is he one of 18 players to have won six WSOP bracelets or more, he is one of just seven to have done so in less than a decade – having won his first in 2015. 

Shaun Deeb

The name Ben Lamb should be a familiar one to anyone who follows the high stakes poker circuit closely, although he is best known for twice having reached the final table of the WSOP Main Event. A member of the 2011 November Nine – eventually finishing third for more than US$4 million – he was back again in 2017 where he busted in ninth for another US$1 million.

Despite a lengthy list of accomplishments, Lamb only had one WSOP bracelet to his name heading into this year’s series, having taken down the $10,000 PLO back in 2011 – the same year he reached the November Nine.

But now he has two after taking down the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship (the same event that saw James Obst reach his second final table of 2023).

No longer a Lamb to the slaughter.

Ben Lamb

And finally to the $100k High Roller, where Dutch pro Jans Arends topped a stacked field of 93 runners to take home the US$2.6 million top prize. 

Arends entered the final day as chip leader and despite facing a tough final table field that boasted the likes of Adrian Mateos, Biao Ding, Chance Kornuth and Jeremy Ausmus, the result never looked in doubt as he beat PokerGo founder Cary Katz heads-up for the win.

We’ll be back with another Weekly Wrap-Up next Friday, including the latest from the Aussie contingent and all the results from both the $250k Super High Roller and the $50k Poker Players Championship.

Jans Arends

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