Da WSOP Event #18 featured four qualifiers and two days of action-packed poker. Poker Gladiator has become a historic tournament. The cheapest tournament in the series, with a $300 buy-in, attracted 23,088 entrants, making it the second-largest live tournament ever. American Jason Simon was honored with all the chips in his hand.
The last gladiator on the field took home a staggering $499,852, the largest payout of his poker career. Before getting the bracelet, Simon had won $195,975 in 71 prize pools between 2013 and 2023, according to tracking by the Hendon Mob website. He could hardly believe the feat.
“It’s been amazing. It definitely helps to have friends here and cheer for all the effort,” he said. What’s the secret to becoming famous in a tournament with so many players? As Phil Hellmuth usually does, Jason talks about survival. “Your life in a tournament is precious and you have to stay in it no matter what,” he said.
Jason was even short-stacked after seeing Brazilian Caio de Lucca drop to eighth. “I never panic, I find a crease and take it from there,” he said. Simon was third in chips in the four-handed event, but he beat his opponent with a solid performance.
After a pre-flop all-in with KK against AT, he pushed Wade Wallace to fourth and hit his opponent for the lead. Not long after, he found the 9 on the turn, knocking out short-stack Wesley Cannon Q9 against K8. The heads-up started with a 3-1 lead and ended quickly. Simon beat the K8s against Eric Trexler’s JTs on 34563, ensuring the bracelet was celebrated by the crowd.
Check out the Poker Gladiator Finalists (Event #18):
1. Placement – Jason Simon (USA) – $499,852
2nd Place – Eric Trexler (USA) – $301,097
3rd Place – Wesley Cannon (USA) – $210,024
4 – Wade Wallace (USA) – $160,818
5th Place – Kfir Nahum (Israel) – $123,831
6. – Bohdan Slyvinskyi (USA) – $95,883
7 – Jonson Chatterley (USA) – $74,664
8. – Caio de Lucca (Brazil) – $58,466
9 – Thomas Reeves (USA) – $46,051