Florida resident Femi Fashakin will not forget June 7, 2019 for the rest of his life as he became an overnight millionaire. He triumphed in Event #3: BIG 50 – $500 No-Limit Hold’em after four days of poker action at the Rio.
Fashakin topped a massive field of 28,371 entries in what would become the largest live tournament in poker history. He walked away with a whopping top prize of $1,147,449 and his very first WSOP bracelet. It was an overwhelming experience for Fashakin who only had nearly $60,000 in cashes before scoring his first seven-figure score.
Journey to Victory
Most of Fashakin’s cashes were earned from playing small stakes events in Florida. His largest win was $11,250, when he finished 41st in the $3,500 No Limit Hold’em – WPT Seminole Rock N Roll Poker Open Main Event in November of last year.
During a post-win interview, Fashakin recalled his early years as a poker player, saying he would go to local bars to play Hold’em. After that, he then started playing at the Hard Rock in Tampa where he scored a few cashes before eventually going to South Florida to play some $360s and $570s.
Fashakin’s list of poker accomplishments may be short, but his confidence helped him big time in taking down his very first final table. The American player admitted he had room for improvement but he believed in his skills. Fashakin even visualized himself wearing the much-coveted gold bracelet before entering the final day, and just like that, he finished off runner-up Paul Cullen less than 30 minutes into heads-up play to claim the largest cash of his career.
Final Table Results
Fashakin returned to the final table with six other players after Singapore’s Morten Christensen and American player David Rasmussen were eliminated in eight and ninth place near the end of Day 4, for $141,126 and $109,992 respectively.
Fashakin was holding the chip lead when the final table started, but he only began with 39 big blinds owing to shallow stacks. After a couple of double ups, US pro Adrian Curry left the table in seventh place for $182,192 after running pocket 10s into Rafi Elharar’s pocket kings. Just eight hands later, Canada’s Daniel Ghobrial was the next to bust in sixth place for $236,508.
After Ghobrial’s exit, Cullen was the short stack, but he managed to double through Walter Atwood with pocket aces. After the first break of the day, Atwood ended his BIG 50 quest in sixth place after his K-10 failed to find help against Nick Chow’s A-7. Atwood took home $308,701.
Four-handed play began with Fashakin dropping to the bottom of the chip count with less than 10 big blinds. His A-7 managed to double through Cullen’s A-5, and not long after, the Florida native was back in the lead for good.
Chow was soon eliminated in fourth place with his A-4 failing to hold up against Fashakin’s Q-10. Chow earned $405,132 for his fourth-place finish. Just two hands later, Elharar hit the rail in third place after running his king-six into Fashakin’s ace-trey. The Israeli player walked away with $534,574.
Fashakin engaged in heads-up play against Cullen with a massive chip advantage. A few hands later, Cullen who only had 10 big blinds, three-bet shoved with queen jack. Fashakin called and later picked up pocket aces. Cullen failed to find needed help from the board and he eventually exited the game in second place for $709,183.
Despite finishing as runner-up, it’s still an impressive win for Cullen who only had one WSOP cash which he scored four years ago, finishing in 1,916th place during the first edition of the COLOSSUS event. The Canadian citizen, who currently lives in Las Vegas is confident of doing well at the 2019 WSOP.
Fashakin – A Happy Man
After being crowned as the BIG 50 champ, Fashakin said he’s overwhelmed and super excited for what’s to come ahead of him. Femi Fashakin is a native of Lagos Nigeria and now lives in Orlando, Florida. His BIG 50 victory was a humbling experience for the 37-year-old who is happily married with two children.
The largest-ever poker tournament awarded a total prize pool of $13,509,435 to the winners.