Breaking Down the Action:
  • A Long Battle for Gold
  • Four Men Fight for Glory
  • Breakthrough for Staats

4 Minute Read

Dan 'Cowboy' Smith almost prevailed in the latest WSOP Online event, but missed out on the gold after losing heads-up.

If cowboys walk away from poker tournaments disappointed, then the latest close run for Dan Smith might have left galloping for the hills. Coming second in the $3,200-entry event, Smith missed out on his second WSOP bracelet after finally breaking his duck in the summer in Las Vegas.

Who won instead? Let’s look back at Event #26 of the WSOP Online Series, which took place on

A Long Battle for Gold

It took 12 hours to work their way to the title, as Event #26 of this year’s World Series of Poker Online Series saw 149 and 38 re-entries bumped the $3,200-entry No Limit Hold’em High Roller Six-Max, which meant a top prize of a whopping $111,609. The total prizepool was $452,960, but only the top 18 finishers would reach the promised land of profit, with 18th place worth a min-cash of $8,606.

Once play reached the final table of six players, it was David Goodman who busted first. Cashing for $20,745, Goodman’s event was over when his shove with pocket fives was called by Dan Smith with ace-king. Goodman needed to hold in order to survive but couldn’t do so as an ace came to send Goodman to the virtual rail.

Next to go was Pete Chen, who ran short and shoved all-in with ace-seven. The chip stacks dictated a call for John Ripnick, who played under the username ‘Relevancy’, as he took the bait with ten-five hoping to score a knockout. A five on the river did for Chen, who cashed for $29,034 in fifth place.

Four Men Fight for Glory

With four players left, there was still plenty of play left in the event to find a winner.

Despite having been responsible for the most recent elimination, it was Ripnick who left next, busting in fourth place for $40,675. Ripnick was short-stacked when he moved all-in with nine-ten and he was called and defeated by Brett Apter, whose king-queen hit not one queen but two to send Ripnick to the rail.

The curse of the most recent executor struck again as Apter lost out in third place for $56,891. He battled for an hour three-handed before he ran super short and, in the end, just two big blinds went into the middle with ace-deuce. Called by Smith with queen-three, a three on the flop was all that hit but that was enough to send play heads-up, with Smith holding a very slight chip lead.

The final duel swung this way and that for some time before a champion was found and it was not Smith. Chris Staats worked his way into the lead before shoving with jack-eight. Smith was right to call with ace-queen, but Staats had two live cards for the title and hit a jack to win the WSOP bracelet and $111,609. Smith, who had led the final table at several points, won the runner-up prize of $79,675.

After defeat, Smith was… disappointed to say the least. Someone take the matches away from The Cowboy.

Breakthrough for Staats

With the Oklahoma player Chris Staats the winner, it was the biggest online win of his career. More important than the money, which will bump his The Hendon Mob page to over $1.3 million in winnings that he’s predominantly earned at the live felt, was the gold bracelet itself.

Staats best live score in his career remains the $254,580 he won for finishing third in the 2018 Little One for One Drop event. That was a huge return on investment, with the entry fee just $1,000 for that tournament, and represents easily his biggest win in the 13 years he’s been playing in ranking live events.

After so long in the game, Staats first-ever WSOP bracelet victory is one he’ll treasure forever, not least because of the competition he beat along the way, such as Dan ‘Cowboy’ Smith heads-up for the gold.

WSOP 2022 Online Series Event #26 $3,200 NLHE High Roller Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Christopher Staats U.S.A. $111,609
2nd Dan Smith U.S.A. $79,675
3rd Brett Apter U.S.A. $56,891
4th John Ripnick U.S.A. $40,675
5th Pete Chen Taiwan $29,034
6th David  Goodman U.S.A. $20,745


Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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