Jason DeWitt leaned back in his chair, propped up his feet on a small table and took a sip of his beer.
With a minimum $1 million already locked up, there was no need for DeWitt to be stressed during his heads-up match Tuesday night at the World Series of Poker.
“It really seemed like nothing, really,” DeWitt said. “I already won a (WSOP) bracelet, so I was just really relaxed as could be.”
DeWitt, a 32-year-old professional poker player living in San Diego, won the $1,500 buy-in “Millionaire Maker” No-limit Hold ’em tournament at the Rio Convention Center.
DeWitt defeated Garrett Greer of Newport Beach, California, in a friendly heads-up duel that lasted nearly one hour, and collected $1,065,403 for the victory.
Greer earned $1 million for second place, and the tournament’s top-heavy payout structure with only a $65,000 difference between first and second place made for a casual atmosphere between the final two competitors.
“There definitely is (a sense of validation) just to say I have two (bracelets),” DeWitt said. “I feel like almost everybody has one (bracelet) these days. If you play the whole World Series, I feel like eventually they always win if you’re a pro. It feels like everybody has it, the guys that play the whole World Series they always have at least one now.”
DeWitt won the $3,000 buy-in No-limit Hold ’em event in 2010 and had seven other top-10 finishes at the World Series of Poker before Tuesday. His victory in the “Millionaire Maker” pushed his career live tournament earnings past $2.95 million, according to Global Poker Index’s Hendon Mob Poker Database.
“They’re so big, the fields in no-limit, that I thought there was a good chance I could never win one again,” DeWitt said. “And then I win one with a 7,000-person field, which is just insane. Unbelievable.”
While DeWitt was able to outlast 7,189 other entrants, he wasn’t the fan favorite at the final table. That honor went to Greer and third-place finisher Lisa Meredith.
Greer, who suffered a broken neck in a swimming pool accident in 2010 and is paralyzed from the chest down, had a large cheering section as he chased his first WSOP bracelet. The seven-figure payout was the second-biggest score of Greer’s career.
Meredith, a former kindergarten teacher from Vancouver, Washington, took home $500,000 in her first-ever WSOP event and gained the respect of her fellow players with her solid play.
“She laddered up perfectly just playing tight,” DeWitt said. “It was really perfect for her how the cards set out and she played tight.”
DeWitt opened the nine-handed final table with the chip lead and had a slight advantage over Greer when heads-up play started. DeWitt extended his lead after about 45 minutes and then won the biggest pot of the night before he ended the festivities two hands later.
“I got a lot of cards,” DeWitt said. “I think I had the best cards of anybody at the table. It kind of makes it easy when you get the best cards at the table. You still can easily make mistakes, but I didn’t really make any big mistakes. I really outcarded them.”
Contact reporter David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ