WSOP 2024: Francis Anderson Scores Big with First Bracelet in the Independence Day Celebration

Francis Anderson with his rail after winning E80: $800 Independence Day Celebration
Francis Anderson with his rail after winning E80: $800 Independence Day Celebration

Starting on the 4th of July, the Independence Day Celebration is a regular event at WSOP where thousands of players play for patriotic bracelet glory. More than 4,200 entries swelled this game to prizes of more than $3.6 million.

With 30-minute blind levels, this game was always set to be a turbo affair, and the whole thing was complete by the end of Day 2 action. The speed of the game was increased by the Day 1 payout format that allowed players to cash out during the Day 1 flights once the field got to 15%.

That helped drive the action near the end of Day 1 play, as players weren’t nitting up to make the money on Day 2. Fewer than 10% of the total field returned for the final day of action with all players guaranteed at least $1,602 for their troubles.

Event #80: $800 Independence Day Celebration Details and Results

  • Field: 4,263
  • Prizes: $3,630,213
  • 1st Place: $501,040
PlacePlayerHomePrize
1Francis AndersonUnited States$501,040
2Brent LeeUnited States$323,080
3Taylor WilliamsUnited States$241,850
4Donnie BarnardUnited States$182,350
5Bamshad AziziUnited States$138,490
6Tom CohenIsrael$105,960
7Martin ZamaniUnited States$81,660
8Regina Vega SevilhaBrazil$63,410
9Jaskaran BrarCanada$49,613
Final Table Results for Event #80: $800 Independence Day Celebration

“I Got This”

Francis Anderson, winner of E80: $800 Independence Day Celebration
Francis Anderson, winner of E80: $800 Independence Day Celebration

Anderson was confident throughout the endgame of the tournament, even when he was on the ropes during heads-up play. “Yeah my opponent [Lee], he was a solid player, but then right away he won a big pot against me and I was down to like 8 big blinds… but I just kept telling myself don’t give up, all you have to do is double up one time and I got this…”

It was quite a run for the New York native who now lives in Vegas as a professional poker player. Anderson made the final day with just 700k in chips, well off the top ten who all bagged up 1.8 million or more.

That was apparently all he needed to navigate Day 2 and by the time they got to the unofficial final table of ten players, he was sitting second in chips, more than 20 million behind CEO Bamshad Azizi. Runner-up Brent Lee was third in chips for the final table with about 6 million less than Anderson.

Among the other final tablists were double-bracelet winner Martin Zamani and Canadian Jaskaran Brar, who was chip-leader for a good chunk of the final two table, but then saw his stack evaporate on the final table, after coming to the table virtually tied for fourth in chips with Tom Cohen, both on about 32 million.

Brar would be among the first to fall from the final table in 9th for $49,613 after Anderson’s pocket tens held against his ace-five. That gave the eventual winner a stack of nearly 60 million and he was on his way.

Regina Vega Sevilha, 8th place in Event #80: $800 Independence Day Celebration
Regina Vega Sevilha, 8th place in Event #80: $800 Independence Day Celebration

The last woman standing in the field was the next to leave the arena in 8th place. She came to the final table with 27 million, in the middle of the ranks, but had to hit the payout desk for $63,410 for 8th place after Azizi crushed her dreams with his aces.

The double-bracelet winner Zamani was the next to go in 7th place, sending his chips to Anderson in an underpair cooler with nines into tens. It took another half an hour to get rid of Tom Cohen in 6th place and Azizi, who loves the grind of poker as a break from his high-stress job as a tech CEO, followed about 30 minutes later in 5th.

Donnie Barnard and Taylor Williams then fell in rapid succession, both sending their chips to runner-up Lee, to set up the heads-up confrontation between Lee and Anderson. Lee had a huge lead to start heads-up and at one point was nearly 4:1 ahead.

Anderson was down to less than 10 big blinds when he managed to race his way to a double with ace-jack getting there over Lee’s fives. From there it was a pretty quick ending as Anderson doubled again about 10 minutes later when his pocket kings were well ahead of the flopped pair of queens for Lee.

Brent Lee had to miss his daughter's birthday today but found 2nd place as consolation.
Brent Lee had to miss his daughter’s birthday today but found 2nd place as consolation.

That flipped the script putting Lee on less than 10 bigs, and he was eliminated shortly after when he ran his suited queen into the pocket fours of Anderson. It was a bittersweet ending for Lee, who had a red-eye booked to get home for his daughter’s birthday today but had to cancel it after making the final table. He was very emotional about having to miss his daughter’s special day and while the $323k was a nice consolation prize, the family man was surely hoping to bring a bracelet home for his little girl.

For Anderson big scores aren’t that much of a new thing. He already had nearly $3 million in wins on Hendon Mob before this game and the half million he won here pushed him to more than $3.15 million. In addition to his first bracelet, it was his biggest score ever, eclipsing his 3rd place in the 2022 WSOP Monster Stack and marks his 8th score of $100k or more.

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