The World Series of Poker (WSOP) $10,000 No-Limit Hold-Em World Championship, better known to poker fans as the Main Event, crowned a domestic champion on Monday, Dec. 28 when Joseph Hebert of Metairie, La., out-lasted the field of finalists at the in-person final table at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to win $1,553,256.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet; this is a life-changing experience,” Hebert said. “It feels like a dream. I felt like I was dreaming the whole time I was playing. I know my mom was here with me, and this was for her.”
The 38-year-old Hebert dominated the chip count from start to finish, but the victory was anything but easy. Hebert unexpectedly lost his mother in September. In their final exchange he told her his dream was to win a WSOP bracelet and he dedicated this incredible run to her memory. Hebert started a grassroots social media campaign #ForLinda and finished it off with a first-place performance. He said he could feel her presence with him as he played, and he certainly made her proud. By the end of the tournament, he stood alone after knocking out runner-up, Ron Jenkins.
Hebert has been a long-time grinder playing mostly in smaller stake, regional tournaments and gradually earned a top 200 ranking in the Global Poker Index. Following his WSOP win, Hebert will celebrate with his family and friends, surprising his father with a new car and granting his 8-year-old son’s wish for a pet bird. Hebert also plans on revisiting his roots at The Galley Seafood restaurant in Metairie, Louisiana where he has worked on and off for nearly two decades in the service industry.
As the winner of the tournament’s domestic leg, Hebert will now go head-to-head for the title of World Champion against the international winner, Damian Salas of Argentina, who defeated Brazil’s Brunno Botteon for the top prize of $1,550,969 at the King’s Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic on Dec. 15.
Due to unforeseen travel complications presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Heads-Up Finale will now be played on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
“Certainly 2020 has been a year of challenges for so many and we experienced them in organizing this unique format for a poker tournament on two continents,” said Ty Stewart, Executive Director, World Series of Poker. “We are so proud of this event, and the showcase it will provide for poker on January 3. We’ve seen memorable moments you can’t believe and discovered two central characters you can’t help but root for. A dream will be dealt on Jan 3, and that’s exactly what we need heading into 2021.”
The World Champion will earn an additional $1 million and the most valuable trophy in the world of sports — the 2020 diamond and gold encrusted WSOP Main Event bracelet.