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Close Call for Venezuela: Dorian Rios Finishes 2nd in Monster Stack
Venezuela came close to getting its first bracelet today.
Dorian Rios outlasted 6,925 players to get heads-up in the Monster Stack.
He only needed to outlast one more player to win Venezuela’s first bracelet and $1.1 million.
Rios started the heads-up match slightly behind in chips and couldn’t catch up.
Then Rios tried to go for a double up with a pair of threes and Mitchell Towner, a professor at the University of Arizona, called with ace-seven offsuit.
Towner hit a seven on the flop and Rios couldn’t hit a third three to survive.
A Quiet Loss
Towner celebrated while Rios walked slowly around the tournament area.
He’d been celebrating and talking with his friends and family on the rail throughout the whole final table, but after his elimination he took a short walk by himself.
His rail stood silently in their area while Rios strolled across the feature table area, then the main tournament area.
He occasionally shook his head and looked off into the distance.
Finally one of his friends came over and put his arm around his back.
Most of Rios’s friends play poker too; they understood.
Aside from his aunt, his cousin and his girlfriend, most of Rios’s rail had come from Venezuela to play poker.
One of them, Jorge Espinoza, finished 46th in the Monster Stack and said while the Venezuelans have been getting better results, there are fewer of them.
Trouble in Venezuela
“I’ve been coming here for the last 10 years,” Espinoza said.
“There used to be a lot more of us, but our currency is really weak and things aren’t going too well in Venezuela.”
Venezuela is currently going through a political and economic crisis and its currency, the Bolivar, has been in a freefall.
It’s not the only obstacle facing Venezuelan poker players.
The government shut down the country’s casinos and there hasn’t been a legal place to play poker in Venezuela for years.
Before this summer Rios’ last WSOP was in 2012, when the government shut down the casinos.
Rios, who says he’s been playing poker since he was about five, finally got back to Las Vegas this year after a few good tournaments.
“I finished 17th in the Bahamas and then I got a third place in New Jersey,” Rios said.
“I’ve only been here for four days, the Monster Stack was my first tournament.”
It was Rios’s largest career cash. The second-place finish earned Rios $692,029.
Rios hasn’t been the only Venezuelan posting up results this summer.
Ivan Freitez, who has more than $2.5 million in live tournament earnings, has already scored five cashes this summer.
Rios thinks it’s their drive to succeed that’s helping the Venezuelan players do well.
“I think we’re doing well because we’re pretty aggressive,” Rios said. “And we’re competing now more than ever.”