Dwyte Pilgrim Shocks the World

Dwyte Pilgrim Wins History-Making World Poker Tour® Borgata Poker Open

by Jess Welman

“We’re gonna shock the world.”

When Jeff Papola busted out in 7th place, setting the televised final table, no one was more excited than Dwyte Pilgrim. He cheered, he hugged, he fist-pumped, and he yelled out what has come to be his unofficial motto of this tournament:

“We’re gonna shock the world.”

Pilgrim came. Pilgrim saw. Pilgrim conquered something many critics suggested was impossible for a player of his caliber—a major event. The unofficial spokesman of “minor league” grinders, Pilgrim had several small titles and five-figure cashes, but he was still missing that big score that established him as a big name pro.

Now Pilgrim has that big score in the largest field in WPT history. Pilgrim was the premiere feature at one of the most entertaining and captivating WPT final tables in recent memory thanks to his table talk, memorable one-liners, and unconventional poker style.

When the final table began, the final six were closely packed together and it took only two hands for Pilgrim to begin to pull away from the pack. While Pilgrim was chipping up, the rest of the field could merely tread water. Ben Klier came into the day second in chips, but was the first player to exit after first running into a flush over flush situation to double up Kia Mohajeri, then getting it all-in holding pocket jacks to Mohajeri’s AspadeQclub. A dramatic ace on the river busted Klier in sixth place and helped propel Mohajeri through the final table.

Daniel Makowsky could never quite overcome his short stack at the final and, while he was able to double up through Pilgrim once, he couldn’t find another double up and exited in 5th place. Brandon Novena followed suit in 4th place a short while later. Novena seemed to be tilted by some of Pilgrim’s theatrics, which seemed to be squarely aimed at Novena. After losing a chunk of his stack over the course of several altercations without a showdown, Novena got the last of his stack in holding pocket sixes to Pilgrim’s KclubQclub, Pilgrim made two pair and Novena hit the rail.

Play continued three-handed for a while as Ofir Mor rallied from short stack to chip leader. Along the way, the action produced what WPT host Mike Sexton called, “his favorite moment in WPT history.” After calling Mor’s all-in shove, Pilgrim flopped two pair and ran to his screaming, wild rail to celebrate. His premature celebration was seemingly punished by the fates when Mor went runner-runner to make a better two pair and double up. Even Pilgrim was willing to admit he, “deserved that one a little bit.”

From there, Mor went from short stack to chip leader, but the rising blinds meant every pot was crucial, so after dropping some hands to Pilgrim, Mor found himself all-in again, this time against Mohajeri. Mor busted in third place after Mohajeri’s 7club8club improved to two pair and it was on to heads-up play.

The final two began in a dead heat for the chip lead, but Pilgrim pulled away from his opponent early and put the whole tournament away thanks to a cooler of a situation in which Pilgrim and Mohajeri got it all-in on a board of KheartTspade9spade7diamond with Pilgrim holding QheartJspade for a flopped straight while Mohajeri was trailing with Kspade9club for two pair.

With the 5diamond on the river, Pilgrim was guaranteed the pot and the victory and validation he so desperately longed for. He walked to the edge of the stage, collapsed to his knees, and then fell face down on the floor, openly sobbing with joy.

The final table was an example of Pilgrim’s self-proclaimed “Brazilian Gracie Jiu Jitsu” poker on display. Like a prize fighter, Pilgrim bobbed, weaved, and fought his way to victory, shocking the world in the process.

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