Reigning WPT World Champion Dan Sepiol Strikes Gold at WSOP

Dan Sepiol won the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas in December, and on Sunday he added the second major live title of his career by winning a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Shootout at the World Series of Poker.

Tim Fiorvanti
Jun 10, 2024
Dan Sepiol won his first career WSOP gold bracelet and second major title in the last six months on Sunday night. (Photo courtesy of WSOP)

Six months ago, Dan Sepiol’s life and poker career changed forever when he won the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas for over $5.2 million. Rather than just sit back on his successes, Sepiol has traveled the world playing poker. Sepiol won a Global Poker Award in February for ‘Best Final Table Performance,’ and then made a second World Poker Tour final table on WPT Voyage in April. Like most of the poker world, Sepiol returned to Las Vegas for a full summer’s worth of poker in late May.

If there was somehow any lingering doubt about Sepiol’s poker bona fides after all of that, he put that talk to bed on Sunday when he won his first career World Series of Poker bracelet.

Sepiol’s victory, worth $305,849 in a field of 1,534, came in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Shootout. He came back Sunday among a final 16 that also included four players with WSOP gold bracelets: six-time winner Jeremy Ausmus, two-time WSOP winner and WPT Champions Club member Daniel Strelitz, two-time bracelet winner Scott Ball and recent WSOP $25K Heads-Up Champion Darius Samual.

“Feels amazing, man,” Sepiol said. “I’ve been chasing a bracelet for years now.”

Sepiol’s victory was all the more impressive because of how far he had to come back during heads up play. After bluffing off more than half of his remaining stack with a big river bet, Sepiol faced a chip disadvantage of just 2.2 million chips to Robert Natividad‘s 36.17 million with 150,000/300,000 blinds at his lowest point.

Being down by more than 16-to-1 heads up is not a position any poker player wants to find themselves in, but Sepiol refused to panic.

“It doesn’t feel good, especially when you just bluffed off your entire stack,” Sepiol Said. “But I just kind of played my stack with what was in front of me, and just tried to make the best decisions going from there.”

Remarkably, Sepiol was only all in once during his massive comeback run. After grinding a few chips back, Sepiol pushed all in with Club 5 Diamond 3 on a Spade 7 Spade 4 Club 2 flop and Natividad quickly called with Diamond 4 Spade 2. The turn was a brick Club 8, but the Spade A on the river made Sepiol a wheel and kickstarted his sun run.

A few made hands and a successful bluff brought Sepiol all the way back from the brink and into the chip lead, and in one final surreal confrontation, Sepiol and Natividad went into an unbelievable raising war on a Club Q Spade 8 Heart 7 flop that has to be seen to be believed. Sepiol remained from the flop on, and a rivered flush sealed the deal.

Reaching Day 3 of a Shootout tournament was an achievement in itself. Unlike a standard No Limit Hold’em tournament, a Shootout requires players to win two consecutive winner-take-all single table tournaments to qualify for Day 3. Sepiol emerged victorious from Day 1B Friday night, and then repeated the feat on Day 2 Saturday

“The first two tables were both actually pretty smooth,” Sepiol Said. “Ran good and had a big chip stack when we were short-handed, kind of cruised [through the] first two.”

Sepiol did enough to keep his head above water on Sunday until reaching five-handed play. He more than doubled up when his pocket queens were enough to hold off Strelitz’s pocket jacks, and then busted Ausmus in fourth place in short order.

Then, as Sepiol reached heads-up play and hit his low point, the rail quickly started to filled up with friends trying to will him to victory. As the cards turned in his favor, their rising swell of support made the moment all the more special.

“It means a lot to me,” Sepiol said of having so much support. “I got so many you know, good luck [messages], [friends] along the rail, and you know, that feels good.”

Despite the smiles, the pictures and the congratulations in the aftermath of his victory, Sepiol is not the kind of player to get too wrapped up in talking up his own abilities or achievements. In fact, Sepiol’s ability to hit a hard reset with each new day and new tournament has served him well as his career has continued its ascent.

“I’m just living one day at a time and enjoying poker.”

There wasn’t be a wild night out in honor of this victory, or even a particularly late night for that matter. Sepiol’s got more work to do, and too many opportunities at hand to lean into the biggest and best run of his career.

“There’s too much poker to celebrate, really,” Sepiol said. “I’ll play the 25K tomorrow, and that’s about it.”