The 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table was set back on Dec. 14 and will play to a winner on Monday, Dec. 28 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Arguably the biggest star at that final table is Upeshka “gomezhamburg” De Silva, a three-time bracelet winner with more than $3.1 million in lifetime earnings.
De Silva established himself as an early favorite by finishing Day 1 of the tournament, which was played online at WSOP.com, as the chip leader among the surviving 71 players from the 705-player field. He used his mountain of chips to navigate his way to the final table, though he enters as the second-shortest stack with 2,150,000 in chips.
While De Silva would much prefer to enter the final table with more chips, he’s actually comfortable coming in short. That’s because he’s put a lot of study into short-stack play given he’s also waiting to play out another final table – the 2020 World Poker Tour (WPT) L.A. Poker Classic. That tournament, which will award its winner $1 million, began back in March, but due to the ongoing pandemic, it’s been unable to finish.
“Fortunately, because I have that WPT final table where I’m the short stack, I’ve been kind of studying for the situation for most of the year basically already, so I’m a bit prepared, to be honest,” he said. “Most important I just want to go in with a really Zen state of mind, you know, a Bryn Kenney kind of way, just feel really Zen. Maybe meditate and exercise this week, eat good.”
He continued: “I feel really good about my chances. I think I have something like 5% of the chips or something like this. I know realistically I’m a longshot to win, I know how poker works, but I do think that if I get a double up early on I’ll have a really good chance considering my experience edge.”
Going for Bracelet No. 4
Born in Sri Lanka, De Silva emigrated to the United States when he was just two years old. He grew up in Katy, Texas, and graduated from the University of Houston with degrees in political science and history.
De Silva’s poker résumé dates back to 2011, and over the past nine years, he has 10 six-figure scores and three gold bracelet victories. The first came at the 2015 WSOP when he took down Event #45: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em for a career-best $424,577. He also finished 36th in that year’s Main Event for $211,821.
“[Damian Salas has] really gotten the better of me in the last couple of big tournaments that we’ve played, I’ve really been wanting to get him for some time.”
Two years later, he won Event #3: $3,000 NLH Shootout for $229,923 for his second bracelet, and at the 2019 WSOP he captured his third when he won Event #38: $600 WSOP.com Online Knockout Bounty for $107,000.
Now, he finds himself on poker’s biggest stage going for bracelet No. 4, which would put him in the rarified company that includes Shaun Deeb, Huck Seed and Eli Elezra, just to name a few.
However, to get there he first has to win the final table and then go on to compete against Damian Salas, a player with whom he has some experience.
“This bracelet would definitely be the coolest, let alone the most amount of money,” De Silva said. “Also, I have a bone to pick with Damian Salas. He’s really gotten the better of me in the last couple of big tournaments that we’ve played. I’ve really been wanting to get him for some time. It’d be really cool to get this bracelet.”
Mom Has 1%
While he called it “kind of a weird rendition” of the Main Event, De Silva remains excited to make the final table of the traditional $10K freezeout that’s long been the crown jewel of poker‘s biggest tournament series.
“It’s definitely been crazy,” he said. “I started off the year doing really well live. My WPT final table was originally April 1st, but that got canceled. Since then, online games have boomed. I think I’ve played more poker this year than I have since my first year playing because there have been so many online games… It’s been kind of a crazy journey to end up here at the Main Event final.”
Speaking of online play, De Silva explained his online screen name, “GomezHamburg.” It’s actually based on the constellation Gomez’s Hamburger, which is approximately 6500 light-years away from Earth.
“Gomez’s Hamburger didn’t fit so I’m ‘GomezHamburg,’” he explained. “I just thought it was kind of hilarious there was a constellation named Gomez’s Hamburger. Anybody who has Asian parents is going to be a bit astrological, there’s no way around that. I’m not too superstitious, but it doesn’t hurt. It’s run good so far, I’ll tell you that.”
Speaking of his parents, De Silva admitted that due to the pandemic, he’s been isolated from his family. As a matter of fact, since making the final table he basically hasn’t left the house.
“I have to spend my first Christmas away from my mom now,” De Silva said, “but she has 1 percent so I think she’s OK with it.”
For more on De Silva, check out this video interview with PokerNews.
Action will resume on Monday, December 28 as the final table players down to a winner live at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. PokerNews will once again bring you live updates until the final table is set. Be sure to join us then to see who wins the WSOP.com portion of the 2020 WSOP Main Event!