Orlando physical therapist outlasts 827 entries en route to gold ring and $242k prize
February 19, 2018 (Coconut Creek, Fla.) - Kammar Andries stole the show at the WSOP Circuit Seminole Coconut Creek.
Making his third final table appearance of the series, Andries conquered a tough Main Event final table to win $241,898 and the series’ most valuable ring. He was also awarded a reserved seat into the season-ending WSOP Global Casino Championship (GCC).
The result was the culmination of a days-long stretch of hard work at the tables. The 40-year-old physical therapist took a week away from his Orlando-area practice to “take a legit shot” at a ring, as he put it. “Usually I just come in for one tournament and leave.” This was his first poker tournament in eight months.
Andries cashed three times leading into the Main Event, including two final table appearances in prelims. Those both ended in fourth-place finishes, though. The second of those came late Thursday in the Monster Stack, with Andries taking an ugly beat to be denied a ring once again.
There was a seat waiting for Andries in a private PLO cash game that evening, but that turned out to be a bad idea. He was promptly relieved of a chunk of the earnings he’d just collected. With a bad taste in his mouth, Andries decided to skip the Main Event.
“I jumped in my car, and I’m like, ‘Screw this, I’m driving home,’” he said. “First rest stop, I stopped and took a nap. I woke up, and it was like seven o’clock in the morning, and I just turned around and came right back.”
Returning to Coconut Creek, Andries fired at the early-morning satellite to no avail. So he bought directly into the Main Event for $1,675. Although it had two starting flights, Andries could only play the first session due to Saturday obligations back in Orlando. Fortunately, he needed just one entry to get the job done.
The event began with 827 total entries and a prize pool close to $1.25 million. Andries bagged up 137,500 chips after Day 1A, about an average stack among the 155 players who advanced.
Day 2 was an interesting one for the eventual winner, a day in which he admitted he made some mistakes. "If you want a lesson on how not to play ace-king today, come see me,” he said. “I had ace-king maybe seven times and misplayed all of them.”
Andries took to folding ace-king face-up thereafter, but the rest of the cards seemed to be more or less friendly to his cause. By the end of Day 2, he had maneuvered into fifth place with just 15 players remaining.
The field he faced on Day 3 provided a difficult test. The opponents in his way included major title winners Mike Linster and Brian Altman, online legend Joe Elpayaa, and former WSOP November Niner Kevin Schaffel. There were ring winners, too, like David Gunas, Dominique Mosley, and A.J. Kelsall.
“It’s a tough field, but anything could happen,” Andries shrugged in his postgame conversation.
His record for the series put him in the conversation for the Casino Champion title at that point, too. That honor goes to the player who accumulates the most points in the series, and it awards the property’s other seat to the GCC. The golden ticket is the end goal for full-time Circuit grinders.
Andries needed to finish third or better to even have a chance at that title, and he managed to pick his way through the minefield to get there. He eliminated Jason Hill in fourth place himself, which guaranteed that he would win a GCC seat by one of the two possible paths. He was either going to be the Main Event or Casino Champion for Seminole Coconut Creek.
Of course, Andries found himself three-handed in the Main Event against Linster and Altman, two players with much more relevant experience than him. In one hand, though, Andries suddenly became the favorite to win.
The pivotal pot played out with Altman and Andries battling for stacks preflop. Andries’ pocket kings had Altman’s queens dominated with about two thirds of the total chips in the middle of the table. There was a queen on the flop, though, a disaster for Andries.
“I didn’t even flinch,” he said after the fact. “When I saw the queen on the flop, I didn’t flinch… and then the king came out before I could even breathe.”
Just as quickly as he’d lost the lead, Andries snatched it right back with a king on the turn. That card and the blank on the river dealt a huge blow to Altman's stack, and he was eliminated shortly thereafter. He'd begun the day with the chip lead.
Those chips gave Andries a substantial lead entering the heads-up match against Linster, though, and it was over within 20 hands.
In the instant of victory, Andries needed a moment to collect himself. As soon as the last card was dealt, he shook hands with Linster and excused himself from the room for a few minutes.
He was glowing when he returned. It seems possible he snuck away to break the news to his wife, who was back home tending to their two young daughters. The Andries have been married for 11 years, and the husband gave the wife much of the credit for his performance.
“She’s been supportive since I met her,” he said. “Playing and stuff… You know, you take off on weekends, or take off a week here and there to go play. And she’s always been supportive.”
Andries' interest in poker stems from his time in New York, a place his family called home after immigrating from Guyana. It was there that Andries took up the game, playing in some of the local card clubs familiar to those in the community. He’s been playing for about 15 years, and this is by far the largest result on his tournament record.
It’s only partially about the money, though. “In my dreams I just wanted to win a ring,” he said. “Honestly.”
With his mission accomplished, Andries will head back to Orlando and back to the children’s hospital where he practices. “I actually have to go to work tomorrow,” he said. “I have a clinic and I have to do some evaluations. I have to be there bright and early at nine o’clock.”
Final Table Results:
1st: Kammar Andries - $241,898
2nd: Mike Linster - $149,480
3rd: Brian Altman - $110,107
4th: Jason Hill - $82,171
5th: LaVann Williams - $62,124
6th: Dafney Adisson - $47,573
7th: Michael Foley - $36,892
8th: Kevin Schaffel - $28,966
9th: David Gunas - $23,024
10th: Dominique Mosley - $18,521
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