KYLE JULIUS WINS DEBUT OF TOP UP TURBO EVENT
29-year-old poker pro from Naperville, IL collects $142,972 prize in Event #4
Turbo tournament with a twist draws 667 entries
Belgium’s Bart Lybaert finishes as runner up
Ben Yu, Winner of last year’s $10K Limit Hold’em championship, finishes third
MEET THE LATEST WSOP GOLD BRACELET CHAMPION
Kyle Julius is the newest member of poker’s gold bracelet club.
Four years after
finishing as the runner up in a WSOP gold bracelet event, this time the
29-year-old professional poker player from Naperville, IL won poker’s
ultimate title. Julius’ victory came in the $1,000 buy-in Top Up No-Limit Hold’em
tournament, which was played over a lightning-fast two days and
concluded on a Monday afternoon. The final table was played out upon
the refurbished ESPN main stage at the Rio in Las Vegas
and lasted slightly more than two hours, one of the shortest durations
of any event in recent memory. Julius collected $142,972 in prize
money, making this one of the biggest wins of his poker career. In
fact, it marked his first live tournament victory of any kind.
“Actually, this is the
first live tournament I’ve ever won, so for it to be a bracelet event is
pretty cool,” Julius said in a post-victory interview. “….to start the
series off with a win in just the second tournament is obviously what I
Julius won a well-deserved victory by conquering a final table which
included several players who were making their first WSOP final day
appearance. The narrowed-down field was led by Ben Yu, who was hoping
to add to his jewelry collection following his WSOP debut win in last
year’s $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em championship. Yu zig-zagged
throughout the final day and ended up finishing in third place.
Once Yu was eliminated,
it didn’t take long for the end to come. Julius’ final moment of
triumph came when he shocked the crowd by spiking a set of fours on the
river. Julius appeared to have Bart Lybaert,
from Meihelen, Belgium, on the ropes when the final hand was dealt out,
but then looked to be a huge underdog when a king flopped, giving
Lybaert top pair. Julius was down to just two outs (two fours in the
deck), then watched in delight as his miracle was delivered and a four
rained down on the final hand of the tournament, making a set to go
along with Julius’ pocket fours. Although disappointed by the final
outcome, Lybaert could still take pride in the accomplishment. He
finished as the runner up and pocketed $88,328 for a valiant effort.
Julius knows all too well
the mixed emotional reaction to finishing second. At the 2012 WSOP,
which was the second series he attended as a player, the relative
newcomer finished as the runner up in a $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em
tourney, which paid out a whopping $589,687. With this victory, he’s
now crossed the million-dollar threshold in WSOP earnings.
This first time tourney
of this kind attracted 667 players, which created a prize pool totaling
$681,300. Most participants gave the event a thumbs up, although the
rules and structure caused a bit of confusion.
“I think some players
looked at the name of the tournament and it scared some players away,”
said Julius when asked about the debut event. “I think some people were
confused as to what it was, so the turnout could have been bigger if it
had been just a $1K Turbo. But, I think it’s pretty cool that someone
can come in and win half their stack online in a $55 tournament. I
think once people learn more about it and know how to go online, I think it will get a better turnout….obviously, I can’t argue with the final result.”
Top Up Turbo No-Limit
Hold’em was a new addition to the schedule this year. The “Top Up”
feature meant that players had several ways of starting with a
double-sized stack. Participants could either qualify online via a single-table satellite,
or a live-action satellite (played inside the Rio), or pay and addition
$1,000 in entry fee to take the add on. Most players qualified via one
of the first two options. However, 81 players paid $1,000 for the add
on, which helped to inflate the prize pool. Julius, the champion,
earned his extra starting stack by playing in a live satellite at the
Although this is far from
the biggest prize pool at the WSOP, the victory was extra special for
Julius, given the timing. Along with his fiancé, the couple is
expecting their first child, expected to be born right after the WSOP
summer series is completed in the later part of July.
“We’ve been arguing about
names (for the baby), and my fiancé said that if I won a gold bracelet I
could pick the name of the baby,” Julius said. “It’s still going to be
mutual – we’re going to name the kid together but now I have a little
Just as Julius was being interviewed, someone listening from the crowd
hollered out that the child should be named “Turbo,” which then brought a
This was the fourth gold
bracelet event on this year’s schedule. This leaves 65 major
tournaments still to go in what promises to be the biggest and most
exciting WSOP ever.
Here’s a brief report of
the other top finishers who made the final table, which was played over a
two-day stretch at the Rio in Las Vegas:
Bart Lybaert, from Heihelen, Belgium finished as the runner up. This
was his fifth time to cash in a WSOP event, and first final table
appearance. Like two other players in this event, he also cashed in
this year’s Colossus event, making him 2/2 in cashed for the series.
His payout amounted to $88,328.
Ben Yu was one of the most popular winners of the 2015 WSOP and hoped
to take down his second gold bracelet. Yu yo-yoed up and down in chips
the entire day before exiting in third place, which paid out $61,137.
For Yu, originally from Dayton, OH and now residing in Henderson, NV,
this was the 32nd career WSOP cash for the Stanford University
graduate. He now has five final table appearances, including a 1st,
2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th.
Fourth Place: Karl Held
appeared to be the player to beat for a while. He was in or near the
chip lead during the first two hours of play, but then faded and ended
up as the fourth-place finisher. Held, from Forest Hills, NY cashed for
just the second time in a WSOP event, which paid out $43,001. Held
took a bad beat on his final hand, losing with A-4 suited to Ben Yu’s
Q-7 suited, which connected to the board and made a flush.
Fifth Place: Hugo Perez,
who was born in Peru and now lives in Plano, TX, enjoyed his second
career WSOP final table appearance, coming in fifth. Perez finished
fourth in a Six-Handed event back in 2010. Perez collected $30,742.
Sixth Place: Christian Blech
can brag that he’s a perfect 2/2 in WSOP events this year. Just a day
after cashing in Colossus II, he made his first WSOP final table and
took down a very respectable sixth-place finish. Blech, from Germany,
was one of only two non-American players among the final nine. He
pocketed $22,345 in prize money.
Seventh Place: Nitis Udornpim,
from Bethlehem, PA enjoyed his first WSOP cash as the seventh-place
finisher. He pocketed $16,518 in his debut under the bright lights.
For the 21-year-old poker player and student born in Thailand, this was
the first year he was eligible to play at the WSOP, and he certainly
took full advantage of the opportunity.
Eighth Place: George Dolofan
arrived at the final table as the shortest stack of the nine finalists
and was eliminated within the first half hour. The marked his second
time to cash at the WSOP, which was good for $12,422
Ninth Place: Vinny Pahuja now has 43 cashes combined between WSOP and WSOP Circuit
events. The veteran poker player from Hicksville, NY went out early in
the finale and ended up with a $9,506 payout. The brings his career
WSOP earnings up close to $400,000.
OTHER NOTABLE IN-THE MONEY FINISHERS:
from San Diego, CA, is a four-time WSOP Circuit gold ring winner. He
fell short of making the final table and ended up in 16th place.
Gold bracelet winner Andy Bloch took 26th place, inching closer to crossing the $3 million mark in career WSOP earnings.
Liv Boree, the popular British player and European Poker Tour champion, came in 29th.
Gold bracelet winner David Williams finished 43rd. He closed in on the $4.5 million mark in career WSOP earnings.
Other notables who cashed beyond the top 50 included – Ronnie Bardah, Eric Froehlich, Leo Wolpert, and Matt Matros.
was the debut of a new event, merging online and live satellites and a
gold bracelet tournament. Although entry was open to everyone (over
21), the amount of starting chips was determined by qualification via
online satellites held at WSOP.com as well as live-action satellites
played at the Rio. Players who finished in one of the top three places
in a single-table satellite earned double the normal starting stack
(5,000 in chips). However, to level the playing field, all players were
offered the opportunity to add on the extra chips by paying an
additional $1,000 in entry fee, which boosted the prize pool by an
additional 7 percent overall.