06/26/16 02:54:38 AM PDT
Martin Kozlov is the newest member of poker’s gold bracelet club.
The professional poker player from Melbourne, Australia won the $10,000 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which was played over three days and nights and just concluded on the ESPN main stage at the Rio in Las Vegas.
This was arguably the most electrifying finale of any championship event played thus far at the 2016 World Series of Poker. Moreover, the final hand made for a riveting finale.
Kozlov collected $665,709 in prize money, making this the biggest win of his career. This marked his fifth time to cash at this year’s series, including one previous final table appearance when he finished fifth ($3,000 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em).
The Aussie poker pro won his victory by coming out on top at a final table which included a tough lineup – including four former gold bracelet winners – Davidi Kitai (3 wins), Justin Bonomo (1 win), Chris Ferguson (5 wins), and Nick Petrangelo (1 win).
“Winning this tournament is very satisfying,” Kozlov said. “It’s tough. It’s prestigious. It’s some of the best players out there.”
In the fourth hour of play when three-handed, the ultimate moment of triumph came when Kozlov scooped the final pot of the tournament against KItai and Bonomo, who were both all in and more than covered by Kozlov’s chip lead.
The final hand pitted Bonomo with 9-9 against Kitai, holding 6-6. But the real power belonged to Kozlov, who tabled Q-Q. The packed crowd, mostly partisan, rose and watched in shock as Kozlov flopped Q-Q-7, which was good for quad-Queens. It wasn’t just an exclamation point. It was a double knockout punch.
“The crowd didn’t really affect me all that much,” Kozlov replied when asked about the electrifying energy in the crowd, the largest of any final table played so far. “When you are playing, you get into a zone and tune that out. You just focus on the cards. You don’t think about what’s going on beyond the felt.”
With this victory, Kozlov became the 12th Australian national in history to win a WSOP gold bracelet. The country down under has accounted for 21 WSOP titles in all (multiple players have more than one win).
Kozlov started playing poker in college in Australia. He played for very low stakes initially. Then, as he gradually improved, Kozlov realized he might be able to make a living at the game. He’s now been playing for ten years. That dedication was finally awarded on this evening by a gold bracelet victory.
This tourney attracted 294 entrants which created a prize pool totaling $2,763,600. The top 45 finishers collected prize money.
Aside from the winner, here’s a brief report of the other top finishers who made the final table:
Second Place: Davidi Kitai, from Brussels, Belgium was only a day removed from having his record matched by Michael Gathy as the all-time leader in WSOP victories, with three. Kitai nearly won a fourth title, but came up short on the final all-in hand. Still the Belgian who held the chip lead part of the way on Day Three of the competition, ended up cashing from the 28th time at the WSOP. He pocketed a nice consolation prize amounting to $411,441.
Third Place: Justin Bonomo, from Glendale, CO came in third place. He was short on chips much of the finale, but still managed to make a decent run. For his effort, Bonomo earned $271,856. The 2014 gold bracelet winner ($1,500 by-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em) now has 37 WSOP cashes and more than $2.6 in WSOP career earnings.
Fourth Place: Chris Ferguson attracted much of the focus of this finale, particularly in light of his five-year layoff from the game. His last final table appearance took place in 2010. The five-time gold bracelet winner and 2000 world poker champion has enjoyed a strong series, thus far, with six cashes. He was low on chips during his three-hour stay under the lights, and ended up coming in fourth place, which paid $183,989.
Fifth Place: Nick Petrangelo, from Feeding Hills, MA came in fifth place. He lost a critical hand late with pocket aces, which were out-flopped by Martin Kozlov’s pocket queens (a queen came). Petrangelo had to settle for a payout totaling $127,622. He now has 14 WSOP cashes, including a gold bracelet victory in last year’s NLHE Shootout.
Sixth Place: Jack Salter took a tough beat in a three-way pot on what turned out to be his final hand. The player from London, UK cashed for the ninth time at the series, including a second-place showing at the 2014 Asia-Pacific WSOP Main Event Championship. Salter received $90,783 for this deep run.
Seventh Place: Eric Worre, from Eden Prairie, MN rounded out the unofficial final table, coming in seventh place. This was his first final table appearance and second time to cash at the WSOP. Worre collected $66,270.
06/25/16 11:40:30 PM PDT
Martin Kozlov - $10,000 No-LImit Hold'em Six-Max Champion ($655,709)
Martin Kozlov raises to 250,000 on the button. Justin Bonomo moves all in out of the small blind for about 2,920,000. Kitai moves all in for about 3,850,000 and Kozlov calls, having both players covered.
Bonomo shows , Kitai shows , and Kozlov is in the lead with . Kozlov can knock out two players and win the tournament if his queens hold up.
There isn't much drama as the flop comes and Kozlov flops quads to leave both of his opponents drawing dead on the flop. The turn is the irrelevant and the river is the irrelevant to eliminate both players and Kozlov wins his first career bracelet and $655,709.
Kitai started the hand with more chips and will take home second place money. Kitai nets $411,441 for second and Bonomo earns $271,856 for his third place finish.
Martin Kozlov - $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Max Champion
Davidi Kitai - Eliminated in 2nd Place ($411,441)
Justin Bonomo - Eliminated in 3rd Place ($271,856)
Davidi Kitai - 2nd Place ($411,441)
Justin Bonomo - 3rd Place ($271,856)
06/25/16 11:26:26 PM PDT
Martin Kozlov limps in from the small blind and Justin Bonomo checks his option from the big blind. The flop is
. Kozlov checks, Bonomo bets 100,000 and Kozlo folds.
06/25/16 11:24:51 PM PDT
Davidi Kitai raises 310,000 out of the small blind and Martin Kozlov calls from the big blind. The flop is and Kitai bets 255,000.
Kozlov calls and the turn is the . Kitai bets 750,000 and Kozlov takes two minutes in the tank before reaching for chips and cutting out enough chips to raise. Kozlov makes it 1,800,000 and Kitai doesn't waste much time in folding.
06/25/16 11:18:37 PM PDT
|Level:||28 ||Blinds:||50,000/100,000 ||Ante:||10,000|
06/25/16 11:18:27 PM PDT
Justin Bonomo completes from the small blind and Davidi Kitai raises to 200,000 out of the big blind. Bonomo folds and Kitai drags the pot.
06/25/16 11:17:20 PM PDT
Davidi Kitai raises to 200,000 on the button and Martin Kozlov three-bets to 700,000 out of the small blind. Justin Bonomo folds his big blind and Kitai takes a minute before four-betting to 1,500,000. Kozlov takes a minute to mull over his decision and then sends his hand into the muck.
06/25/16 11:12:33 PM PDT
Davidi Kitai completes from the small blind and Martin Kozlov checks his option out of the big blind. The flop is and Kitai bets 110,000. The turn is the and Kitai checks.
Kozlov bets 125,000 and Kitai calls. The river is the and Kitai bets 275,000. Kozlov folds and Kitai drags the pot.
06/25/16 11:09:41 PM PDT
Justin Bonomo completes from the small blind and Davidi Kitai raises to 210,000 out of the big blind. Bonomo calls and the flop is . Both players check and the turn is the .
Bonomo bets 450,000 and Kitai calls. The river is the . Bonomo bets and Kitai folds.
06/25/16 11:05:46 PM PDT
Davidi Kitai raises to 200,000 on the button and Justin Bonomo defends his big blind. The flop is
and Bonomo checks. Kitai bets 155,000. Bonomo folds and Kitai wins the pot.
06/25/16 11:03:34 PM PDT
Davidi Kitai completes from the small blind and Martin Kozlov checks his option. The flop is and Kitai bets 110,000. Kozlov calls and the turn is the .
Kitai bets 280,000 and Kozlov folds.
06/25/16 11:00:29 PM PDT
Davidi Kitai gets a walk in the big blind.
06/25/16 10:59:47 PM PDT
Davidi Kitai raises to 200,000 on the button and Martin Kozlov three-bets to 700,000 out of the small blind. Everybody gets out of the way and Kozlov drags the pot.
06/25/16 10:58:22 PM PDT
Davidi Kitai completes from the small blind and Martin Kozlov raises to 200,000 from the big blind. Kitai calls and the flop is .
Both players check and the comes on the turn. Kitai checks again and Kozlov bets 215,000. Kitai folds and Kozlov takes the pot.
06/25/16 10:56:13 PM PDT
Justin Bonomo limps in from the small blind and Davidi Kitai checks his option. The flop is and Bonomo bets 80,000. Kitai calls and the turn is the .
Bonomo checks and Kitai bets 155,000. Bonomo calls and the river is the . Bonomo checks and Kitai bets 300,000. Bonomo folds and Kitai drags the pot.
06/25/16 10:52:10 PM PDT
Davidi Kitai raises to 200,000 on the button and Martin Kozlov three-bets to 700,000 out of the small blind. Justin Bonomo moves all in out of the big blind for 2,095,000 and Kitai quickly folds. Both players fold and Bonomo takes the pot.
06/25/16 10:49:33 PM PDT
Justin Bonomo raises to 180,000 on the button and Davdi Kitai calls from the small blind. Martin Kozlov folds his big blind and they are heads-up to a flop of and Kitai checks.
Bonomo bets 200,000 and Kitai calls. The turn is the and Kitai checks again.
The river is the and Kitai shoves all in for about 4,000,000 and Bonomo calls for less. Kitai shows and Bonomo shows . They each play the board and chop the pot.
Davidi Kitai - 3,925,000 (49 bb)
Justin Bonomo - 2,855,000 (35 bb)
06/25/16 10:44:31 PM PDT
Martin Kozlov raises to 200,000 on the button and wins the blinds and antes.
06/25/16 10:43:54 PM PDT
Martin Kozlov completes the small blind and Justin Bonomo moves all in from the big blind. Kozlov folds and Bonomo takes the pot.
06/25/16 10:42:04 PM PDT
Justin Bonomo raises to 180,000 on the button and wins the blinds and antes.