What a birthday present! Michael Chow, a poker pro from Honolulu, HI, won his first WSOP gold bracelet in the $1,500 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split event on the day of his 33rd birthday. The tournament ended about 4:30 am, with a large cheering section celebrating Chow’s personal and professional triumph.
“This means a lot," said an elated Chow. "I have been working hard trying to make a living for the past four or five years. I made a final table at the WSOP before, and I won a Bellagio event. So, I have had cashes here and there. But to win a gold bracelet, that’s everything to me. This means everything right here. It makes me feel a lot better about everything I am doing.”
Chow, who previously worked in real estate before playing poker full-time, now concentrates mostly on high-stakes cash games in his native Hawaii and in casinos in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles; he earned a cool payout totaling $237,463 for winning Event 4 at this year’s WSOP.
Chow defeated longtime tournament veteran Dan Heimiller in heads-up play. Chow dominated most of play on Day Three, but lost his chip lead late against Heimiller. In fact, it appeared the Las Vegas pro would defeat Chow at one point.
But Chow made a strong comeback and earned a well-deserved victory. “At one point I felt it slipping away, said Chow. He was the one player I did not want to play heads up with.” This was the third-biggest field in the history of WSOP Omaha High-Low events, with 818 players.
On being Hawaiian and taking pride in his victory: “There are a lot of very good players who come out of Hawaii. There are a lot of games back home. Many people come to Las Vegas from Hawaii. Maybe more people will come and play poker now (after I won).”
The 2010 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in Omaha High-Split Eight-or-Better champion is Michael Chow, from Honolulu, HI.
ABOUT OUR NEW CHAMP:
Chow is 33-years-old. He was born in Honolulu. His victory occurred on his 33rd birthday. Chow also owns a home in Las Vegas, NV. He bought a second home because he spends much of his time playing poker in Las Vegas. Chow is a professional poker player. He has been playing full-time since 2007. Prior to playing poker, Chow was a real estate broker and investor. He made a very good living and saved up enough money to bankroll an initial poker career.
Chow attended the University of Hawaii 10 years ago. He did not graduate. Chow is single.Chow’s first recorded tournament cash took place in 2001. Chow previously had about $300,000 in live tournament winnings. He is now up over half a million in earnings. Chow plays in many private poker games in Hawaii. Chow has not concentrated much on tournament play, choosing instead to focus his energy on cash games. He is a regular in the mid- to high-stakes cash games played at the Commerce Casino (Los Angeles) and elsewhere. Chow commonly plays $200-400 limit and $300-600 limit.
He first attended the WSOP in 2003 when it was held at Binion’s Horseshoe. Chow collected $237,463 for first place. He was presented with his first WSOP gold bracelet. According to official records, Chow now has seven WSOP cashes, two final table appearances, and one win. His career WSOP earnings now total $370,752. Among those who were near tableside cheering for Chow was Lisa Hamilton, who is also a Hawaii native. She won last year’s Ladies World Championship. Chow is believed to be only the second Hawaiian in WSOP history to win a gold bracelet, after Hamilton was the first last year.
THE FINAL TABLE:
The final table consisted of only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner -- Dan Heimiller. This was an all-American final table. Only a few events last year did not include an international mix, and they are becoming rarer as the WSOP continues to attract a wider diversity of competitors from many different nations.
Final table participants ranged in age from 28 to 50.The runner up was Dan Heimiller. He is a 48-year-old poker pro from Las Vegas. Heimiller won his gold bracelet back in 2002 in the Seven-Card Stud championship.
The third-place finisher was Ylon Schwartz, from Austin, TX. A former chess master originally from New York City, he is best known for finishing fourth in the 2008 WSOP Main Event and was part of the original "November Nine." This marked Schwartz's 14th time to cash in a WSOP event. He now has in excess of $4 million in career WSOP earnings.
The fourth-place finisher was Fred Koubi, from Van Nuys, CA. A fixture at major poker tournaments for many years, Koubi now has four WSOP cashes.
The fifth-place finisher was Scott Epstein, from Las Vegas, NV. He now has eight WSOP cashes.
The sixth-place finisher was Michael Cipolla, from Fresno, CA.
The seventh-place finisher was Sasha R.
The eighth-place finisher was Joe Liebman, from Ft. Atkinson, WI.
The ninth-place finisher was Todd Barlow, from Scottsdale, AZ.
The final table officially began at 9:45 pm and ended at 4:10 am.
The final table began nine-handed. Every final table participant had at least one prior WSOP in-the-money finish.
THE FINAL TABLE:
For the complete Event 4 recap, including official results, photos and hand-by-hand details, please click here.