It is apt that the first bracelet of the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific would be awarded to a player from ‘Down Under’. To be fair, once the final table was set, there was simply no chance the bracelet would be leaving the shores of Australia. Not because there is a strict law of cross-border bracelet importation, more because the final nine was an all-Aussie affair.
As always, there could only be one winner, and on this occasion is was Luke Brabin who defeated his Australian brethren to capture the WSOP gold bracelet and the $131,365 top prize.
Brabin, a 34-year old Sydney-born Melbourne local, identifies as an entrepreneur, but has considered himself a professional poker player at various times of his life. He has certainly had plenty of success in tournaments around the region, but nothing like winning a WSOP bracelet.
“Winning a bracelet was absolutely an ultimate goal of mine in poker,” Brabin said after his victory. “The World Series of Poker is just the pinnacle of events, so obviously it means something more than winning other random tournaments here in Australia.”
Watch the final table in its entirety
As Brabin held the gold bracelet, there was certainly a glimmer in in his eye that only a WSOP victory could create. It looked like Brabin may never take it off his wrist.
“I will definitely be sticking the bracelet up for everyone to see somewhere in my new home,” Brabin said. “This is the start of a new time in my life. I’ve been through some dark times in the past and I’m just looking for more success and to just keep going.”
“Strongly,” Brabin added after a meaningful pause.
Australia may have filled all the spots at the Event 1: $1,100 No Limit Hold’em Accumulator final table, but it wasn’t from a lack of trying from the international players. Dozens of the best players from around the world made up part of the total field of 611 entrants.
Some of those foreigners who made deep runs in the event, but fell short of poker’s ultimate final table, include WSOP bracelet winners Brandon Shack-Harris, Antonio Esfandiari, George Danzer and Jeff Madsen.
Shack-Harris was leading the 2014 WSOP Player of the Year race leading into this series and when he finished in 53rd place in the Accumulator, it was looking like he would hold onto that spot. Danzer had other ideas though and ultimately clinched the lead when he finished in 22nd place. It’s not likely that will be the last time the lead changes over the next two weeks.
Once all the international players were out of the way in this three-day tournament it was time for the locals to shine. When ten players remained and Day 2 was over, is was Luke Brabin who shone brightest as he would return to the ‘unofficial’ final table with the chip lead.
Perhaps the most notable player of the final table was Kahle Burns. This young Melbourne local rose to prominence in 2013 when he finished 5th in the WSOP APAC Main Event. Burns impressed in the television broadcast of that event, throwing some playful banter around with the eventual champion Daniel Negreanu.
Unfortunately Burns wasn’t as chirpy at this final table as he would be eliminated in 10th place and live to tell a story of the bad-beat variety. He got all his chips in holding pocket kings on the turn of queen-high board. He was up against Daniel Murphy’s ace-queen and looking good to double up. However, a queen on the river would usher in the official final table.
With Burns out of the way, the nine remaining players had each added their first WSOP final table result to their resumes. Some would beef up that resume even more and add plenty of cash to their lifetime earnings, but none more than the eventual champion Luke Brabin who can now call himself one of just a few Australian bracelet winners.
Here are the final table results from the $1,100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Accumulator:
1st: Luke Brabin- $131,365
2nd: Didier Guerin - $81,220
3rd: Daniel Murphy - $59,334
4th: Steve Lindeblad - $43,986
5th: Ryan Hong - $33,080
6th: Zane Ly - $25,234
7th: Brian McAllister - $19,521
8th: Piyush Gupta - $15,318
9th: David Profaca - $12,189