Wednesday, June 28, 2023 9:22 PM Local Time
Ka Kwan Lau Finds Redemption in Event #57: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller ($2,294,756)
The second winner of a Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller Event of the 2023 World Series of Poker has been crowned at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas. Out of a staggering field of 449 entries in Event #57: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller, PLO specialist Ka Kwan Lau defeated Sergio Martinez Gonzalez heads up as both Spanish-speaking four-card aficionados earned the biggest slice of the $10,551,500 prize pool.
It was the biggest prize pool for a Pot-Limit Omaha live poker event in the history of the WSOP and Lau sealed the victory two years after he came up one spot shy of earning his maiden WSOP gold bracelet in the very same tournament. Known under his online moniker of "kaju85", he is one of the most-feared players in PLO tournaments on the live and online poker circuit. He was born in Spain and has a Hong Kong passport as well, but quickly became an integral part of the close-knit Spanish poker community ever since entering the live poker scene back in 2010.
Lau resides in Andorra and that's where he will be heading a few days from now because the birth of his second daughter is imminent. The four-card specialist will even skip the upcoming $50,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller, as well as the remainder of the 2023 WSOP, to be home with his family. His return to Europe will be sweetened with the top prize of $2,294,756 and his first bracelet, while Martinez Gonzalez receives a consolation prize of $1,418,270.
Andjelko Andrejevic came into the final day as the shortest stack but laddered to third place ahead of Roger Teska and Mads Amot. All five of the finalists were competing for their maiden WSOP victory in the Horseshoe Event Center and Lau has further cemented his status as one of the best among the four-card aficionados.
Final Table Result Event #57: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller
|Place||Player||Country||Prize (in USD)|
|1||Ka Kwan Lau||Hong Kong||$2,294,756|
|2||Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||Spain||$1,418,270|
|4||Roger Teska||United States||$701,522|
|7||Firas Kashat||United States||$276,141|
|8||Jeremy Ausmus||United States||$209,392|
"I feel great. It feels like I have been missing something and now it is complete ... I am very happy with that. I came here two years ago to win the bracelet. I can't really say yet how happy I am not," an overwhelmed Lau said after the frenetic celebrations with his Spanish rail were done and the winner shots had been taken care of.
Lau is arguably one of the most accomplished PLO tournament players and his strategy for success seems rather simple.
"My secret is to grind a lot. I love poker and push hard," he said with a big grin on his face.
He also competes in No-Limit Hold'em tournaments once in a while as well and has had a deep run in the 2016 WSOP Main Event where he collected $269,430 for his 20th-place finish. However, the four-card variant has very much been his bread and butter for more than a decade now.
"My game in No-Limit is very poor. I just play a couple of tournaments. When I have no games or nothing better to do, I play probably one tournament of No-Limit Hold'em," the Spaniard admitted.
With two times as many cards, he is a force to be reckoned and the number of entries in each of the PLO events has been growing by a lot during the 2023 WSOP, very much to the delight of the Spaniard.
"PLO is getting more and more popular. The number [in this event] speaks for itself. I didn't come the last year, but people told me that it is almost double the field and that is a lot. Also in the 10k, the field was up a lot. I think the game is getting more popular."
Another high-stakes event in his preferred four-card variant is just around the corner with Event #71: $50,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller, which gets underway on June 30, 2023, but other PLO specialists may be relieved that Lau won't be among the participants.
"I will miss the tournament. I am waiting for my second daughter and she is going to come in a week or ten days. I think it is a great moment to come back home and be with my wife and my daughter. It is okay for this year, I will just relax and see how my daughter grows, but next year it is very probable that I will come here again with them."
Action of the Final Day
The final day recommenced with five players remaining and Lau in the driver's seat, while fellow Spanish-speaking Martinez Gonzalez was in distinct second place. Lau suffered a minor setback when Andrejevic extracted value with a full house, but he more than made up for it soon after.
In a large clash with the third-biggest stack Amot, Lau flopped an open-ended straight and flush draw against the middle set of the Norwegian. The turn was a blank, but the river brought another spade without pairing the board to vault Lau into a commanding lead.
Next to go was one of the two short stacks when Teska put his hopes on the top two pair and a gutshot. However, he was drawing very thin against the flopped wheel of Martinez Gonzalez and bricked the river to reduce the field to the final three after fewer than 90 minutes of play.
Andrejevic kept his short stack afloat with a double against Martinez Gonzalez but still had a mountain to climb for a shot at the title. The big lead of Lau was then decimated to just a handful of big blinds when Martinez Gonzalez earned value from a superior full house, which had the potential to shift the momentum.
The Serbian stuck around for a while but never pulled away from the bottom of the leaderboard by some margin. He eventually made a stand with double-suited queens against the pocket aces of Martinez Gonzalez in a preflop contest. Both players flopped a set and Andrejevic didn't catch the miracle one-outer to bow out in third place for nearly $1 million in prize money.
Heads-up play between Lau and Martinez Gonzalez started with an incredible average of 84 big blinds, as the final two contenders were separated by just two big blinds with a pay jump of more than $800k and the WSOP gold bracelet on the line. It would only take fewer than two hours to determine a winner, however, and it was Lau who came out on top.
Martinez Gonzalez started pulling away in the first half of the heads-up duel and was just one card away from victory. His nut flush draw, however, missed and Lau doubled into a narrow lead with the nut straight. It was a pivotal turning point as Lau regained his composure after having been frustrated previously and he raked in several big pots in quick succession to jump into a commanding lead.
Ultimately, they got it in preflop with naked aces for Martinez Gonzalez against a double-suited broadway rundown of Lau and the latter rivered a straight to finish the job he missed out on two years ago in Las Vegas.
That concludes the PokerNews live reporting from this event, but several other tournaments are currently taking place in which a WSOP gold bracelet is up for grabs.
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 9:06 PM Local Time
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez Eliminated in 2nd Place ($1,418,270)
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez raised the pot to 1,500,000 and Ka Kwan Lau potted to 4,500,000. What followed was the four-bet pot by Martinez Gonzalez with a stack of 15,000,000 and Lau looked him up to create a pot of 29,500,000.
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez:
Ka Kwan Lau:
The flop gave Lau a pair and gutshot while the turn took away some outs. Lau needed a ten or jack to seal the victory and the river secured the victory, as Lau immediately jumped to his rail from Spain to celebrate.
Martinez Gonzalez had to settle for a consolation prize of $1,418,270 while Lau finished one spot higher than in 2021, taking home the coveted WSOP gold bracelet and a top prize of $2,294,756.
|Ka Kwan Lau||67,350,000||13,000,000 |
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||0||-13,000,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 9:03 PM Local Time
Lau Applies Pressure
Ka Kwan Lau opened to 1,500,000 with and Sergio Martinez Gonzalez called with to see a flop of .
Action checked through to the turn and Martinez Gonzalez checked to Lau who bet 1,200,000 with his big two-pair and Martinez Gonzalez made the fold to award him the pot.
|Ka Kwan Lau||54,350,000||100,000 |
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||13,000,000||-100,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 8:59 PM Local Time
Lau Gets Value With the Nuts
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez made it 1,500,000 to go from the button with the and earned a call from Ka Kwan Lau with the . Lau checked the nut flush draw on the and subsequently called a bet worth 2,000,000 to then hit the on the turn.
Both players checked it to the river and Lau bet 6,000,000 to receive a quick call by Martinez Gonzalez as he leaped into an even bigger lead.
|Ka Kwan Lau||54,250,000||10,500,000 |
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||13,100,000||-10,500,000 |0
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 8:51 PM Local Time
Lau Back in the Driver Seat
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez raised the pot to 1,500,000 with the and Ka Kwan Lau defended the out of the big blind, which led them to the flop. Both checked to the turn on which Lau bet 2,500,000 and Martinez Gonzalez called.
That led them to the river and Lau fired another bet worth 4,500,000 into a pot of 8,500,000. Martinez Gonzalez reluctantly called and lost another big chunk of his stack to fall further behind.
|Ka Kwan Lau||43,750,000||14,000,000 |
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||23,600,000||-14,000,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 8:49 PM Local Time
Lau Swings Back
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez opened to 1,500,000 with and Ka Kwan Lau made the call with .
The flop came out to give Lau the nut straight and Martinez Gonzalez a set of fours. Both players decided to check through to see the on the turn and Lau led out for a pot bet of 3,500,000 and Martinez Gonzalez made the call to see the on the river.
Lau then checked and Martinez Gonzalez checked back and Lau was awarded the large pot to swing him back into the lead.
|Ka Kwan Lau||36,750,000||7,000,000 |
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||30,600,000||-7,000,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 8:47 PM Local Time
Level 31 started
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 8:42 PM Local Time
Martinez Gonzalez Retakes the Lead
Both players limped in to see a flop of and checked through to the turn . Ka Kwan Lau then bet 1,000,000 with and Sergio Martinez Gonzalez appeared to not like it but made the call anyways with his .
The turn came the on the river to give Lao a straight but also gave Martinez Gonzalez a bigger straight. Lau checked over to Martinez Gonzalez who bet the pot of 3,200,000 and Lau made the call. Martinez Gonzalez then tabled the superior hand to win him the large pot to swing him back into the lead.
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||37,600,000||5,000,000 |
|Ka Kwan Lau||29,750,000||-5,000,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 8:28 PM Local Time
Lau Takes it Down
Ka Kwan Lau opened to 1,200,000 with and Sergio Martinez Gonzalez made the call with .
The flop came out and Martinez Gonzalez checked to Lau who continued for 1,800,000 with his inferior pair of eights and received a quick fold from Martinez Gonzalez to win him the pot.
|Ka Kwan Lau||34,750,000||800,000 |
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||32,600,000||-800,000 |0
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 8:12 PM Local Time
Lau Doubles Back Into Narrow Lead
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez raised to 1,200,000 on the button for Ka Kwan Lau to defend the big blind.
On a flop of , Lau checked and then called a bet worth 1,000,000 by his opponent which brought them to the turn.
Lau checked and Martinez Gonzalez bet 2,400,000, prompting a pot-sized raise to 12,000,000 by Lau. Martinez Gonzalez vaulted out of his chair to eyeball the stack of his opponent and moved all-in for Lau to call.
Ka Kwan Lau:
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez:
Lau was ahead with the nut straight and Martinez Gonzalez needed a heart to win the bracelet right there. However, the river only gave him an inferior straight and Lau doubled back into a lead of fewer than two big blinds.
|Ka Kwan Lau||33,950,000||20,275,000 |
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||33,400,000||-17,575,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 8:06 PM Local Time
Martinez Gonzalez Wins Another Showdown Pot
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez raised the pot with the and was called by Ka Kwan Lau in the big blind with the . That led them to the flop on which both players checked.
On the turn, Lau bet the pot for 2,800,000 with his naked gutshot and inferior pair. Martinez Gonzalez called and they checked the river as they checked it down. Lau showed visible frustration when he was shown the bad news.
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||50,975,000||-2,200,000 |
|Ka Kwan Lau||13,675,000||-500,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 8:00 PM Local Time
Lau Can't Catch a Break
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez opened to 1,200,000 with and Ka Kwan Lau made the call with .
The duo checked through the flop of and went straight to the turn, which saw a bet of 1,800,000 from Lau with his pair of aces and Martinez Gonzalez made the call with his two-pair of aces and sevens.
The river came the to pair the board and Lao fired again for 1,800,000 and Martinez Gonzalez thought about it for a second before he made the call with the superior hand.
"Ace-king," Lao announced as he showed his hand but was then shown the bad news by Martinez Gonzalez to win him the pot, widening the gap between the two.
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||53,175,000||4,600,000 |
|Ka Kwan Lau||14,175,000||-4,600,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 7:56 PM Local Time
Martinez Gonzalez Smacks River
Both players limped in to see a flop of which was also checked through to the turn.
Ka Kwan Lau bet 800,000 with for two pair and Sergio Martinez Gonzalez made the call with with his one pair, gutter, and flush draw.
The river came the to give Martinez Gonzalez a flush and Lau checked it over to him. Martinez Gonzalez then bet 900,000 and Lau went into the tank.
After some time, Lau decided to make the proper laydown and Martinez Gonzalez was pushed the pot to strengthen his chip lead.
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||48,575,000||800,000 |
|Ka Kwan Lau||18,775,000||-800,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 7:47 PM Local Time
Martinez Gonzalez Gets River Value With a Flush
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez raised the pot to 1,200,000 with the and Ka Kwan Lau defended the . With both hitting the flop, both players checked and elected to do so again on the turn.
Martinez Gonzalez bet the pot on the river with his flush and Lau called with the set to lose another chunk of his stack.
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||47,775,000||10,800,000 |
|Ka Kwan Lau||19,575,000||-10,800,000 |0
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 7:42 PM Local Time
Lau Check-Raises Turn
Both players limped to see a flop of which also checked through to the turn . Ka Kwan Lau checked once more with his monster for a flopped set with nut flush draw while Sergio Martinez Gonzalez bet the minimum of 400,000 holding .
Lau then check-raised to 1,800,000 and Martinez Gonzalez hastily folded his hand to award Lau the pot.
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||36,975,000||200,000 |
|Ka Kwan Lau||30,375,000||-200,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 7:32 PM Local Time
Heads-Up Play Underway
Ka Kwan Lau limped in with the and called a pot-sized raise to 1,200,000 by Sergio Martinez Gonzalez, who had the . The flop gave Martinez Gonzalez two pair and his bet ended the hand right there.
Martinez Gonzalez then limped the and Lau checked back the . They checked the flop to the turn and Martinez Gonzalez bet 400,000 to earn a call. Both checked the river and Martinez Gonzalez won the next pot.
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||36,775,000||2,775,000 |
|Ka Kwan Lau||30,575,000||-2,775,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 7:28 PM Local Time
Level 30 started
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 7:16 PM Local Time
Andjelko Andrejevic Eliminated in 3rd Place ($989,464)
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez raised to 750,000 on the button and Andjelko Andrejevic potted to 2,400,000 out of the big blind. The initial raiser four-bet the pot and Andrejevic called all-in for 6,500,000.
Sergio Martinez Gonzalez:
Both players walked back to their rails and an ace in the window of the flop let the Spaniards cheer. Andrejevic needed the case queen or running hearts but the turn and river ended his run in third place for a payday of $989,464.
There will now be a short break prior to the heads-up duel for the coveted WSOP gold bracelet.
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||34,000,000||8,675,000 |
|Ka Kwan Lau||33,350,000||375,000 |
|Andjelko Andrejevic||0||-11,200,000 |
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 7:07 PM Local Time
Lau Edges Further into the Lead
Martinez just limped in with and Ka Kwan Lau checked his option with and the duo went to ao flop of .
Martinez checked and Lau checked back to see the on the turn, which saw another check from Martinez and a bet of 700,000 from Lau with his straight draw.
Martinez Gonzalez made the call with his two-pair and they went to a river which gave Lau the nut straight to take the lead.
Martinez Gonzalez checked once more and Lau fired out 1,800,000 and Martinez went into the tank.
After using one of his time banks, he decided to make the call but was then shown the bad news by Lau who was pushed the large pot to solidify his chip lead.
|Ka Kwan Lau||32,975,000||4,650,000 |
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||25,325,000||-2,500,000 |0
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 6:53 PM Local Time
Martinez Gonzalez Nearly Closes the Gap to Lau
Ka Kwan Lau raised to 775,000 with the and Sergio Martinez Gonzalez called out of the big blindwith the . The flop was checked and the turn gave Lau two pair. Martinez Gonzalez checked and Lau bet 1,200,000 to force a fold.
Martinez Gonzalez then limped the for Lau to check the . Both checked the flop and the fell on the turn. Martinez Gonzalez bet 450,000 for half the pot and Lau called.
Following the river, Martinez Gonzalez bet 1,125,000 to receive a call from Lau to almost close the gap.
|Ka Kwan Lau||28,325,000||-950,000 |
|Sergio Martinez Gonzalez||27,825,000||1,100,000 |
|Andjelko Andrejevic||11,200,000||-150,000 |