Sunday, July 10, 2016 2:57 AM Local Time
Kyle Bowker is the newest member of poker’s gold bracelet club.
For the 33-year-old poker pro, it was a long wait to get to this well-deserved moment of triumph.
The highly-respected poker veteran from Walton, NY won the $3,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split tournament, which was played over three days and nights and concluded on the ESPN main stage at the Rio in Las Vegas. The final day was played in front of a big crowd and a festive atmosphere on the same day the 2016 Main Event Championship started inside the same venue.
“I had a really great rail,” Bowker said, referring to his many friends who showed up wearing specially-made t-shirts for the occasion. “They had fun, that’s for sure. And so did I.”
However, the Main Event didn’t overshadow what was happening on the big bright stage, where Bowker posed behind a mountain of chips and finally collected a much-anticipated gold bracelet after ten years of grinding cash games and tournaments, and coming close to victory many times before.
Bowker collected $294,960 in prize money, making this, if not the biggest win of his career in terms of the amount of cash won, certainly the most prestigious of all victories. This was his 35th time to cash at the series, dating all the way back to 2006. The win also puts him at close to $1.4 million in WSOP-related earnings. Bowker previously won a WSOP Circuit gold ring at Harrah’s Philadelphia. So, now he has two pieces of jewelry, courtesy of the WSOP.
Bowker won his victory by coming out on top at a final table which included a formidable lineup of foes, including a mix of relative unknowns as well as seasoned pros. Scott Clements was perhaps the best known among the nine finalists, since he’d previously won two gold bracelets and was widely-acknowledged for his prowess in Omaha games. However, Clements wasn’t much of a force in the finale and ended up busting out in eighth place.
“When Scott busted early, I thought then I was in a pretty good spot,” Bowker said.
After Jarred Graham exited in third place, the closing moment came when Bowker scooped the final pot of the tournament, against Kate Hoang who finished as the runner up. Her consolation prize amounted to $182,281. She barely missed becoming the third female to win an open event at this year’s series.
Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split was (and remains) primarily an online game, which isn’t played live much, except in rare instances such as at the WSOP. Still, Bowker came in loaded with experience and confidence.
“This is a game not too many people play,” Bowker said. “But I play it all the time online. I’d rather be playing a final table in this game than any other.”
This tourney attracted 473 entrants which created a prize pool totaling $1,291,290. The top 71 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: Kate Hoang, from Federal Way, WA finished at the runner up. She had the chip lead during part of the final table, but lost some big pots to Bowker and ended up in the second spot. Nonetheless, Hoang received $182,281. This was her third time to cash in a WSOP event.
Third Place: Jarred Graham, who works in property management and is from Adelaide, Australia finished in third place. He collected $124,360. This was his fourth time to cash at the series. He now has close to $500K in WSOP winnings.
Fourth Place: Richard Ashby, from Watford, UK came in fourth. He received $86,422. Ashby a gold bracelet winner (2010 -- $1,500 Seven Card Stud) now has 27 cashes at the series – including ten final tables. Seven of those appearances resulted in top-five finishes.
Fifth Place: Chris Ruby, from San Diego, CA came in fifth, which paid $61,196. This was his seventh time to cash and deepest run in a series event.
Sixth Place: Noah Bronstein, a 29-year-old poker pro from Bellevue, WA took sixth place. He earned $44,171. This was his 36th time to cash in a WSOP event, dating back to 2009.
Seventh Place: Daniel Lowe, the Vice President of a security company from Conyers, GA earned $32,510 for his seventh-place finish.
Eighth Place: Scott Clements, from Mt. Vernon, WA was seeking his third WSOP gold bracelet, after two wins – in 2006 and 2007. He received $24,409. Clements now has 51 cashes at the series and more than $2.8 in career earnings.
Ninth Place: Paul Taylor, from Charlotte, NC rounded out the final table as the ninth-place finisher. He received $18,702 in his fourth occasion to cash at the series.
Sunday, July 10, 2016 12:44 AM Local Time
Kyle Bowker calls on the button. Kate Hoang raises it 200,000 on top. Bowker calls.
The flop comes . Hoang checks. Bowker bets the pot for 560,000. Hoang repots and they get it all-in. Hoang has almost 3,200,000 and Bowker has her covered with around 3,900,000.
Bowker has for a big straight draw and Hoang has aces .
The turn is the , giving Bowker trips.
The river is the .and Bowker is our champion.
Kyle Bowker wins Event #64: $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Split 8 or Better and takes home $294,960.
Kate Hoang takes second place for $182,281
Sunday, July 10, 2016 12:37 AM Local Time
After winning a couple of small pots that don't see the river, Kate Hoang calls from the button and Kyle Bowker checks.
The flop comes and both players check.
The turn is the . Bowker bets 150,000. Hoang raises to 350,000. Bowker calls.
The river is the . Both players check and Hoang shows for the straight. Bowker shows [x] and Kate Hoang takes it down.
Kyle Bowker - 4,200,000 (52 bb)
Kate Hoang - 2,900,000 (36 bb)
Sunday, July 10, 2016 12:29 AM Local Time
Kyle Bowker opens to 190,000 and Kate Hoang bets the pot, making it 570,000. Bowker calls.
The flop comes and Hoang bets the pot. Bowker raises all in and Hoang calls.
Hoang holds for a pair of fives and the nut flush draw. Bowker has for the nut low draw.
The turn is the and the river is the , giving Hoang the high and Bowker the low for a chop.
Kyle Bowker - 4,900,000 (81 bb)
Kate Hoang - 2,200,000 (27 bb)
Sunday, July 10, 2016 12:21 AM Local Time
Kate Hoang calls on her button. Kyle Bowker raises 150,000 on top. Hoang calls.
The flop comes . Both players check.
The turn is the . Bowker bets 300,000 and Hoang pots it to 1,360,000. Bowker calls.
The river is the . Bowker pushes all in for Hoang's last 400,000 or so. Hoang calls.
Bowker has , which gives him a king-high flush and the nut low, but Hoang holds for the boat and the high.
Kyle Bowker - 5,300,000 (66 bb)
Kate Hoang - 1,795,000 (22 bb)
Sunday, July 10, 2016 12:10 AM Local Time
On just the third hand of heads-up play, Kate Hoang limps in the small blind and Kyle Bowker makes it 230,000 to go. Hoang calls.
The flop is and Bowker bets 250,000. Hoang calls.
The turn is the and Bowker bets 600,000. Hoang calls.
The river is the and Bowker checks quickly. Hoang waits a moment, then checks her cards. She bets 700,000 and Bowker calls. Hoang instantly mucks.
Kyle Bowker - 5,400,000 (60 bb)
Kate Hoang - 1,600,000 (20 bb)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:54 PM Local Time
Kyle Bowker walks away from the table to take the 15-minute break and Kate Hoang opens to 180,000. Jarred Graham defends the big blind.
The flop is and Hoang checks. Graham bets 200,000 and Hoang calls after about 25 seconds.
The turn is the and Hoang bets the pot and Graham calls all-in. He shows a set of kings with and Hoang has .
"Queen," says Hoang as the river is dealt.
The hits the river and Hoang makes the straight. Graham is eliminated in third place.
Kate Hoang - 3,290,000 (55 bb)
Jarred Graham - Eliminated in 3rd place ($124,360)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:43 PM Local Time
Jarred Graham raises to 120,000 from the button. Kyle Bowker folds the small blind and Kate Hoang raises enough to push Graham all-in for 600,000 if he calls. Graham calls.
Hoang has and Graham has .
The board comes on the flop. and Hoang is ahead with a pair of tens.
But the turn is the , giving Graham a straight.
The river is the and they chop the low, while Graham takes the high half of the pot.
Jarred Graham - 930,000 (15 bb)
Kate Hoang - 2,300,000 (38 bb)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:35 PM Local Time
Jarred Graham limps the small blind and Kyle Bowker checks his option.
The flop is and Graham bets 80,000. Bowker calls.
The turn is the and Graham checks. Bowker bets 225,000 and Graham calls.
The river is the and Graham checks again. Bowker bets 400,000. Graham takes his time, but eventually calls.
"A set of fives," says Bowker.
He shows for a set and Graham mucks his hand.
Kyle Bowker - 3,000,000 (50 bb)
Jarred Graham - 640,000 (10 bb)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:30 PM Local Time
Richard Ashby makes it 210,000 on his button. Jarred Graham calls in the small blind and it's heads up to a flop of .
Graham checks and Ashby checks behind.
The turn is the . Ashby moves all in and Graham calls. Ashby holds to Graham's .
The river is the . Graham's deuces are good. He says he only called because he has the club draw, but the little pair holds up to trim the final table to three.
Jarred Graham - 1,500,000 (25 bb)
Richard Ashby - Eliminated in 4th place ($86,422)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:25 PM Local Time
Chris Ruby opens to 160,000 under the gun. Action folds to Kate Hoang in the big blind, and she reraises enough to put Ruby all-in for his last 280,000 if he calls. Ruby chooses to do just that and he's at risk with . Hoang holds .
The flop comes and brings two pair for Hoang.
The turn is the , which is no help for Ruby.
The river is the and Ruby is out.
Kate Hoang - 2,800,000 (46 bb)
Chris Ruby - Eliminated in 5th place ($61,196)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:18 PM Local Time
Noah Bronstein opens to 210,000 and Kate Hoang reraises the pot. Bronstein calls all-in and shows .
Hoang shows and the board runs out , giving Bronstein a flush draw on the turn, but ultimately pairing the board and giving Hoang the pot with two pair.
Kate Hoang - 2,650,000 (44 bb)
Noah Bronstein - Eliminated in 6th place ($44,171)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:15 PM Local Time
Kate Hoang bets the pot from the small blind and Chris Ruby calls all-in from the big blind.
Ruby has against Hoang's .
The board runs out and Hoang and Ruby split the low, while Ruby makes a six-high straight for the high.
Chris Ruby - 445,000 (7 bb)
Kate Hoang - 1,720,000 (28 bb)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:08 PM Local Time
Kyle Bowker makes it 180,000 from the small blind. Daniel Lowe calls from the big blind.
The flop comes and Bowker moves all in. Lowe calls all-in for about 200,000 more.
Bowker has while Lowe holds .
The turn is the and a chop seems inevitable.
But the river is the , giving Bowker a Broadway straight and an 8-7 low to scoop the pot.
"Brutal" sighs Lowe before he walks away from the table and wishes the other his best. Kyle Bowker is the new chip leader.
Kyle Bowker - 2,750,000 (45 bb)
Daniel Lowe - Eliminated in 7th place ($32,510)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:00 PM Local Time
Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:00 PM Local Time
Chris Ruby moves all in for his last 140,000 on the button. Jarred Graham calls him from the big blind.
Ruby has and Graham has .
The board runs out and Ruby makes the jack-high straight and doubles up.
Chris Ruby - 305,000 (6 bb)
Jarret Graham - 1,600,000 (32 bb)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:00 PM Local Time
Richard Ashby makes it 100,000 from the hijack and Kyle Bowker calls from the button.
The flop comes and both players check.
The turn is the . Ashby checks. Bowker bets 150,000. Ashby calls.
The river is the . Ashby checks. Bowker bets 450,000 and takes it.
Shortly after these two get in a hand again, Ashby limps middle position. Bowker makes it 225,000 in the cutoff. Ashby goes all-in for around 900,000. Bowker calls.
Ashby has and Bowker has .
The board runs out and Bowker takes three-quarters as both players hold aces, but Bowker has the ace-three for the low.
Kyle Bowker - 2,200,000 (44 bb)
Richard Ashby - 470,000 (9 bb)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 10:52 PM Local Time
Kate Hoang storms back after losing a pot to Richard Ashby.
Kate Hoang opens to 150,000 and Richard Ashby calls in the big blind.
The flop comes all hearts, and the players check to the turn, which is the , and check again on the river.
Ashby shows one pair and Hoang shows for two pair and wins the pot.
Noah Bronstein opens to 120,000 and Hoang bets the pot, making it 450,000. Bronstein folds.
Hoang opens to 150,000 and Kyle Bowker defends the big blind.
The flop comes and Bowker checks. Hoang bets the pot and Bowker folds.
"Is that three in a row?" asks Bowker. "Can someone else win now?"
Kate Hoang - 1,630,000 (32 bb)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 10:34 PM Local Time
Richard Ashby raises to 175,000 under the gun. Kate Hoang pots it to 590,000 out of the small blind. Ashby moves all in for 720,000 total. Hoang calls.
Ashby's at risk with vs. Hoang's .
The flop comes and Ashby flops kings full.
The turn is the , which scares him just a bit.
The river is the and he pumps his fist and doubles up.
Richard Ashby - 1,490,000 (29 bb)
Kate Hoang - 900,000 (18 bb)
Saturday, July 9, 2016 10:31 PM Local Time
It's folded to the blinds. Noah Bronstein makes it 150,000 in the small. Kate Hoang calls from the big.
The players check down the board.
Bronstein shows and Hoang takes it with with queens and the live three for the low.
Kate Hoang - 1,700,000 (34 bb)
Noah Bronstein - 600,000 (12 bb)