Tuesday, October 18, 2016 6:56 PM Local Time
Local office manager snags second gold ring on the anniversary of his first
Hammond, Indiana (October 18, 2016) — Navin Kamal is the champion of Event #3 at Horseshoe Hammond, defeating a field of 126 entries to win the $580 Pot-Limit Omaha event. The victory is Kamal’s second on the Circuit, this one coming five years to the day from his first win in the same building. This one earned him the top prize of $17,639 and 50 points in the race for Casino Champion at this venue.
Kamal is a 43-year-old office manager and former math teacher from Naperville, Illinois. He picked up poker casually at first, as he tells: “Like a lot of people, I started watching on TV. Some of the east-coast tournaments they used to broadcast late at night.” That sparked an interest to try it for himself, and he started dabbling in some of the daily turbo events at his local casinos when he had spare time. “I started winning a few of those, and… well… there you go,” he said.
The breakthrough performance five years ago was his first tournament cash on record, and it culminated in a Circuit win for more than $42,000. That victory was in hold’em, the game Kamal considers his primary discipline. “I don’t… play PLO… a lot,” he said after this anniversary victory, which came in the four-card game. “I’m pretty shocked. Just surprised.”
Part of Kamal’s shock has to do with his plight on Day 1. He began the tournament with the standard 12,000-chip starting stack, and at the end of the long day, he bagged up exactly that same amount — 12,000 chips. That put him in last place on the leaderboard with 18 players in front of him. Day 2 was almost an inconvenience for him. “I thought if I had to play three hands and then drive back to Naperville, that was going to suck,” he said of the 90-minute drive. “This is PLO, though. You don’t need a lot to grow [your stack].”
Kamal found double-suited aces and tripled up very early on Day 2, and from there, it was a relatively steady run to the final table. He began ten-handed play in the middle of the pack, and he soon found himself heads up and severely out-chipped against Oleg Sobol.
Fortunately for Kamal, he had plenty of experience playing the short stack. At one point in the heads-up duel, he was at risk for just 70,000 of the 1,500,000 chips in play, doubling up to stay in contention. He doubled again after that, then again and again, and he eventually turned the tides completely to put Sobol on the ropes with just 90,000 chips. The battle lasted more than three hours before either player could put the other away, and it was Kamal who ended up dealing the final blow to earn the title.
It was an impressive performance for the self-admitted Omaha amateur, and he was slightly critical of his own play in the moments following his win. “I folded three or four clear-cut winners that most PLO players would probably play,” he said. “I was just so short on chips. All’s well that ends well, though. Right?”
Monday, October 17, 2016 9:57 PM Local Time
Navin Kamal (pictured above) is the winner of Event #3, outlasting Oleg Sobol in a marathon, back-and-forth heads-up match that saw both players desperately short on chips at least once apiece.
In the final hand, it's Sobol who's short, and he gets the last of his chips into the middle preflop with . Kamal puts him at risk with , and the board runs out in his favor. It comes , giving Kamal the flush and all of his opponent's chips. This ring is the second of his career, and the payout of $17,639 is one of his largest on record. A more in-depth recap of Kamal's victory will be published shortly.
Sobol (below) collects $10,903 for his runner-up finish.
Monday, October 17, 2016 9:14 PM Local Time
With the elimination of Core Diniz (pictured) in third place, Navin Kamal and Oleg Sobol are heads-up for the ring in Event #3. Kamal won a ring in this building in 2011, while Sobol is seeking what would be the first of his tournament career. The latter begins the match with about a 4:1 chip lead.
Oleg Sobol - 1,200,000 (75 bb)
Navin Kamal - 315,000 (20 bb)
Blinds are 8,000/16,000 in the current level, putting about 95 total big blinds in play.
Monday, October 17, 2016 5:32 PM Local Time
The field has been reduced to 10 players, and they're now gathered around the final table. Here's the remaining lineup:
Seat 1: Mohan Devarapalli - 165,000
Seat 2: Mark Morris - 56,000
Seat 3: Core Diniz - 85,000
Seat 4: Navin Kamal - 120,000
Seat 5: Peter Kelly - 93,000
Seat 6: Ben Ponzio - 265,000
Seat 7: Nemesio Alegado - 95,000
Seat 8: Robert Hankins - 160,000
Seat 9: Oleg Sobol - 333,000
Seat 10: John Schray - 121,000
Everyone left is guaranteed to earn at least $1,292 this evening. Blinds are 3,000/6,000 in the current level, putting the average stack at about 25 big blinds.
Monday, October 17, 2016 3:57 PM Local Time
Four players have been eliminated today, and the 15 who remain are in the money. Everyone left is now guaranteed to earn at least $1,063. Blinds are 2,000/4,000 in the current level, putting the average stack at about 25 big blinds.
Monday, October 17, 2016 3:02 PM Local Time
The final 19 players are back in their seats, and Day 2 is under way. The first order of business is to burst the money bubble, as only 15 of the remaining players will earn shares of the $63,000 prizepool.
Play will continue this evening until a winner is determined.
Monday, October 17, 2016 12:39 AM Local Time
Monday, October 17, 2016 12:38 AM Local Time
Level 13 is complete, and Day 1 concludes with 19 of the original 126 still in contention.
Oleg Sobol bagged up the big stack of 219,000, but it's Robert Hankins who'll be the man to beat tomorrow. Hankins ended the day with 187,000 chips -- good enough for second place overall as he chases his seventh-career ring and his third in the last ten days.
A full list of survivors and their chip counts can be found in the "Reports" tab above.
The final 19 will return tomorrow, with only 15 of them slated to finish in the money. Day 2 begins at 3:00 PM and will continue until a winner is determined.
Sunday, October 16, 2016 11:53 PM Local Time
"Skinny sure does run good." Those were the words of one of the players at the final three tables, referring to tablemate Robert Hankins (pictured) by his nickname as the latter stacked a pot.
Hankins is fresh off an amazing run at Horseshoe Southern Indiana Main Event, where he collected his fifth and sixth career gold rings three days apart. "Skinny" capped off the series by winning the Main Event for more than $140,000, and he's trying to keep the run-good going in Hammond. The six-time champ is among the final 24 players in Event #3, and ring number seven is starting to become a real possibility as the day wears on.
Play continues tonight until the end of Level 13, which is about 40 minutes from now.
Sunday, October 16, 2016 10:00 PM Local Time
This $580 pot-limit Omaha event officially drew a field of 126 entries, generating a prizepool worth $63,000. That money will be shared by the final 15 players, with the bottom payout worth $1,063. The eventual winner will collect $17,639 and the series' third gold ring.
A full breakdown of the payouts can be found in the "Prizepool" tab above.
Sunday, October 16, 2016 8:47 PM Local Time
Level 8 is just about to begin, and this represents the last chance to join (or rejoin) the field for Event #3. There is a break following this level, after which registration will close. There are about 120 entries in the field so far, creating a nice increase over last year's turnout.
The prizepool and payouts will be published shortly after the close of registration.
Sunday, October 16, 2016 3:40 PM Local Time
Today's evening event is the first non-hold'em event on the series' schedule at Horseshoe Hammond. This $580 Pot-Limit Omaha event features 12,000-chip starting stacks with a single re-entry available, if needed.
Last season, Kennii Nguyen had his breakout victory in this event, besting a field of 106 entries to claim his first gold ring. Nguyen is an accomplished hold'em player who splits his time between the local area and Las Vegas, and the surprise PLO win was good for close to $16,000 in cash, in addition to the hardware. He was eliminated earlier today in the Event #1 restart, so it seems likely he'll return today in defense of his title.
Here are the vitals for today's event:
- Players begin with 12,000 chips
- Levels 1-12 are 30 minutes apiece
- Levels 13-21 are 40 minutes apiece
- Late registration and single re-entry are available until the start of Level 9 (~9:30 PM)
- Day 1 concludes at the end of Level 13
- View the structure sheet
Cards go in the air at 5:00 PM.