Three players were looking for their second World Series of Poker bracelet while seven others were trying to break the ice and conquer the Las Vegas gold. At the end of the day, the majority prevailed.
But we all know that poker is not a team game and only one player had a real opportunity to be named WSOP champion in Event #20, a $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout. Memphis-based professional Kory Kilpatrick was the lucky one standing tall and alone at the final table with one gold bracelet, two cards, and all the tournament chips in play.
Kilpatrick had to wait two days and almost 12 hours of final table play to reach that moment. And what a moment, managing to survive a very tough final table consisting of online poker legend Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond, self-taught bracelet winner Taylor Paur, and WSOP million-dollar member Chris Bell. All three know what winning a gold bracelet feels like and all three wanted to relive that elusive moment specially reserved for the champion.
“There were really no bad players here, everyone played solid,” Kilpatrick said, describing the final table for WSOP.com. That included the six others who are still searching for gold.
Narendra Banwari was among them and was the first to go in tenth place after no more than three hours. His seventh WSOP cash brought him $16,609. Dylan Linde followed him in ninth for $21,409 after another three and half hours; this was Linde’s third 2014 summer cash in Vegas.
Martin Stonehill was next, raising all-in with #as#jd and losing a race against #2s#2h. He cashed in $27,812 for his eighth place finish.
The next three eliminations brought an end to the repeat dreams. Paur had to admit defeat when his #8d#8h ran into #jc#js. He left the final table $36,414 richer. Thirteen hands later, Galfond ($48,043) joined him to the rail after making a decisive move with his short stack and going all-in with #as#4s. Unfortunately for him, he was called by Jack Duong’s #ac#jc. Bell ($63,877) felt the same agony after his #ad#qc ran into #as#kc.
That left four bracelet rookies in the hunt for gold. Duong must have felt closer to the goal after raising all-in on the river with a turned straight. Unfortunately for him, Kilpatrick had an even better hand – a rivered full-house. For his fourth place performance, Duong scored the first WSOP cash of his career worth $85,616.
Noah Bronstein was the next player eliminated in third place by the hands of the future winner. His $115,659 cash received is the largest of his WSOP career.
The heads-up play between Kilpatrick and Eric Wasserson was a short-time affair lasting only 19 hands. The Memphis-based player started with a 2-to-1 chip lead and extended it even further before calling his opponent’s #jd#10d all-in with #ah#js. The board bricked for both players but it was Kilpatrick who held the better kicker.
Like Bronstein, Wasserson left the final table with the largest WSOP cash of his career: $157,490.
Congratulations to Kory Kilpatrick on winning a gold bracelet plus the big prize of $254,891. Besides Event #20, he has 12 other WSOP cashes, plus 3 more circuit cashes with his largest being worth over $85k.