The 2014 World Series of Poker is slowly winding down. There are only a couple events left before the start of the Main Event and that will be the last chance for those seeking bracelets this summer. Mike Kachan managed to catch one of the last trains leaving for bracelet-ville and claimed victory in Event #56, a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament.
Kachan outlived 2,524 opponents who took their seats at the start of Day 1 and by the time the last hand was dealt on Day 3, he improved on his now second-best WSOP finish in 2008 when he took 9th place in a $1,500 Limit Hold’em event.
When 16 final players returned for Day 3, Kachan was sitting in the middle of the pack with his stack. Although he certainly was hoping, his expectations were probably not too high all things considered. By the time Matt Salsberg was eliminated in 10th place and the final table was set, Kachan was still in the middle of the pack. He gathered some chips to maintain his position, but he was well behind the chip leader and the only bracelet winner at the table, Steve Gross.
It was a slow final table and every elimination took a while. The first three to eventually leave the game were Raymond Henson, Richard Milne and Steve Gross, the chip leader at the start of 9-handed play. Then Viktor Skoldstedt eliminated Neo Hoang in sixth place when his #as#js held over Hoang’s #kh#10s.
Skoldstedt was the next one to go out. He made his move with #ah#4s and was dominated by the #ac#js of Jeff Blenkarn. Skoldstedt earned $93,490 for his great run in this really big field, but could not go all the way.
Kechan added some chips to his stack when he first crippled and then proceeded to eliminate Andrew Egan a couple of hands later, sending him to the rail in fourth place with $128,000. Then Blenkarn proceeded to bust Eric Shanks in third place ($177,527) and the stage was set for heads-up play.
Kechan started with a slight lead over Shanks and was able to build on that lead during the next couple of hours to claim the victory. The last hand saw Blenkarn call an open from Kechan. Following the flop of #9s#jd#5h, Blenkarn proceeded to raise Kechan’s bet and the #6h hit the turn. Blenkarn moved all-in and wasn’t happy to see Kechan beat him to the pot.
Kechan turned two pair with #jh#6d and was well ahead of Blenkarn’s #qd#9d. The #10c on the river did nothing to change this fact and Jeff Blenkarn was eliminated in second place, earning $250,815.
The first place prize of $403,483 and the gold bracelet went to Mike Kechan. Playing in this tournament was a last-minute decision for the new champ, who came to Vegas to play the Main Event. But on this occasion, it worked out quite well for him!