Event #14, $1,500 Omaha High-Lo, started with 1,032 runners. Yesterday, it dwindled down to the final table and one of those sitting in with a shot at the bracelet was Calen McNeil, who won the event last year and was looking to make it back-to-back titles. By the end of the evening he would be denied this opportunity, as it was Nick Kost who held all the chips when all was said and done.
The most notable name at the final table was 2004 Main Event champion Greg Raymer, who came in with a very short stack, but only a few hands in he managed to build up his stack to an amount where he represented a serious threat. However, it wasn’t meant to be for Raymer, who eventually ended up in 7th, taking home $33,510.
As for the defending champ, he wouldn’t get to repeat his success either although at certain times it seemed like he might be seizing another bracelet. But in the end, his luck ran out and he made his exit in 4th place. He fell at the hands of Kost and perhaps it was a sign that this bracelet had Nick’s name engraved on it. Although McNeil earned $79,608 for his performance, he will probably regret the missed opportunity at back-to-back championships.
After Jim Bucci fell in third place and took home $109,678, it was down to Kost and Kal Raichura to answer the question of the winner. Kost started with about a 2.5:1 chip deficit, as his 1.3 million played Raichura’s 3.3 million.
Kost had a decent amount of supporters on the rail, while Raichura seemingly had none. At one point the announcer actually asked if anyone was rooting for Kal and he jokingly answered, “No, I am flying solo.”
Whether it was the support of the railbirds, a good run of cards, skill, or the combination of all three, Kost managed to close the gap in a heads-up match that took quite a while to complete considering both players were rather shallow.
Pot after pot, Kost was clearly taking over control and finally put himself in a position where he could end it all. It was the very first hand of Level 31, which was the 11th level of the day, that saw all the chips go into the middle.
The flop came down #qh#10d#5d and it got capped. Then the turn fell #8c and Kost called the bet from Raichura. The river fell #3d and Raichura could probably guess he got sucked out on, but he had so little behind that there was nothing to do but to put the last of his chips in the middle. Sure enough, Kost had tabled #as#kh#9d#qd for a rivered flush and Raichura could only say “Nice hand” to his opponent.
Raichura received $175,300 for his second place finish, while the gold bracelet and $283,275 went to Kost, the most recent WSOP bracelet winner!