Play stopped yesterday after ten levels ran out and eight players were still in with a fighting chance for a bracelet and the first place prize of nearly $170,000. And after a very short encounter for a WSOP final table, Gregory Kolo emerged victorious.
Although it’s not something we see every day, it was Kolo who came into the final day of play as the chip leader and he managed to turn that lead into his first WSOP bracelet. The entire final table took about two hours to complete and it is definitely the fastest final table of the series so far.
First to leave the final table was 2011 November Niner Phil Collins, who was actually eliminated yesterday in 9th place and received $12,610 for his efforts. Soon after that, play was stopped and the remaining eight continued the path to glory today.
Next to go was Ryan Schoonbaert. He got his short stack in the middle behind Kazu Oshima’s hand and stayed behind all the way to the river. Schoonbaert picked up $16,384 for his 8th place finish. Soon to follow was Ahmed Amin, who ran his #kc#jh into the #ah#ks of David Martirosyan and couldn’t find any help on the board. He was sent to the rail with $21,565 in his pocket.
The action was fast and furious and it was hard to keep track of all the eliminations. Only a couple of hands later, another player headed to the rail. A sixth place finish was reserved for Dan Goldman, who got his chips in ahead with his top pair against the flush draw of Oshima, but the river brought a third spade on the board, meaning Goldman’s time was up. He received $28,769 for his efforts.
Six hands later and another one bit the dust. This time it was Tom McCormick with no more time on his poker watch. He three-bet Oshima’s raise, putting his tournament life on the line. Oshima made the call with #js#9s and although it was a flip as McCormick held pocket Treys, Oshima flopped a pair of Jacks and a flush draw and by the river he improved to a flush, resulting in 5th place for Tom McCormick and $38,898.
With four players left, it took a little bit for the next one to go out, but it wasn’t a long wait either considering it took a total of two hours to reach the winner. After a bit of back and forth, it was Martirosyan who took his leave in 4th place. He got the last of his chips in the middle against Oshima, who flopped two pair and sent Martirosyan to the rail moments later with $53,328 for his performance.
The three remaining players headed off for a short break and just a couple hands after they returned, they were heads-up. Dean Bui shoved over the three-bet of Kolo and Kolo made the call. Bui’s pocket Tens were comfortably ahead of Kolo’s #ah#8s, but the deck wasn’t kind to Bui as Gregory turned the straight to send him to the rail with a third place finish and a $74,134 reward.
Only two players were now left to battle it out and true to form, the heads-up battle only lasted six hands. Kolo and Oshima saw the flop of #2h#jh#3s. Oshima check-raised Kolo’s bet and Kolo made the call. He proceeded to call Oshima’s bet on the #10d turn and his all-in on the #4s river. After he made the final call, Oshima slammed his cards face down on the table as Kolo showed #jc#3s for a flopped two pair. Oshima only had Queen-high for a total airball and his tournament was over just like that. The runner-up finish secured him $104,513.
Once the river was dealt and the cards were on their backs, 37-year-old Gregory Kolo from Ohio secured his first WSOP bracelet. This was also his first WSOP cash, although he has had a decent amount of success on the WSOP Circuit. Apart from the bracelet, tonight’s victory secured him a very nice cash prize of $169,225, which will certainly be a great contribution to his poker bankroll and career!