Three weeks into this year’s World Series of Poker at the Horseshoe and Paris in Las Vegas, we’re yet to see an Australian win a WSOP bracelet in 2023 – but boy, have we gone close!
For much of the past week, all eyes have been on James Obst as he navigated his way through the field of what many players consider to be the true test of a player’s skill – the $50K Poker Players Championship. Showing off his mixed game skills, Obst made it a third final table of this year’s series in the PPC but ultimately fell just short of his second career bracelet as he was eliminated in fourth place, good for US$411,824.
Playing a final table of his own at the same time as Obst was Queensland crusher Alex Lynskey. Looking to improve on his memorable seventh-place finish in the 2018 WSOP Main Event, Lynskey used his typical aggression to cut a swathe through the field and at one stage was chip leader with three players remaining. But the cards didn’t fall his way when it mattered most as he eventually fell in 3rd for US$323,610.
Finally, Star Sydney regular David Hirst reached his first WSOP final table via an 8th-placefinish in the $500 No Limit Hold’em Freezeout, good for US$31,433. Making his run particularly impressive was the fact that the event attracted a whopping 5,342 starters, ensuring a very nice return on his $500 investment!
So, still no gold bracelet for the Aussies but with the contingent still growing by the day, we’re confident someone will come through with the gods before the end of the Vegas summer. Stay tuned!
RAST IN PEACE
With Obst unable to go all the way in the $50k PPC, it was Brian Rast who dominated the final day’s play – establishing a massive chip lead four-handed and cruising to victory to seal his sixth career WSOP bracelet. He also becomes just the second person after Michael Mizrachi to win three PPC titles – a truly spectacular accomplishment given the quality of the PPC fields.
Rast was already one of nominees for the 10 finalists for Poker Hall of Fame honours this year before his PPC victory and this will surely boost his chances of being inducted on 13 July.
HALL OF FAME
So who are this year’s nominees? Aside from Rast, the nominees include fellow 2023 bracelet winners Josh Arieh and Jeremy Ausmus, plus Ted Forrest, Kathy Liebert, Mike Matusow, PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg and the late Bill Smith. Also in contention is the Executive Tour Director of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Matt Savage, and long-time WSOP commentary duo Lon McEachern and Norman Chad.
With only one of the above to be inducted, the 32 living members of the Hall of Fame will cast their votes with the winner announced during the $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty No-Limit Hold’em event next month. All Hall of Famers can enter the event for free.
American pro Chris Brewer had earned an unfortunate reputation as one of the unluckiest men in poker in recent years, having failed to win notch a major tournament victory thanks only to some terrible bad beats. His unlucky run had continued during the early stages of this year’s WSOP when in the semi-finals of the $25k Heads-Up Championship he got it all-in with KK against Doug Polk’s QQ – only for Polk to catch a Q on the river.
However, Brewer was finally rewarded for his perseverance by winning the biggest event on this year’s calendar – the $250k Super High Roller – for US$5.3 million and change. And, fittingly, he did so by dishing out a shocking bad beat to his heads-up rival Artur Martirosyan.
Getting it all-in holding A♥7♦ to Martirosyan’s A♦K♠, Martisrosyan looked certain to double through when the flop fell K♥9♠5♠, but the turn 8♠ gave Brewer outs to a non-spade 6 which he duly hit when the river fell 6♦.
At least he ran pure when it mattered most!