David Chiu

2013 WSOP: More Bracelets for Polychronopoulos, Kitai, Chiu

David Chiu became only the 22nd player in WSOP history to win five or more bracelets last night (Photo: WSOP/Joe Giron)

With his Event #23 win, David Chiu became only the 22nd player in WSOP history to win five or more bracelets (Photo: WSOP/Joe Giron)

This week saw seven more bracelets awarded at the 2013 World Series of Poker, with three of the winners being repeat champions. Athanasios Polychronopoulos picked up a second career WSOP bracelet with a victory in one of the $1,500 no-limit hold’em events on Monday. Davidi Kitai also earned a second title after taking down the $5,000 pot-limit hold’em event on Tuesday. And last night David Chiu picked up his fifth career WSOP bracelet in the $2,500 seven-card stud event.

Here’s a look at some of the stories and highlights from those last seven completed events.

Event #17 ($1,500 NLHE): Number Two for Polychronopoulos

The second $1,500 no-limit hold’em tournament of the summer saw a bigger field (2,105) than was the case with the first one (1,819 for Event #14), with Athanasios Polychronopoulos coming out on top to win the $518,755 first prize.

The win marked Polychronopoulos’s second WSOP bracelet, as well as the second time he’s managed to best a large-field $1,500 NLHE event. In 2011 the New Yorker won a better than $650K first prize after topping a field of 2,713.

Polychronopoulos defeated Manuel Mutke heads-up, denying Germany its first bracelet of the summer (which would come later in in Event #21, see below). Meanwhile, Joe Cada notched his second fourth-place finish of the year in Event #17 after also finishing fourth in Event #4 ($1,500 NLHE 6-max.). David “Bakes” Baker took eighth in this one, his third final table finish of the 2013 WSOP

Event #18 ($1,000 NLHE): Paur Survives Weiss’s Shoving Strategy

Taylor Paur picked up the bracelet in Event #18, a $1,000 no-limit hold’em event that saw 2,071 participate. Paur earned $340,260 for the win.

The tournament ended somewhat unusually as eventual runner-up Roy Weiss pushed all in before the flop 21 out of 24 hands to conclude the event. The sequence began with Weiss at an extreme chip disadvantage, but after doubling up twice Weiss took the lead, then continued either to open-shove or reraise-shove nearly every hand.

Paur gave Weiss a walk twice, and on one occasion Weiss checked after Paur limped in from the blind, but otherwise it was all-in-all-the-time for Weiss until Paur doubled back to get the lead, then eventually win.

Event #19 ($5,000 PLHE): Kitai Captures One for Belgium

Belgian player Davidi Kitai won his second career WSOP bracelet in Event #19, the $5,000 pot-limit hold’em event, his first also coming in a PLHE event in 2008 (a $2K event). There hadn’t been a $5K PLHE event offered at the WSOP since 2006, and 195 players took part this time around.

Kitai won $224,560 for his finish, needing to outlast an especially stacked final table to do so that included runner-up Cary Katz, Dimitar Danchev (who finished fourth), Eugene Katchalov (who finished fifth), Bertrand Grospellier (who finished seventh), and Dario Minieri (who finished eighth).

Also making the final table was Kristina Holst of Palo Alto, California. Holst’s sixth-place finish marked the third instance of a woman making a WSOP final table this summer, following Julie Schneider’s eighth-place finish in Event #5 ($2,500 Omaha/Stud Hi-Low) and Malissia Zapata’s third-place finish in Event #10 ($1,500 Limit HE).

Event #20 ($1,500 Omaha Hi-Low): McNeil Makes Six for Canada

Calen McNeil of British Columbia managed to pick up Canada’s sixth WSOP bracelet so far this summer, already doubling Canada’s total for the entire 2012 WSOP. McNeil topped a field of 1,014 in the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low event, earning a $277,274 first prize. That turnout represented an increase from the 967 who played the same event last year.

Thanks to an especially long heads-up battle between McNeil and eventual runner-up Can Kim Hua, play stretched into an extra, unscheduled fourth day, with the pair taking another two-and-a-half hours on Thursday to decide a winner.

Todd Brunson took third in Event #20, thus coming a couple of spots shy of earning a second career WSOP bracelet after winning his first in 2005, also in an Omaha Hi-Low event.

Event #21 ($3,000 NLHE 6-max.): A First for Finger

After the U.S. won 13 bracelets, Canada six, and Belgium one through the first 20 events, Martin Finger earned one for Germany by taking down the $3,000 no-limit hold’em short-handed event, beating out a field of 806 to earn the $506,764 first prize. Finger adds a bracelet to his EPT Prague Main Event title from 2011.

The tourney ended with a lengthy, nearly 100-hand heads-up battle between Finger and Matt Stout which saw Stout begin heads-up with a nearly 4-to-1 chip advantage but Finger battle back to grab the gold.

Event #22 ($1,500 PLO): Pollock Prevails

Last night Marylander Josh Pollock grabbed the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha title, topping Noah Schwartz heads up to win the 1,021-player event and $279,431 first prize. James Park of the U.K. took third, the only non-American to make the final table.

Schwartz in fact led for much of the third and final day of play in Event #22. He led to start the final table, at five-handed had more than half the chips in play, and enjoyed a nearly 3-to-1 lead to begin heads-up play versus Pollock.

After more than an hour Schwartz had increased his lead even further, but in the space of four hands Pollock doubled up twice, then won third big pot to take a better than 3-to-1 advantage himself, and a half-hour later had claimed the last of Schwartz’s stack to gain the victory.

Event #23 ($2,500 7CS): Chiu’s Champ

Also completing on Friday was Event #23, the $2,500 seven-card stud event that was kicked off on Wednesday by a taped “shuffle up and deal” from Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Bryant had been invited by the WSOP to play in the event in place of the late Jerry Buss, owner of the Lakers and long-time participant at the WSOP who passed away earlier this year. Bryant couldn’t play, but in his message paid tribute to Buss.

A total of 246 players did participate (down from last year’s 367), with David Chiu earning his fifth career WSOP bracelet, becoming only the 22nd player in WSOP history to achieve the feat of winning at least five. Chiu immediately dedicated his win to Buss as a nice bookend for the event.

Chiu outlasted Scott Seiver heads-up to win the $145,520 first prize, with Michael Mizrachi (fourth) and Frank Kassela (fifth) also among the final tablists.


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