On only the second day of the 2019 World Series of Poker at the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, we’ve already seen the first bracelet awarded. Coming through one of the tougher final tables you’ll see in any tournament schedule, Brian Green was able to outlast an all-star final table in the $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty event to take home the gold.
Nobody Said It Would Be Easy…
From the start of action on Thursday, Green was facing an uphill climb. The short stack at the table with a “measly” 720,000 in chips, Green was arguably looking to level up more than anything else. Leading the way was Asher Conniff, whose 4.215 million chip stack looked like an insurmountable mountain to the pittance that Green held. Toss in such players as three-time WSOP bracelet winner Loren Klein (3.13 million), Poker Masters champion Ali Imsirovic (2.18 million), Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu (1.015 million) and High Roller regular Ping Liu (990,000) and many on the sidelines thought Green didn’t have a shot.
Even though he was on the short stack, Green didn’t just meekly fall in the first few hands. That dubious honor surprisingly fell to Negreanu, who pushed his stack in with a strong A-10 and was called by Klein’s weaker Q-J. The flop was innocent enough, coming down seven high, but a Queen on the river thrust Klein into the lead. Looking for an Ace to survive the hand, ‘Kid Poker’ instead saw his ten pair on the river, not good enough to keep him from being eliminated in sixth place.
Because of the rapid pace of the Super Turbo, the players were correctly pushing quite frequently and not with hands you’d expect to see. Green doubled up through Imsirovic in a “blind versus blind” battle when Green’s K-7 turned a King after Imsirovic’s A-J flopped a Jack. But Imsirovic would strike back to stay relevant in the match.
One of the stunner hands of the day came in the elimination of Liu. Once again in a “blind versus blind” situation, Liu shoved his million-chip stack to the center and Klein looked him up. Liu was in bad shape, his J♠ 10♠ looking up at Klein’s A♦ 10♦, but a Q-K-9 flop immediately changed the state of the hand and put Liu in the lead. Klein had a gut shot straight draw, however, and it came home on the Jack turn to give Klein Broadway. Only three cards could save Liu on the river – the three Aces – and none of them came on the river 8♥. After flopping the miracle, Liu went from the penthouse to the outhouse and out of the tournament in fifth place.
The Final Four
If it were even possible, the pace of play ramped up following Liu’s departure. Klein was the next to go after he doubled up Green and then got his final chips in with an A-9 off suit against Conniff. Klein’s Ace didn’t fare well against Conniff’s A-Q, missing everything on a Q-4-6-2-J board to send him home in fourth place. On the very next hand, Conniff would come out on the losing end when he held the edge against Green, his A-9 bettering Green’s K-Q, but fell short on the 9-4-K-10-8 board. That hand catapulted Green into a more than 2:1 lead over Imsirovic (8.4 million to 3.8 million) as the duo went to heads up play.
Imsirovic did his part to make a match out of it. He found a double on Hand #70, his Q-9 flopping a nine against Green’s better hand of A-J, to pull within 100K in chips, but that would be the final hurrah for the Poker Masters champion. Still down on Hand #72, Imsirovic called off his final 6.1 million chips against the all in of Green and was in good shape. Imsirovic had woken up in the big blind with pocket Kings, perfect for the clash against Green’s A-9, and a nine on the flop didn’t change the lead. A blank came on the turn, but the river brought a thunderbolt – a second nine, giving Green trips, the hand and the WSOP bracelet in one card.
1. Brian Green, $345,669
2. Ali Imsirovic, $213,644
3. Asher Conniff, $145,097
4. Loren Klein, $100,775
5. Ping Liu, $71,614
6. Daniel Negreanu, $52,099
7. Martijn Gerrits, $38,823*
8. Zachary Clark, $29,650*
9. Cary Katz, $23,224*
(* – eliminated on Wednesday night, part of official WSOP final table)