It is clearly not easy to win a World Series of Poker bracelet. If it was, I would have one (to be fair, I should start by actually playing in a WSOP event, but let’s not pick nits). To win more than one is something that I, frankly, feel is absurd. On Sunday, Frankie O’Dell won the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better event, the third WSOP gold bracelet of his career, something fewer than 100 players have ever done. Even cooler, each of them has come in a variation of Omaha.
O’Dell won his first bracelet back in 2003 in the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split event. He won his second in $2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split in 2007, so if you do the math, that means it was twelve years before he finally nabbed his third bracelet.
O’Dell did come close last year, finishing as the runner-up in the $1,500 Six-Handed Dealer’s Choice event and fifth in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event.
“I thought about it the whole year,” O’Dell said of the close calls when interviewed after his victory. “I came back this year and my mentality was to do better. I had an opportunity here today, I had chips, we had the best Omaha players in the world in this tournament and I ended up on top. So that was my motivation.”
He also had a fifth place finish in $1,500 HORSE in 2013; a 50 percent win rate in final table appearances ain’t too shabby.
The final table was not a smooth ride to victory for O’Dell. Not only was it filled with strong players as one might expect a $10,000 event to be, but he started in fifth out of six players and struggled to make any headway much of the day. In fact, when there were three players left, O’Dell was down to just 95,000 chips at one point (for reference, his opponents were up around 5 or 6 million each).
He made moves in a hurry, though, grabbing big pot after big pot to get his stack up above 3 million. He fell back again, but as these things tend to work, there was swing after swing until O’Dell caught fire for good, letting his two opponents battle it out for second place. And they did just that – Owais Ahmed and Robert Mizrachi were both riding high earlier, but ended up battling each other to see who would fall to O’Dell heads-up.
That man was Ahmed, who went into heads-up way behind, 8.825 million to 2.200 million. He regained some chips earlier, but O’Dell made quick work of him, increasing his lead without even having to go to showdown. With fewer than 800,000 chips, Ahmed just had to roll with something, so after calling a raise pre-flop and check-calling a flop of 8s-7h-Qs, he bet the Qd on the turn, knowing he would get raised all-in by O’Dell. When he did, he flipped over Qh-Jc-5d-2c for trips, but O’Dell had some draws with Ah-9s-8d-2s. The river was the 7s, giving O’Dell a flush and the low for the scoop and the victory.
*Cover photo credit: WSOP.com