The six-handed final table of the inaugural 2015 World Poker Tour (WPT) Choctaw Main Event had the following:
• A member of the WPT Champions Club with a sizable chip lead
• The runner-up in last season’s WPT Player of the Year race who also won consecutive WPT titles
• A man with $4 million in lifetime live tournament earnings
• A player trying to become the first woman in World Poker Tour history to win an open Main Event
But of course, none of those people won the tournament. In the end, it was Jason Brin who emerged victorious, overcoming a large chip deficit to win his first World Poker Tour title and $682,975.
Brin entered the final table as a prohibitive short stack with just 2.390 million chips. Only Mina Greco, the female mentioned above, had a smaller collection of chips. Now, there are short stacks that you look at and think they still have a shot and there a short stacks that you dismiss out of hand. Brin was the latter. In the lead going into final table play was Andy Hwang, winner of the 2013 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, sitting on 10.935 million chips. That’s about 8.5 million more than Brin. Brin didn’t stand a chance. And in second place was WPT Player of the Year runner-up Darren Elias with 8.130 million chips. Yeah, Brin had no chance.
But this is poker and Brin held strong. He gathered enough chips to over the first dozen orbits to have Alex Lynskey covered when he went all-in, knocking Lynskey out in sixth place for the table’s first elimination after 71 hands.
Brin eventually made it to the three-handed competition against none other than Hwang and Elias and the three engaged in the longest three-handed battle in WPT history. It started on Hand 98 after the elimination of Jake Schindler in fourth place and finally ended when Hwang ousted Elias on Hand 222.
Heads-up was not quite the marathon that three-handed was, but at over 60 hands, it was still a trek to the finish line. Hwang had nearly a 2-to-1 chip lead going in, but Brin took over less than 30 hands later. On the 284th and final hand of the night, Brin moved all-in with K-8 and was called all-in by Hwang, who had Q-J. The King-high held up and Brin clinched his first World Poker Tour crown.
The $682,975 winner’s purse was by far the most money Brin had ever won in a live tournament. Prior to this event, he had only won a bit over $100,000 in his career and had never had a six-digit score. The Kansan is a regional player, sticking mostly to lower buy-in tournaments in neighboring states. Over the last few years, he has cashed several times on the Heartland Poker Tour and the Mid-States Poker Tour. This was the first tournament he had ever won, though – not a bad choice.
2015 World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event – Final Table Results
1. Jason Brin – $682,975
2. Andy Hwang – $468,105
3. Darren Elias – $303,593
4. Jake Schindler – $224,913
5. Mina Greco – $167,691
6. Alex Lynskey – $135,504