The motto of the World Series of Poker Circuit is “First the Ring, then the Bracelet.” Phil Hui, a regular on the Circuit, already had a few rings in his trophy case, but he completed the second part of the mantra during the early hours of Thursday morning at the 2014 WSOP.
Hui won his first bracelet to go along with his four Circuit rings in the $3,000 Omaha Hi-Lo. He defeated a field 457 players to earn $286,976.
“It means everything,” said an emotional Hui while clearing tears from his eyes. “It’s what we play for.”
The win is especially sweet for the professional poker player from San Antonio. He had failed to cash in his first 25 events of the summer.
“You’re mind is just not right when you’re coming into the last week and a half of the series and you’ve bricked everything,” said Hui. “It’s just unreal. I feel like I’m in a movie. Seriously.”
Most of Hui’s tournament success has come in No Limit Hold’em. He hopes that a bracelet in Omaha Hi-Lo will prove that he is more than a one-trick pony.
“I have always thought I was really good at mixed games,” he said. “But I haven’t had any success until PCA where I won the $1K HORSE. That was my first mixed game cash.”
Hui’s bracelet also gets another monkey off of his back in that his girlfriend won’t be able to make fun of him that she has a bracelet and he doesn’t. Hui is in a relationship with Loni Harwood, who became a household name in poker after having a strong 2013 WSOP, including a bracelet win late in the summer.
“She can’t hold it over me anymore,” he said with a laugh. “There have been friendly needles, but she is my rock, she’s my best friend, she’s my everything.”
The final day of the tournament saw 20 players come back to the Rio to play down to a winner. It took over seven hours for a final table of nine to be reached, but once it was, the chips flew and eliminations were rapid.
Joe Mitchell got the last of his chips in the middle against Hui. Hui tabled AQ52 and was up against Mitchell’s A984. The flop was K54 and Hui took the lead with a pair of fives and the nut low draw. The K and the J on the turn and river gave Hui the whole pot with just a pair of fives and Mitchell was the first player to hit the rail.
Just a few minutes after that hand took place, there was a double knockout of Matt Glantz and Jordan Morgan. Morgan raised from early position and Glantz three-bet which put him all in. Hui cold-called out of the small blind and Morgan tossed in his last chip to put his tournament life on the line.
Morgan tabled KK85, Glantz showed A542 and Hui showed A762. The flop was 664, giving Hui trip sixes and the nut low. Glantz also held the nut low and was looking to get a quarter of the pot, while Morgan was left hoping for a king for the high half. The turn was the 4 and the river was the 9 to send home two players at once. Glantz started the hand with more chips than Morgan, so he would take seventh place, while Morgan would collect eighth place money.
That left the table six-handed and just 10 minutes later, David Williams found himself heading to the cashier cage as well. Williams was crippled in a big hand against Ismael Bojang, which left him which just over a big bet left. Williams raised, Bojang three-bet, Zack Milchman cold-called and Williams called off the last of his stack.
The flop was 622 and Bojang check-called a bet from Milchman and they watched the 8 fall on the turn. There was a flurry of bets and raises which led to Milchman putting in the last of his chips and three hands were turned up.
Williams showed KKQ8, Bojang tabled A953 and Milchman turned up AK32. Williams was drawing dead for half of the pot and would need a king or an eight to stay alive, while Bojang had the nut low and Milchman showed trip deuces and the nut low. The river was the 4 and Milchman took 75% of the pot while Bojang took a quarter of it and Williams went to collect his $49,817 in sixth place prize money.
Action slowed down a bit and it took just under an hour before another player to stare elimination in the face. John D’Agostino was that player who was at risk, and it didn’t work out well for him.
Bojang raised from under-the-gun and D’Agostino three-bet from the button. Hui cold-called from the big blind and Bojang called as well. The flop was T53 and Hui led out. Bojang called, D’Agostino raised and went all in before Hui raised and Bojang called. Both players checked the 9 turn card and the river was was the 2. Hui led out and Bojang folded. Hui tabled A542 and D’Agostino tabled AQJ5 as he left the tournament area.
Bojang and Hui were atop the chip counts with 1.9 million and 1.35 million in chips, respectively, with Milchman and Michael Bees at the bottom with 500,000 and 400,000, respectively.
Even though Bojang held the chip lead, over the course of the next hour, he lost a few big pots and was eliminated in fourth place. Bojang raised under-the-gun and called a three-bet from Bees. The last of Bojang’s chips got into the middle on a flop of A82. Bojang showed J843 and was up against Bees’ AJ43. Both players held the nut low, but Bojang needed to hit a diamond to make a better high hand than Bee’s pair of aces, which left him with just a few chips after getting quartererd. Bojang was unable to find a diamond and was all in preflop on the next hand against Milchman and Bees.
Milchman led out on a flop of T62 and Bees called. Both players checked the 5 turn card and Milchman led out on the K river. Bees folded and Milchman tabled AA64. He scooped both the high and the low against Bojang’s J763.
Milchman took the pot, but Bees was the big stack with just over 2 million in chips. Milchman held over 1.7 million and Hui found himself short with just 325,000 as three-handed play began. The same pattern happened during three-handed play as four-handed play – the chip leader was the next player eliminated.
Bees raised on the button and Milchman defended his big blind. The flop was 954 and Milchman check-raised. The two continued to raise and the action was capped. The J peeled off on the turn and the rest of the chips went into the middle on the 5 river card.
Milchman tabled 4432, giving him a full house and Bees tabled AK87, good for a flush. Bees headed to the rail and Milchman was up against Hui for a bracelet.
At the start of heads-up play, Milchman held a massive seven-to-one chip advantage over Hui. Milchman adopted the same fate as the prior big stacks during short-handed play as Hui continued to double up over and over again to pull even with Milchman, and eventually build a lead of his own and completely turn the tables on Milchman and held a seven-to-one chip lead of his own.
After turning a steel wheel and scooping a big pot from Milchman, Hui finished the job on the next hand. Milchman got the last of his short stack in the middle preflop with KQJ3 and was up against Hui’s JT97. The flop was AT2 to give Hui a pair of tens and the lead. Any paint card would give Milchman a straight, but the 4 on the turn and the 8 on the river sealed the deal for Hui and earned him his first bracelet.
Here are a look at the results:
- Phil Hui – $286,976
- Zachary Milchman – $177,609
- Michael Bees – $118,036
- Ismael Bojang – $87,594
- John D’Agostino – $65,736
- David Williams – $49,817
- Matt Glantz – $38,089
- Jordan Morgan – $29,356
- Joe Mitchell – $22,793
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