WSOP: Michael Chow Wins $1,500 Omaha HiLo Bracelet on His Birthday

He had 34 reasons to smile, but added one more.
He had 34 reasons to smile, but added one more.

The second final table of the day at the World Series of Poker saw Michael Chow win the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo event. Chow celebrated his birthday at the table and received the best birthday present he could imagine, a WSOP gold bracelet.

“I felt like it was slipping away and I took a last stand on a bluff,” Chow said. “After winning that hand I felt pretty good and I came all the way back to win.” Cow slyly added, “It’s the best birthday present I’ve had, so far.”

2008 November Nine Ylon Schwartz and gold bracelet winner Dan Heimiller were seemingly the most experienced players at the table, but they were unable to overcome Chow’s timely play.

One element of Omaha Hi-Lo is that true bad beats are hard to come by, but not so much for Todd Barlow. On a flop of 6 5 5 Barlow committed his remaining chips to the pot and Heimiller made the call. Barlow had trip fives with an ace and Heimiller was playing for the low pot with A 2 7 Q. But the the board finished 6 6 giving Heimiller trip sixes with ace queen kicker and Barlow had ace seven kicker. Both Barlow and Heimiller were both unsure at who won at first, but Barlow sighed heavily and was the first player eliminated of the final table.

Joe Leibman lost all but one big bet on an ace high busted flush draw against Schwartz. Leibman was forced all in from the big blind the very next hand and Sasha Rosewood and Chow checked all the way down to the river. It was then that Leibman finally looked at his cards, but they were no good and he was out of the tournament.

Rosewood’s dwindling stack found its way into the middle against Heimiller after the flop of 8 K J. Rosewood was behind Heimiller who held A A A J. The board completed with 2 J and Heimiller’s trip jacks beat Rosewood’s A 3 9 T.

Michael Cipolla only had a few bets remaining in his stack and they found their way into the middle on the turn of a K A 2 K board. Chow tabled A J J 7 for two pair and Cipolla mucked his way to the rail.

Chow took control of the tournament scooping pot after pot with the nuts. Scott Epstein tried taking on Chow when he opened with a raise and then was raised after the 6 4 8 flop. Epstein called all the way to the river when he was all in. Chow made the nut flush and Epstein was out in fifth place. Chow then had 66% of the chips in play.

Fred Koubi and Schwartz were desperately short stacked against Heimiller and Chow. Koubi and Schwartz took turns committing themselves hoping for a double up. Finally, Heimiller called Koubi the A 6 5 8 J board gave Heimiller a straight holding K 7 6 4.

At three-handed play Heimiller and Chow had 90% of the chips in play and Schwartz kept moving in hoping to double up. He chopped three pots in a row but the fourth would be his last. He raised his way all in preflop and didn’t look at his cards until the 9 A 3 K T board ran out. Heimiller made two pair holding K 9 3 2 and Schwartz made a lower two pair.

Three hours of heads-up play saw Heimiller and Chow exchange the chip lead multiple times. Time wore on with neither of the two able to gain a strong advantage. The blinds reached an absurdly high level, with betting limits at 100,000 and 200,000.

Finally, the pair got involved in a giant pot with Heimiller committing all but a few chips to the pot. He only made a single pair and Chow made a king high straight. Heimiller was all-in the next hand and it was deja vu all over again with Chow making a king high straight on a board of A T 5 J K holding the Q 9 3 2. Chow scored the final elimination and could get to the business of celebrating his birthday with his highly vocal and spirited cheering section.

Final Table Payouts for $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo:

  1. Michael Chow – $237,463
  2. Dan Heimillier – $146,684
  3. Ylon Schwartz – $94,561
  4. Fred Koubi – $69,272
  5. Scott Epstein – $51,493
  6. Michael Cipolla – $38,794
  7. Sasha Rosewood – 29,584
  8. Joe Leibman – $22,825
  9. Todd Barlow – $17,801
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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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