Japan's Naoya Kihara Wins First Ever WSOP Bracelet

Japan's Naoya Kihara Wins First Ever WSOP BraceletJapan has its first ever WSOP bracelet winner, after Naoya Kihara overcame a 419 player field in Las Vegas to take down Event#34: $5k PLO six-max for $512,029.
In contrast to the USA, live gambling is illegal in Japan and so anyone wanting to play has to join an online poker sites, instead. That’s where Naoya Kihara first learnt his trade and commenting on what his incredible win means to him, the 30-year-old Tokyo resident said:
“Now I make a living from poker but I want to be a sponsored player. So being the first Japanese bracelet holder means that the possibility of that gets bigger.”
The $5k PLO Six-max Event drew many top players to the tournament, the most notable cashes of which included Dario Alioto in 40th ($9,748), Brock Parker in 36th ($11,481), Shaun Deeb in 27th ($13,509), Dan Shak in 26th ($13,509), Tom Marchese in 23rd ($16,463), David Benyamine in 14th ($20,579) and Kevin MacPhee in 11th ($26,349).
Eventually, Naoya Kihara made the final table as the only non-American contender before scoring his first elimination after making a higher straight than his opponent to send Davidi Kitai to the rail in 5th place for $92,064. Kihara then proceeded to dispatch  Hans Winzeler in 4th ($134,857) and Dan Hindin in 3rd ($203,369) before going heads-up against Chris DeMaci.
As heads-up got underway, Naoya Kihara held a 4.575 million to 1.715 million chip advantage over his opponent and managed to pull even further ahead before the final hand was played. Both players were all-in on a Ac-Jh-2h flop with Kihara (Kh-Qh-Jc-6s) holding a pair of jacks to DeMaci’s (5c-4s-3c-2s) pair of twos with a straight draw. The 6d and 7c turn and river sealed Naoya Kihara’s win having made two pair, jacks and sixes. Commenting on his incredible achievement, Naoya Kihara said:
“I’m not so good at Pot Limit Omaha actually. I had around 2 million (hands) experience in Hold’em and 250,000 in Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo but I think only 150,000 in Pot Limit Omaha. It’s not my best game, so because of that I tried to play A-B-C style, especially yesterday I got lucky and lucky and lucky. Every flip I won so because of that I run so good and then got the bracelet.”

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