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Chris Brewer conquered not only some great players at the final table of Event #40: $250,000 Super High Roller but also rode a rollercoaster of emotions. Coming back from the short stack with six players left, Brewer had to maintain his concentration after another player was accused of cheating before beating Artur Martirosian heads up for the gold.
Seven players were at the final table when the cameras and lights pointed at the action, with PokerGO viewers around the world joining in their thousands to watch what would turn out to be a highly controversial live stream. The first bust-out contained little controversy. American professional David Peters was all-in with ace-nine in a standard spot. Chance Kornuth called having run his chips up early and got lucky when his ace-eight prevailed across a board that rivered him the nut flush.
That hand sent Peters home for $712,953 and further strengthened Kornuth’s chances of winning the $5.2 million top prize. Kornuth only sat behind Czech player Martin Kabrhel at the top of the chip-counts.
As three players got involved with big stacks and big paired hands, the action really kicked off. The best hand did not win.
🎆WSOP 250K FT FIREWORKS🎆pic.twitter.com/19UVKtuUNp— PokerNews (@PokerNews) June 19, 2023
🎆WSOP 250K FT FIREWORKS🎆pic.twitter.com/19UVKtuUNp
— PokerNews (@PokerNews) June 19, 2023
It wasn’t long before Smith was out, and he lost at the hands of Kabrhel, who had wound up the table and was alleged to have marked cards by several well-known players in the game.
Smith’s reaction after losing with ace-queen to Kabrhel’s ten-six with all the cards in diamonds, was noticeable.
“Good luck, most of you.” Smith said to the other players at the table, before jabbing his finger at Kabrhel.
“I hope you get barred.”
Kabrhel wanted clarification on what ‘The cowboy’ meant.
“Banned.” Smith said, clearly boiling with anger. “Your antics are the worst of anybody I’ve ever met. Everyone else is a great player.”
“Somebody must be worse.” Kabrhel joked as Smith left the table. Everyone else was silent and Kabrhel had made no friends, antagonizing others at the table during the game. Here’s how that heated exchange went down.
Dan Smith (@DanSmithHolla) had some choice words for Martin Kabrhel (@martinkabrhell) after his elimination from the $250,000 Super High Roller Bowl.📺 – Watch live here: https://t.co/InAL0tkRzV pic.twitter.com/qoNU9e8qnm— PokerGO (@PokerGO) June 19, 2023
Dan Smith (@DanSmithHolla) had some choice words for Martin Kabrhel (@martinkabrhell) after his elimination from the $250,000 Super High Roller Bowl.
📺 – Watch live here: https://t.co/InAL0tkRzV pic.twitter.com/qoNU9e8qnm
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) June 19, 2023
With five players still in the hunt, Chance Kornuth was the next player to bust. Having led with six remaining, the Chip Leader Coaching owner lost in fifth for $1,202,318. Losing to Alex Kulev after the Bulgarian made a pair on the river, Kulev’s gain was enough for his to stabilise, but soon after, he hit the rail too.
All-in with queen-jack, Kulev couldn’t hit against Russian player Artur Martirosian’s pocket eights, busting for a score of $1,632,005 in fourth place. That left three men at the table, each of whom had their own fanbase – except the controversial Kabrhel.
Chris Brewer had fought back from being the short stack and having never won a WSOP bracelet, was the home crowd’s favorite. Even Martirosian had several fans, who cheered him on passionately in his attempt to win his first bracelet too. Kabrhel already had two WSOP victories in his collection from Prague in 2018 in the WSOP Europe festival and three years ago on the International Circuit.
Despite those achievements in his career to date, Kabrhel had no fans on the rail.
Three-handed, Brewer and Martirosian stretched ahead and the Thunderdome crowd got what they craved as Kabrhel was crushed. All-in with a suited queen-deuce, Kabrhel lost to Martirosian’s ace-king as a king on the flop was followed by not nearly enough help for the Czech player. Silence enveloped the stage as identified ‘villain’ of the piece left the party.
The Martin Kabrhel Show is over in the @WSOP $250,000 Super High Roller.Kabrhel jams his queen-deuce suited right into Artur Martirosyan's ace-king and hits the rail in 3rd place, collecting $2,279,038.📺 – Watch live here: https://t.co/InAL0tkRzV pic.twitter.com/5s4LtDks9z— PokerGO (@PokerGO) June 19, 2023
The Martin Kabrhel Show is over in the @WSOP $250,000 Super High Roller.
Kabrhel jams his queen-deuce suited right into Artur Martirosyan's ace-king and hits the rail in 3rd place, collecting $2,279,038.
📺 – Watch live here: https://t.co/InAL0tkRzV pic.twitter.com/5s4LtDks9z
Martirosian’s stack was three times that of the underdog Brewer, but No Limit Hold’em poker loves a comeback story and sure enough the American fought back. Getting back into contention wasn’t done by a single double-up, but more through a hard grind. A series of small pots went his way, some raises never got to showdown and he applied pressure brilliantly on Martirosian’s stack.
Working his way into a 2:1 chip lead via crucial coinflip with pocket threes beating Martirosian’s ace-ten, the Russian never came back from that devastating defeat. Having been one run-out from the bracelet, Martirosian lost with the better hand at the last as his ace-king fell to Brewer’s ace-seven, an extraordinary board of K-9-5-8-6 giving the American a rivered straight for the victory, worth an incredible $5,293,556 and that priceless first WSOP bracelet.
Afterwards, an obviously emotional Brewer poured his heart out as a poker world watched on to applaud the popular high-stakes pro.
"I've had so many tough ones…. It feels really good."Don't miss @Chris_D_Brewer's emotional winner's interview with @nataliedbode after his @WSOP $250,000 Super High Roller victory. pic.twitter.com/hTwMXVIekS— PokerGO (@PokerGO) June 19, 2023
"I've had so many tough ones…. It feels really good."
Don't miss @Chris_D_Brewer's emotional winner's interview with @nataliedbode after his @WSOP $250,000 Super High Roller victory. pic.twitter.com/hTwMXVIekS
After the final table, the dust settled, but the industry remained outraged by some of the perceived antics of the villainous Kabrhel. The ‘card-marking’ row prompted a statement from Kabrhel himself via Twitter where he venomously denied the allegations… or says there’s no proof.
On behalf of yesterday situation I feel necessary to speak up. @Andrew_Robl yesterday posted on twitter an accusation that I'm marking cards and cheating in poker tournaments. I was shocked by how quickly people took it as true, pure statement with no evidence and..— Martin Kabrhel (@martinkabrhell) June 20, 2023
On behalf of yesterday situation I feel necessary to speak up. @Andrew_Robl yesterday posted on twitter an accusation that I'm marking cards and cheating in poker tournaments. I was shocked by how quickly people took it as true, pure statement with no evidence and..
— Martin Kabrhel (@martinkabrhell) June 20, 2023
Former Full Tilt Poker poster boy Tom Dwan called for a full-scale investigation into Kabrhel’s antics after several complaints from fellow players. His words carry some weight and clearly, what he said was echoed by the vast majority of fans and players alike.
Who’s gambling license was the @WSOP 250k under?I hope cards are saved and a decent investigation is done. For the credibility of the casino’s, WSOP, and @NevadaGCBAlso would be nice if sponsors and partners nudged @GGPoker @PokerGO . Their credibility adversely impacted too— Tom Dwan (@TomDwan) June 20, 2023
Who’s gambling license was the @WSOP 250k under?
I hope cards are saved and a decent investigation is done. For the credibility of the casino’s, WSOP, and @NevadaGCB
Also would be nice if sponsors and partners nudged @GGPoker @PokerGO . Their credibility adversely impacted too
— Tom Dwan (@TomDwan) June 20, 2023
A full-scale investigation, you say? Step forward Doug Polk, who today released this “deeper look” at Kabrhel’s antics. It’s well worth a watch, especially if you believe Kabrhel to be out of order and worthy of a lengthy ban. Either way, let Doug take you through the footage.
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