Chester, PA (April 28, 2014) -- Kyle Bowker earned his first gold ring and $115,920 in prize money Monday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. The 31-year-old professional poker player from Walton, NY, has been a staple on the tournament circuit for about eight years, but this is his first win in a major live event. He came out on top of the field of 336 entries and earned himself a seat in the National Championship.
"Pretty awesome" is how he described feeling after the win. "I've come close a lot...it's hard to get a win," he said. The soft-spoken Bowker is looking forward to his first appearance in the National Championship next month. "I've been close a couple of times" he said, "that'll be cool". "On the bubble I had ten big blinds and I doubled up, shoved all-in from the small blind with Q9...he had 7s and called. I doubled up. I was still kinda short, with 15-20 big blinds for the rest of the day, " he said. Bowker arrived at the final table dead last in chips with fewer than 14 big blinds. "I got lucky the first hand, with A9 against AJ against Justin," he said, referring to Justin Liberto, his heads-up opponent. "Justin took more bad beats from two tables down in a tournament than I've ever seen anyone take...like 3 or 4 really bad ones. He kept his composure and played awesome". Liberto earned $71,664 for second place.
Over the last nine years, Kyle Bowker has amassed more than $2.1 million in live tournament earnings. His first big score was in the 2006 WSOP Main Event, where he finished 37th for $247,399. He came close to a ring in 2009 when he finished 2nd in the Harrah's Atlantic City Circuit Main Event, earning $128,357. For the fourth consecutive year, Harrah's Philadelphia has hosted a Circuit series and it continues to draw some big names: November Niner Russell Thomas, WSOP bracelet holders Jeff Madsen, Loni Harwood, Ryan Eriquezzo, Ken 'Teach' Aldridge, David 'ODB' Baker, Eric 'basebaldy' Baldwin, and Dan Heimiller. All of them failed to make the money.
The Main Event was the 9th of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at Harrah’s Philadelphia. The $1,675 Buy-In No-Limit Hold’em tournament featured two starting flights on Friday and Saturday, April 25th and 26th. The event drew a total of 336 entries with a maximum of two entries per player: 146 in Flight A, 182 in Flight B, and 8 more before the start of Day 2. After playing 9 hours on Day 1, there were 47 advancing from Flight A, 60 advancing from Flight B, plus the 8 late registrants, making a total of 115 players starting Day 2.
Day 2 began at 2pm Sunday and after playing 14.5 hours, they reached the final table at about 4:30am and bagged up for the night. On Day 3, the final table began at 2pm with 12 minutes remaining in the 10k/20k/3k blind level and it was over a little over five hours later. The total prize pool for this event came to $504,000 and that was distributed to the final 36 players with a min-cash good for $2,903. Notable names to make the money include Sean Lippel (30th), Kenny Nguyen (25th), Dennis Phillips (21st), Roland Israelashvili (18th), Joseph McKeehen (17th), Kunal Patel (15th), and Matt Stout (13th). Also making the money was none other than recently crowned WPT World Championship winner Keven Stammen. Stammen, who won the prestigious event and $1.35 million the night before, made the trek to Harrah's Philadelphia to buy in for a 12 big blind stack at the start of Day 2. He found an incredible triple up early in play and fought his way into the money, ultimately finishing in 32nd place for $2,903.