The 44th Annual World Series of Poker put the first bracelet winner of the summer into the headlines at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Event #1: $500 Employees No Limit Hold'em screeched to a halt when Chad Holloway knocked out Allan Kwong to claim the bracelet in front of dozens of friends in the Amazon Room. Holloway is the senior news editor at PokerNews.com and got to experience the winner's interview from a different perspective early Friday morning after surviving a field of 898 runners.
Event #1: $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em
Day 2 put cards in the air with the 55 remaining in the field as the hunt continued for a bracelet and the top prize of $85,000. Michael Trivett started the final day with a huge chip lead, but Team PokerNews members Chad Holloway and Josh Cahlik were still in the fight and weren't going to just roll over and let Trivett keep his advantage.
Cahlik, started Day 2 with 58,400 in chips, passed the 100,000 mark early in the day and took over as chip leader after a b-i-g hand against Wyatt Gibson. Cahlik put in a raise to 8,500 preflop and action folded to Gibson, who re-raised from the small blind to 17,000. Cahlik called to see the flop peal off the . Gibson bet about 55,000 and Cahlik answered by moving all-in for 126,000 and Gibson called.
The hands hit the table to expose:
Cahlik hit the flop with a set of jacks, and the turn and river gave him the double up and sent him into the chip lead with more than 300,000.
Cahlik and Holloway were running at top speed with 12 remaining, but Cahlik ran out of steam after running queens into kings. The last of his chips went in preflop with and Trivett found the to call with. The sent Cahlik to the rail in 12th place for $5,010.
Troy Wilcoxon and Vince Petrino were were knocked out in 11th and 10th place, respectively, setting the line-up for the first official final table of the 2013 WSOP. Holloway started the final table third in chips but took the lead after the eliminations of Hieu Le (9th place), Trivett (8th) and Tyrone Smith (7th). Holloway didn't slow down, he sent Sean Smith to the cashier in sixth place when his held up against Small's . Smith, who took third place at the WSOP-Circuit Council Bluffs Main Event this year, collected $13,868 for the sixth place finish.
Daniel Ellery (5th place) and Brian Pingel exited the final table next, and Holloway doubled through Bobby Rooney next to grab the chip lead and cripple Rooney, who busted a few hands later in third place for ($33,903).
Holloway started heads-up play with a 2-to-1 chip lead over Allan Kwong. The match went back-and forth — more than 90 minutes --before Holloway put the finishing touches on the championship. The final hand saw Kwong raise to 75,000 with Holloway calling to see a flop of . Holloway checked and Kwong bet 85,000. Holloway raised and Kwong came back with an all-in shoved. Holloway snap-called and turned over for trips. Kwong tabled . The turn gave Kwong straight outs but the river sent the ESPN final table area into a frenzy as Holloway took home the victory and his first WSOP bracelet.
Watch Sarah Grant's with interview Chad Holloway:
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