US poker pro Tom Koral has finally accomplished a long-time goal…securing a World Series of Poker winner’s bracelet after 13 years of attending the Las Vegas poker festival, during which he has made 53 cashes and appeared on five final tables.
“I’ve been coming here since 2005, so 13 years I’ve played in the World Series and cashed in events and… finally, it happened,” Koral told local reporters. “It’s really a blessing to have a World Series bracelet because I know after a 13-year journey how hard it is to get one.”
Koral’s achievement came after a strong performance in a 298-player field in Event #55, the $1,500 buy-in Seven Card Stud competition, and ironically came in a game style that he regards as not his best. “It’s probably my fourth or fifth best game,” he admitted.
He enjoyed a good run, taking the chip lead in Day 2 and maintaining a position among the top five stacks as the contest progressed and the field dwindled.
Entering the final table stage it was fellow US pro Tsong Lin who held the most chips on the table, with Koral around the middle to lower stacks.
Tsong Lin looked pretty unbeatable at the four-handed stage of play, holding 75 percent of the chips in play, but Koral remained unfazed as the other two survivors were eliminated and he faced Tsong Lin in the heads up with a 17 to 1 disadvantage.
Then the seemingly impossible happened; Koral scored a major double up and then went on a fiercely aggressive run, claiming his opponent’s chips in a four-hour heads up confrontation that eventually saw him claim victory, $96,907 in prize money and that elusive bracelet.
Tsong Lin’s impressive performance was rewarded by a $ 59,894 runner up prize.
Other final table pay-days included:
Yueqi Zhu $41,349
Alexander Freund $29,102
Todd Bui $20,888
Cheryl Denzik $15,297
Daniel Mogavero $11,433
Chris Tryba $8,726