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Japan Secures First Ever WSOP Bracelet

Former physics student turned professional poker player, Naoya Kihara, has become the first poker player from Japan to win a World Series of Poker 2012 (WSOP) bracelet. 

Kihara did not just defeat 419 players to win the $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Six-Handed tournament - he destroyed them. The tournament created a prize pool of $1,969,300, and Kihara took home $512,029 for his victory.

As usual for a WSOP event, the field was stacked full of quality poker players, and when the chips were bagged and tagged after Day 1, one of the toughest was at the top. 

David Benyamine is a WSOP bracelet holder who has played the very highest cash game stakes that the world has seen, and he finished as the Day 1 chip leader (Benyamine went on to finish in 14th place for $20,579).

Then, midway through Day 2, the man from Japan, turned into a one-man wrecking crew. 

Kihara was eliminating top quality players for fun, accumulating in the eliminations of Tom Marchese and Samuel Chartier. With twenty-four players left in the field, Kihara held more chips than the average player would have seated at the final table itself.

During the final day, and seated at the final table, Kihara continued his dominance, and he was eventually crowned the winner after defeating Chris De Maci in a short heads-up encounter. 

De Maci picked up $316,308 for his runner-up spot, which was his second largest score of his live tournament career.


Last Updated 22 May 2014
Japan secures First Ever WSOP Bracelet