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Melbourne’s Martin Kozlov wins Gold Bracelet at 2016 WSOP

Fri, Jul 8, 10:06am by Staff Writer

Martin KozlovAustralia finally got on the board at the 2016 World Series of Poker, as Melbourne resident Martin Kozlov bagged the country’s first gold bracelet of the northern summer on June 25.

Primarily a cash game player by trade, Kozlov managed to outlast 293 opponents to capture the crown in Event #39 ($10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed Championship), along with USD$665,709 in prize money.

In doing so, Kozlov secured Australia’s 22nd gold bracelet win in the WSOP’s 47th annual edition, which puts the nation in fifth place behind Germany (26 bracelets) on the all-time international leaderboard.

Kozlov also became just the 16th Australian to win poker’s most prestigious prize, joining the likes of legendary six-time bracelet winner Jeffrey Lisandro and 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem.

Boasting a steep buy-in of USD$10,000 – the same price paid by Hachem to enter the Main Event 11 years ago – the Six-Handed NLHE Championship condensed the usual nine-handed poker play down to six players per table. The result of this six-handed format is a more frenetic, action packed poker experience, as players are forced to commit blind bets much more frequently.

Following two full days of play, the field was whittled down to the unofficial final table of seven players midway through Day 3, with Kozlov sitting in fourth-place on the leaderboard holding 2.1 million chips.

Joining him on the final table stage was a murderer’s row of poker professionals, four of whom had already earned WSOP gold before, including five-time bracelet winner Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson, three-time winner Davidi Kitai, and single bracelet holders Justin Bonomo and Nick Petrangelo.

After London-based pro Jack Salter exited in sixth place, falling in a three-way pot in which Kozlov scooped most of the chips, Petrangelo was the next to go in fifth place.

Kozlov then dispatched poker’s newest villain and former Full Tilt Poker head honcho Ferguson in fourth place, setting up what most observers expected to be a prolonged three-way battle.

Instead, a little more than 20 hands later, Kozlov experienced the dream scenario, as both Bonomo and Kitai committed the rest of their chips. Kozlov held pocket queens to Bonomo’s pocket nines and Kitai’s pocket sixes, meaning a safe run of five community cards would deliver his first WSOP bracelet in dramatic fashion courtesy of a rare double-knockout.

In a flash, the dealer delivered a flop of queen-queen-seven, giving Kozlov an unbeatable hand of four queens, and leaving both of his crestfallen opponents drawing dead.

And just like that, Australia’s newest poker champion was crowned.

During an interview with WSOP.com’s Nolan Dalla shortly after the final card was dealt, Kozlov spoke about the tournament’s elite level of competition, and his pride in winning one of the WSOP’s premier USD$10,000 buy-in Championship-level events:

“Winning this tournament is very satisfying. It’s tough. It’s prestigious. It’s some of the best players out there,” he said.

“I usually just play cash games. But sometimes I also play a few tournaments – especially when I am feeling it. This year at the series, I’ve been feeling it.”


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