Naoya Kihara Creates History at WSOP 2012

In a 6-Handed Pot Limit Omaha event with a $5,000 buy-in, Naoya Kihara created history by becoming the first player from Japan to win a title at the WSOP. He collected more than $500,000 in prize money when he won the event after besting a field of 418. The player, who took up poker recently, stated that Omaha is not his best game. However, his performance at the final table – especially after the elimination of the last four players from the final table – indicate otherwise. According to Kihara, he has played close to two million hands in Hold’em, 250,000 in PLO Hi-Lo and just 150,000 in PLO.

WSOP 2012

First Elimination at De Maci’s Hand

The first elimination at the six handed final table was by Chris De Maci. From the small blind, he called a bet after cards folded around him. From the big blind, Tommy Le bet the pot, a move that De Maci called. When the flop brought K-9-2, De Maci checked. Le added 144,000 to the pot, which brought an all-in from De Maci, which the former had to then call. Le showed A-Q-J-9 for a 2nd pair (with outs for a flush), but his opponent revealed K-5-4-2 for a 2 pair. When the turn and river brought a Q and 2, De Maci made a full house while Le had to leave the table with a little over $64,000.

Three Players Fall to Kihara’s Moves

The next to be sent to the rails was Davidi Kitai, who started as the chip lead when the final table was formed. In a hand that brought down the chances of him making it ahead, from under the gun, Kitao wagered 60,000. This was raised to 210,000 by Kihara, followed by a pot bet from Kitai. Kihara called it, after which the players reached a flop with 9-8-4. Kihara added 750,000, and Kitai went all-in. Though Kihara held Q-J-T-9, Kitai had A-A-J-T, which was considerably superior. When a 7 landed on the turn, both players were on even ground. However, a T on the last street helped Kihara made a Q-high straight to bag the top prize.

Hans Winzeler was sent out of the game in fourth place after he fought for the second time, to make it to the top in the event (last year, he made it to the place of the runner-up). From the button, he bet 140,000, a move that Kihara called as the big blind. When the former went all-in, his opponent called. On a flop, turn and river that did not help his hand, Winzeler left. Ten minutes later, Dan Hindlin too was sent to the rails at the hands of Kihara. After eliminating three players from the final table, Kihara was in the lead in chip count when heads-up play between him and De Maci started. Read more about poker events that have created history this year, at

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One Response to “Naoya Kihara Creates History at WSOP 2012”

  1. […] From the beginning, Palumbo played a dominating game. Even though it wasn’t easy for him, his win was characterized by the comebacks he made even when his opponents wore his stack down. A couple of days ago, Naoya Kihara created history by becoming the first player from Japan to win a WSOP bracelet. To know more about it, click here. […]

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