At a final table with two previous World Poker Tour winners, it’s understandable that amateur poker player Jason Brin was overlooked by many observers when considering who might walk away with the first ever WPT Choctaw Main Event title.
But it’s unlikely that he’ll ever be underestimated at a poker table again in his life.
Brin, a 42-year-old amateur who makes his living owning a carpet store in Kansas, topped the 1,175 entrants and a final table loaded with champions to win his first WPT title and $682,975.
It was a stunning result to many, as not only was Brin overshadowed by more famous names at the final table, but he also came into the final phase of play as one of the two shortest stacks remaining in contention.
Instead, most of the attention was focused on the two leaders.
Chip leader Andy Hwang was looking for his second career WPT title, while Darren Elias, sitting second in chips, was hoping to win his third WPT tournament in less than a year.
Even among the short stacks, Brin wasn’t the most interesting story. Mina Greco came into the final table with a few chips less than Brin to be the official short stack, but was still hoping to become the first woman ever to win an open WPT Main Event.
But it was Brin who would write the storybook ending instead.
Despite starting with few chips, it was he who scored the first elimination when his QJ suited outdrew Alex Lysnkey’s AT.
Greco would be dropped in fifth place, her run ending courtesy of Hwang’s pocket kings.
She was quickly followed by Jake Schindler, who took home $224,913 for his fourth place finish.
That left Brin to deal with the two largest stacks, both of whom had already won WPT titles in their careers. For over 100 hands, the three men dueled without any eliminations, the longest stretch of three-handed play in the history of the WPT.
Finally, it was Elias who would see his dream end after 222 final table hands. He moved all-in with Q♣T♦, only to be dominated by Hwang’s K♥T♥. With no help coming for either player on the board, Elias was eliminated, winning $303,593.
The heads-up battle that followed wasn’t quite as epic as the three-player contest, but it was long nonetheless. Hwang started with a significant chip lead, and it wasn’t for nearly 30 hands that Brin took over the pole position.
After more than 60 hands of play, Brin finally found his spot.
Moving all-in with K♦8♣, he got a call from Hwang with Q♦J♥. Once again, the flop, turn and river ran out without any help to either player, and that meant that Brin’s king-high was good enough to earn him a WPT championship.
Hwang took home $468,105 as the runner-up, while Brin received not only the first place prize money, but also a trophy and a Hublot Oceanographic 4000 Watch for his victory.
For Brin, the WPT title doesn’t quite come out of nowhere, but it is a huge step up from his previous oker accomplishments.
Most of his previous cashes, which amounted to just over $100,000 in earnings, had come on the Mid-Stakes Poker Tour and the Heartland Poker Tour, and this was his first recorded tournament win.