They say the first World Series of Poker bracelet is the sweetest, and that has to be true, especially when it also comes with nearly $3 million in cash.
Masashi Oya is $2.9 million richer after wining his first bracelet at the WSOP $100,000 Ultra High Roller at Atlantis Bahamas, and he had to run a gauntlet of eight proven killers who work at the highest levels of their trade at the final table to do it.
Ben Heath was next to be bounced. If he managed one place higher, he would have broken the $20 million in lifetime tournament winnings mark, but he had to settle for seventh and $430,000. He was knocked out holding pocket aces after Oya hit a runner-runner straight.
Ivan Luca, second on the all-time money list for Argentinians, went deep in three high-roller events in December, finishing 12th in both before getting stopped in sixth in Paradise. The $555,000 for sixth pushed him through the $7 million barrier.
Nick Schulman brought five WSOP bracelets and $17 million in cashes to the final table, but number six will have to wait. Instead, he gets $731,000 and nothing else.
Quan Zhou also pushed his lifetime poker tournament booty over the $7 million mark with a fourth place finish. He won the EPT Mystery Bounty in Cyprus for $283,623 in October.
Leon Sturm is only six months removed from his lifetime best cash of $1,546,000 for winning the $50,000 High Roller in Las Vegas this summer. He now has his second million-dollar cash for finishing third. The $1,322,000 leaves him just a Maserati shy of the $5 million mark.
That left Jason Koon, a high stakes tournament monster and reigning Triton Poker Super High Roller tour’s Play of the Year as the final boss. The battle was a short one, and after only a few hands, all the money went in with both players holding a straight. Koon had the baby end, and that was it for the man with $55 million in tournament cashes. The $1.8 million he won is his sixth-best cash.
Koon also finished fourth in the $50,000 high roller event in Paradise for $582,000.
And that left Oya with the hardware and $2.9 million. He also finished fifth in the $25,000 high roller in the Bahamas for another $225,000.
The victory game the man from Japan gave him first WSOP bracelet and pushed his lifetime winnings over the $5.5 million mark. And he hit that in about two years.
He lit his rocket ship in late December of 2021 when he won a $1,100 Mid-Stakes Poker Tour event at the Venetian for $161,780. A week later, he finished third in a $10,000 PokerGO Tour event for another $59,200, and been blasting through mostly high-stakes fields ever since.
The first six months of 2022 saw him make nine final tables in events where he was the runner-up four times that includes a near miss in a $50,000 PokerGO Tour event in March for $504,000.
He plans on taking this heater to Las Vegas and try to get a piece of the $40 million that’s guaranteed in the WPT World Championship’s headliner.
According to the WSOP:
“Oya expressed through a translator that he was absolutely elated to take down his first bracelet in such a huge tournament. The accomplishment was made even more special by the fact that the victory doubles his lifetime career live earnings and that it will be only the ninth bracelet to ever head home with a player from Japan.
Oya isn’t done in The Bahamas yet, though, as he plans to finish out the WSOP Paradise before heading to Las Vegas for the WPT World Championship where he’ll look to put himself in position to chase down another seven-figure score.”
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