Naoya Kihara has made sure his name will forever be written in gold in the annals of poker history when he became the first-ever Japanese contestant to win a gold bracelet in the 43 years that the WSOP has been running.
For some reason or other, no Japanese contestant could ever manage to win what has become one of the most prestigious prizes in poker, although a Japanese contestant finished second at the WSOP Europe last year.
Kihara walked away as the winner in Event number 34, the Six-Handed Pot-Limit Hold’em championship, with a $5,000 buy-in. In the process, he beat 419 other contestants from about 25 different nations and collected a very nice $512,029 in prize money.
In the end, it seemed that even more than the money it was the fact that he did what no other player from Japan could ever do was what mattered the most to Kihara.
Kihara is 30 years old and plays poker professionally. Most of the time, he prefers to play online but after his victory, he says he might travel around the world and play in a couple of live tournaments. Before he turned professional poker player, Kihara used to teach at a private school.
It is not the first time he cashed in at a WSOP event. He also took part in last year’s competition and ended in 653rd place.
In the meantime, the loud Boston circuit grinder Chris Tryba made his very own poker history on Wednesday night when he managed to get a straight flush with his final hand and thereby, won his first-ever gold bracelet.
The man in the cheap white T-shirt has made his fair amount of money at the WSOP tournaments, but this was by far his biggest win, a cool $210,107.