James Chen dominates to win first WSOP bracelet

1 June 2024

James Chen

James Chen (photo by WSOP)

The largest field Omaha eight-or-better tournament of the 2024 World Series of Poker has come to its conclusion. A total of 928 entrants came out to play WSOP Event #4: $1,500 Omaha 8 or Better, the first mixed-game tournament of the summer, creating a massive prize pool of $1,238,880.

James Chen ended the first day of the tournament with an overwhelming chip lead over the rest of 278 survivors, and on the second day, he bagged third place stack over 22. After roughly seven hours at the final table, Chen conquered his first WSOP bracelet, beating Lewis Brant heads up to collect $209,350.

"It's great," the Pittsburgh resident said, surrounded by a large rail of supportive friends. "I play Omaha and the different variants. I primarily play cash games, but at The World Series I usually just play tournaments."

Last year Chen finished in second place in the $10,000 Omaha 8 or better event to Ben Lamb for a career-best score of $304,571. "Last year to come so close was disappointing, but this year to get it done was amazing."

Throughout the latter half of the final table, Chen commanded the table. He held more than two-thirds of the chips in play with four players left, and continued that momentum on towards victory. "It was fun, cards were hitting. I made a lot of hands and it was great."

Chen confirmed that he will be playing the $10,000 variant of this event tomorrow and plenty of other events during the summer. For now he will be spending his Friday night with his friends from the rail.

The beginning of the day ensured that the new champion would claim their first bracelet as the other bracelet holders fell. Eric Baldwin (19th-$8,129) joined the rail with Ben Yu (15th-$9,988) following him out the door a little while later, the latter collecting points for the 25k Fantasy Draft. It took just under four hours for the field of 22 to reach the final 9.

Just before the unofficial final table was reached, Three-time WSOP bracelet winner John "Miami" Cernuto was forced all in from the big blind. Lewis Brant had made a flush to scoop a side pot and the main Cernuto's pair of kings was not enough to stay alive. The field and rail clapped out of respect as the 80-year-old WSOP legend was eliminated from the tournament.

It did not take too long for the field to lose a player as poker pro and commentator Jamie Kerstetter came into the unofficial final table of nine players with just two big bets. In her final hand, she held ace, queen, jack, six, but the board provided no help to her and it was Lewis Brant's ace, king, ten, three that had made a full house and Kerstetter ended her tournament in ninth place for $15,920. Kerstetter's elimination brought the final eight to the official final table.

Todd Dakake lost a big pot to Pearce Arnold, leaving him quite short among the eight remaining. Dakake's final hand saw him check his option in the big blind and flop a straight against Sovann Pen's middle set. Both players got their chips in on the turn, where Dakake had made a higher straight and Pen had made a low, but the river paired the board to give Pen a full house while Dakake collected $20,640 for his eighth-place finish.

It only took a couple more minutes to lose another player as Curtis Phelps got in his final chips with ace, queen, queen, two against Brant's ace, queen, three, two. The flop contained both an ace and a three on it, with nothing changing on the following streets and Brant took the lead of the table, while Phelps finished in seventh place for $27,227.

What followed was a long 6-handed battle that saw many lead changes and many massive swings for all of the players. Sovann Pen ended up rising higher in the counts until he had a dominant lead over the final players, while Chen fell to the shortest stack. Chen ended up scooping a key pot against Filatov, which had the leaderboard shift once more. By the end of this long excursion, the shakedown saw Pen with a third of the chips in play.

Aleksey Filatov would be the next to fall. His fate was sealed at the hands of Adam Nattress, after getting in his extremely short stack with bottom two against Nattress' top pair. His top pair turned into top two shortly after, giving a boost to Nattress' stack, while Filatov collected $36,531 for his sixth place finish.

Arnold departed the field shortly after. Coming back from the dinner break, he had just under one big blind, but managed to ladder and outlast Filatov. His end would come shortly after as he got in his final chips with ace, nine, seven, two against Chen's ace, king, queen, jack. An all high-card flop left very little hope for Arnold and by the river, it was Chen's kings and queens taking in the pot and giving him the chip lead, while Arnold ended his run in fifth place, good for $49,842.

What followed was described as "rampage" by Pen as Chen amassed a large percentage of the chips in play. From grabbing half of the chips in play with four left, to grabbing eighty percent of the chips in play with four left. Nattress ended up as the shortest left and got all of his chips in with top pair top kicker on a ten-high board, while Chen looked him up with a pair of kings and a flush draw. The turn gave Nattress tens up, but the river gave Chen a set of kings and he took down the pot to further pad his lead while Nattress took $69,129 for his fourth-place finish.

A couple of minutes passed before Pen departed from the tournament in third place. Pen and Chen got involved in a pot on a nine-high flop where Pen called down with nines and sevens with an ace-kicker. It was no good against Chen's three nines with an ace as well as the second nut low. Chen took what was an 11:1 chip lead into heads-up play, while Pen collected $97,445 for his efforts.

The beginning of heads-up play saw some momentum swinging in the direction of Brant as the initial 11:1 deficit shrunk to just a 3:1 deficit. The momentum swung back into Chen's court as the time went on with the final hand seeing Brant call his last big blind all in blind. Brant held a flush draw on the turn, but the river completed his flush while simultaneously giving Chen a boat to win the title, while Brant finished in second place for a career-best cash of $139,563.

Final Table Results
1 James Chen United States $209,350
2 Lewis Brant United States $139,563
3 Sovann Pen United States $97,445
4 Adam Nattress United States $69,129
5 Curtis Phelps United States $49,842
6 Pearce Arnold United States $36,531
7 Curtis Phelps United States $27,227
8 Todd Dakake United States $20,640

Related Links
Ranked Online Poker Rooms
World Series of Poker Gaming Vendor Information


(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
Featured Vendors
Regulatory Management Counselors, PC
Talisman Group Creators of EZ Baccarat
Regulatory Management Counselors, PC
Over 45 years of experience serving the legal and regulatory needs of casino industry clients
Talisman Group Creators of EZ Baccarat
With over 800 tables in 150+ casinos, EZ Baccarat is the number one brand in baccarat.
TribalHub
Casino Network
TribalHub
25th Annual TribalNet Conference Sept 16-19, 2024 Westgate Las Vegas
Casino Network
20+ years experience selling refurbished slot machines, parts & glass for all major brands
Shenzhen ZhengYuanTai Technology Co., Ltd.
Betson Imperial Parts & Service
Shenzhen ZhengYuanTai Technology Co., Ltd.
14 years experienced gaming display manufacturer: open frame, curved, and halo monitors
Betson Imperial Parts & Service
Your one stop shop for all your gaming and OEM needs!
Casino Schedule Ease
AmericanChecked
Casino Schedule Ease
Full Featured & customizable for the complex scheduling needs of table games & other casino depts
AmericanChecked
Background checks for the gaming industry with key & non-key packages & fingerprinting solutions
Imagine This
Players Pal
Imagine This
Imagine This #1 Source for Player Gifts. Over $50 million in stock ready to ship! Let us serve you!
Players Pal
Revolutionize the way you connect with your casino players with the Players Pal mobile app
Dable Advisory & Consulting Services
Casino City Press
Dable Advisory & Consulting Services
Advisory & consulting services services for Indigenous entrepreneurs, businesses & organizations
Casino City Press
A leading publisher and distributor of casino and gaming business data and market research reports.
Rymax Marketing Services, Inc.
Slot Machines Unlimited
Rymax Marketing Services, Inc.
Leader in creating award winning player & employee loyalty programs & events proven to increase ROI
Slot Machines Unlimited
Exporter of IGT, Williams, AVP, Trimline, Aristocrat, Konami, Bally, & parts over 20 yrs experience
Texas Slots & Gaming
Top One Tech Limited
Texas Slots & Gaming
Wholesale gaming reimagined. Texas Slots & Gaming is your sustainable gaming partner.
Top One Tech Limited
Global Touch solution partner of choice, 10+ years OEM manufacturing, 100,000+ units application
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Conference
Sunkist Graphics, Inc.
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Conference
The biggest little show in Indian gaming! Save the date: August 12-14, 2024 Oklahoma City
Sunkist Graphics, Inc.
Specializing in the creation of best-of-breed gaming graphics - slot glass, sign faces, and more


Your Guide to 14,941 Gaming Industry Suppliers