Kang Hyun Lee outlasts competition for a WSOP title

18 July 2023

Kang Hyun Lee

Kang Hyun Lee (photo by WSOP)

The Main Event may be over, and the 2023 World Series of Poker is winding down, but as the final card fell in Daniel Weinman's Main Event victory, there were still a few bracelets left to be won. Tonight, Kang Hyun Lee took home the most coveted prize in all of poker and the $236,741 first-place prize money in Event #92: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Freezeout.

Claiming his first gold bracelet was no easy feat, as there was some serious competition at the final table that he had to make his way through. Vanessa Kade, Kane Kalas, Eric Mizrachi, and Asher Conniff all tried to stand in his way, but in the end, Lee stood alone atop the 1,710-entry field to take home one of the last bracelets that will be won this summer.

The final day started with 126 players returning and scheduled to play down to a winner before night's end. As the day wore on, some big names who came into the day with chips but fell short of their ultimate goal included Angela Jordison (118th - $2,134), Phil Laak (117th - $2,134), Giuseppe Pantaleo (91st - $2,522), Jason DeWitt (49th - $4,816), Mustapha Kanit (45th - $4,817), Cole Ferraro (21st - $9,259) and Day 1 chip leader Ian Steinman (11th - $15,778), who fell just short of his second final table of the series while notching his 15th cash of the summer.

The unofficial final table of ten was cut to nine when Quoc Le got his chips in dominated and found no improvement on the flop, turn or river. Next to fall was Eider Cruz when he got his tens in versus the kings of Ivan Millian and couldn't find any help.

As the action started to pick up at the final table, Kade fell when she ran into the aces of Millian. Just an orbit or so later, Ricardo Nakamura busted when he committed his short stack only to get called and finish second best.

Conniff hit the rail next when he three-bet jammed his short stack with a pair but got called down by a better pair. Five-handed play became a marathon, lasting three hours, but Kalas finally fell in fifth when his dominating hand fell to Millian who hit a flush on the river.

After the five-handed play ended, four-handed play only lasted about 30 minutes before Abdul Almagableh crashed out after he couldn't win a flip.

Millian fell in third place soon after when he got short and called an all in bet blind versus the eventual champion and actually woke up with a premium holding, but he couldn't hold to double up and extend his run any further.

Heads up play started with only about 40 blinds between Mizrachi and Lee, and with Mizrachi holding less than 10 of them, the all-ins happened quickly. After a few hands that didn't see a flop, Mizrachi was committed to the pot in the big blind and called off with a dominated hand, and when the board produced no improvement, Lee was crowned champion.

"It feels amazing,” said Lee. “Just being a poker enthusiast my whole life, to finally get the most coveted award in the game, it just feels surreal."

Lee is from Edmonton, Canada, which he says is largely a pot-limit Omaha community with a lot of tournaments in the Western area where there is a huge love for the game, so to say he's done his local community proud is an understatement.

"Yeah, I think I'm going to play a lot more events and probably head out to the WSOP Paradise that they just introduced this year," said Lee when asked what the boost in his bankroll means to his future plans.

He said that his immediate plans were to head for a couple of drinks to celebrate and then close off the summer by getting some rest and hopping into the final bracelet event of that summer tomorrow morning.

Final table results:
Place Player Country Prize
1 Kang Hyun Lee Canada $236,741
2 Eric Mizrachi United States $146,335
3 Ivan Millian United States $106,602
4 Abdul Almagableh United States $78,495
5 Kane Kalas United States $59,429
6 Asher Conniff United States $43,372
7 Ricardo Nakamura United States $33,461
8 Vanessa Kade United States $25,749
9 Eider Cruz United States $20,041

Related Links
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World Series of Poker Gaming Vendor Information


(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)
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