UK Omaha specialist Richard Gryko won his first World Series of Poker bracelet in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday, getting the best of a star-studded final table in the WSOP Europe's Event #3: €3,250 Eight-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha.
Gryko, who ran deep in two Omaha events at the 2014 WSOP and finished fifth in the 2009 WSOP Europe £2,650 Pot-Limit Hold'em/Omaha, earned €126,345 for the win, outlasting a field of 161 players and a final table that included WSOP bracelet winners Mike Leah and Max Pescatori. World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour title holder Roberto Romanello was also at the final table, plus German standout and now 10-time WSOP final table participant Ismael Bojang.
"I haven't really begun to process this yet," an elated Gryko told PokerNews. "All I can say is that I've been a poker player since well before I should legally have been a poker player, so I guess a long time has been leading up to today."
In the key hand that set up Gryko's cruise to a heads-up match with Leah, Bojang was actually the first to exit the final, getting it in on the wrong end of a full house over full house debacle with Gryko.
Pescatori's bid for a third bracelet on the year then fell short in seventh place when he got short and got in with kings and a suited ace against Mikkel Plum's kings with a suited three-gapper, only to see Plum break the chop by making trip fives.
Benjamin Pollack went next, getting his chips in holding a pair of queens and deuces only to see Leah flop a set of sixes and a wrap.
Gryko had a healthy lead at that point, but Leah crept up on him, busting Lawrence Lazar next, outkicking him when they both flopped a pair of jacks.
Leah then took the lead busting Romanello fourth when the two tangled in a massive pot with Leah flopping top set and holding against Romanello's pair, flush draw and open-ender.
Leah increased that lead going into heads up by busting Plum third soon after, getting it in with a wrap against a made straight and improving to Broadway.
However, Gryko managed to double up when he got his stack in with a bigger two pair than Leah's and actually took the lead heads-up making a straight on the river to crack another two-pair from Leah a little later.
"He's obviously a very good live tournament player," Gryko said of Leah. "But I specialise in playing Omaha online. So when it got to 80 big blinds deep playing Omaha for a bracelet, that's pretty much as good a shot as I could ask for.
"It's my best game with deep stacks and you can't really ask for much more."
Leah did not go down easily, but failed to find a key double up, eventually getting it in with top two and bowing out second when Gryko rivered a flush.
"The sight of the river card was just... I don't know, I don't think I've ever fist pumped from winning a tournament, so that should give you some idea of how much it means," he said.
Gryko said his strategy was to simply avoid pitfalls and adjust to where the chips and cards were falling throughout.
"In very vague sense I wanted to stay out of trouble early, see how the stacks distributions developed and formulate a plan after that," he explained. "Omaha is a volatile enough game and money flies around the table, so if you have a strategy for a particular set of circumstances, it can change very quickly."
Here's how the final table finished up:
Final Table Results
|5||Lawrence Lazar||United States||€29,940|
As the 2015 WSOP Europe rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage.