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New Jersey native scores first WSOP gold bracelet

18 June 2018

Ryan Bambrick

Ryan Bambrick (photo by WSOP)

Name: Ryan Bambrick
Nationality: American
Birthplace: Ramsey, NJ
Current Residence: Hoboken, NJ
Age: 30
Profession: Day trader
Number of WSOP Cashes: 7
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 1
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 38th in 2017 $1,500 HORSE for $3,795
Total WSOP Earnings: $249,522

Ryan Bambrick took a temporary leave of absence from his job to come out to the World Series of Poker and play an entire schedule. Leading up to the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event, Bambrick had mild success with three cashes to his name.

After Saturday’s performance, however, he might be rethinking returning to his job.

Bambrick earned his fourth cash of the summer on Saturday night, and it was a big one. Bambrick bested 799 entries and earned $217,123 for taking down the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event.

“I was just trying to play my best game the whole time,” said Bambrick. “And whatever happens, happens. I was really focused on trying to win. I wasn’t really concerned about the pay jumps. I was just trying to win a bracelet, to be honest with you.”

Bambrick, who hails from New Jersey, spent the last seven years working as a day trader. After a very profitable few months online, he decided to pack up the stake and go to Vegas.

“I was crushing it for the last five months,” said Bambrick about his online play. “So, I basically took that bankroll and came out here for the whole six weeks and am just playing every event.”

The 30-year-old said he’s been playing online poker since the start of the Moneymaker boom and he’s had a few spurts where he played as a professional. Regardless of whether it was his sole source of income, he always at least used it to supplement his income.

When he came out here to play a full slate of events, he told his boss that there was a chance he might not come back.

“I kind of left it up in the air with my company when I left to come out here,” said the Hoboken, NJ resident. “I told them I kind of wanted to play poker for now. I was going to see how the World Series went and let them know after. There is a lot of flexibility in my job because it’s all performance based.”

If the early returns are any indication, it looks like Bambrick will be on the felt full-time again.

Even with a decade and a half of online experience, Bambrick lacked an extensive live tournament resume. Before his win on Saturday, he only had $46,706 in live earnings and was at his first-ever WSOP final table, which was streamed live on PokerGO.

Bambrick enjoyed the spectacle that is a WSOP final table and had lots of friends and family tuning in back home.

“It was a lot of fun. That’s the best way I can describe it,” said Bambrick. “I enjoyed every bit of it. It wasn’t too daunting. It was more exciting than anything. I had a lot of people watching the stream and my phone was blowing up the whole time.”

There were 13 players that survived the first two days of play. The final day resumed at noon and within a couple of hours, the final table was reached. Victor Ramdin, Lexy Gavin and Jeanmarc Thomas were the first three players eliminated, which brought a total redraw for the final 10 players, who sat at the unofficial final table.

George Xu bubbled the final table. He finished in 10th place and the final nine players were all at the final table, with Bambrick leading the way. Once the final table was reached, Sampo Ryynanen took over and made his move to the top.

The Finnish pro started that journey with the elimination of Pushpinder Singh in ninth place. Singh flopped top two pair and got all in against Ryynanen’s top pair and the nut flush draw. Ryynanen didn’t make a flush, but he did hit runners to make Broadway to eliminate Singh.

Only a few hands after Singh was sent packing, Randy White was following him out of the final table area. White was all in preflop against Bambrick. Bambrick turned a king to make top set and left White drawing dead to the river.

The early eliminations piled up quickly with Danny Woolard being eliminated just 10 minutes after White. Woolard got the last of his stack into the middle on the flop with top pair against Tim McDermott’s second pair and the nut flush draw.

McDermott turned two pair and rivered a full house. Woolard was eliminated in seventh.

The eliminations slowed during six-handed play, but the chips still were flying. There were several double ups and Ryynanen took over Bambrick’s position atop the chip counts.

It took another two levels of six-handed poker before Jody Fayant busted to Ryynanen. Fayant got all in preflop with queens and fours in his hands against Ryynanen.

Fayant needed a queen or a four or some diamonds to stay alive. He flopped a diamond draw but couldn’t improve any further. Ryynanen’s kings held up to take the pot.

On one of the last hands of the level, Jared Ingles fell in fifth place. He was down to just a couple of big blinds and got all in preflop with JdTh8h8s against McDermott. The board ran out and McDermott won the pot with aces up to eliminate another player.

The final four players took an hour dinner break and returned to eliminate Phil Riley in fourth. McDermott scored the knockout on Riley as well. Riley got all in preflop with aces in his hand against McDermott’s jack-high rundown hand with three hearts.

“It’s a fair fight!” yelled McDermott’s supporters from the rail.

McDermott flopped a nine and turned a third one to crack Riley’s aces and sent him to the payout cage to collect his $66,342 fourth place money.

Ryynanen had the chip lead at the outset of three-handed play, but Bambrick scored a double up early in three-handed action to regain the chip lead for good. Bambrick got all in on the turn with a set of sixes against Ryynanen’s open ended straight draw and a flush draw.

The river bricked off for Ryynanen and Bambrick doubled up into the chip lead, which he would never relinquish.

“That was a big hand,” said Bambrick about the key double through Ryynanen. “It’s a good thing I didn’t try and bluff on the flop, even though I had raised preflop. I checked it and it was a beautiful card for me on the turn … I had played with that guy a lot on Day 2 and I got to know his style pretty well, which definitely helped.”

Bambrick flopped a boat to eliminate McDermott in third and extend his chip lead to go heads-up against Ryynanen. After playing heads-up for about 30 minutes, Ryynanen flopped middle pair and a straight draw against Bambrick’s overpair.

They got all in on the flop, neither player improved, and Bambrick shipped his first bracelet. After his victory, Bambrick had nothing but good things to say about his opponent’s skill level.

“He played really well,” said Bambrick. “He was a really tough opponent, but I don’t know. The cards went my way.”

Final table results
1st: Ryan Bambrick - $217,123
2nd: Sampo Ryynanen - $134,138
3rd: Tim McDermott - $93,639
4th: Phil Riley - $66,342
5th: Jared Ingles - $47,713
6th: Jody Fayant - $34,843
7th: Danny Woolard - $25,841
8th: Randy White - $19,469
9th: Pushpinder Singh - $11,596

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

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