Byron Kaverman is no stranger to success in tournament poker. However, despite years of grinding major events across the globe with tremendous results, the elusive first-place finish still evaded him. That changed on Friday, though, as Kaverman earned his first World Series of Poker bracelet in Event #37: $10,000 Six-Max No-Limit Hold'em Championship.
With nearly $4.3 million in career winnings prior to today's final table, Kaverman was already a respected grinder on the live circuit among his peers. This marked his 20th career WSOP cash, but he's made his presence known primarily on the World Poker Tour, where in Season XII he cashed a tour-leading seven times, including a runner-up showing in the WPT World Championship for $727,860. In addition to that score (the largest of his career), he had a second-place finish at the WPT bestbet Jacksonville Fall Poker Scramble and a fourth-place finish at the WPT Grand Prix de Paris.
"Got second in a couple of those, that was annoying," chuckled Kaverman, "but I feel like I wanted this one a little bit more."
This one was about as tough as it gets. A stacked field and a final table against opponents with combined live winning in excess of $13 million, and millions more on the virtual felt.
"Definitely the toughest," Kaverman said, when asked where this final table ranks in the many he's made in his career. "The final table was very very tough, but things went my way. It feels good."
When the official final table of six began, Kaverman was fifth in chips with just 9.2 percent of the chips in play and 36 big blinds. However, he doubled up on the third hand, getting his stack into the middle after the turn of a board that read with . 2015 bracelet winner Sam Greenwood put Kaverman to the test holding for top pair top kicker, but Kaverman had nothing to sweat holding for a winning flush.
About 30 hands later, Kaverman doubled through Greenwood again, this time in a traditional race situation. Kaverman got his 50-big-blind stack in with against Greenwood's , the board fell and Kaverman took over a chip lead he would never relinquish. He eliminated Greenwood shortly thereafter and followed that up by eliminating short stacks Thomas Muehloecker and Fedor Holz, giving Kaverman nearly a 2.5-1 chip lead entering heads-up play against heads-up phenom Doug Polk.
On just third hand of their heads-up duel, Kaverman scored a devastating blow. With the blinds and antes at the 25,000/50,000/5,000 level, Kaverman (with 5,475,000 to start the hand) opened the button to 125,000 and Polk (with 2,295,000 to start the hand) defended his big blind. The flop came down and Polk check-called 150,000 from Kaverman to see the turn. Polk check-called another 325,000 form Kaverman, landing the river to the board. A third check from Polk led to a third bet from Kaverman, this one for 1.1 million. Polk called, but mucked Kaverman tabled for the nut straight. The WSOP live stream later revealed Polk held for two pair.
That hand left Polk with just 12 big blinds and his chips got into the middle seven hands later with against Kaverman's . The board ran out a clean for Kaverman, clinching the victory and the first WSOP bracelet for the Columbus, Ohio native.
"It was definitely thrilling. Going into the summer this is one of the events that I got really motivated for."
Despite all his live success over the years, now nearly $5 million in live earnings, the mild-mannered and quiet Kaverman hasn't actively sought the spotlight, and doesn't plan to.
"I don't mind attention, but at the same time I don't go out and do a lot of the things that people do to get noticed," said Kaverman. "I just try to go and win tournaments."
Final Table Results
|1||Byron Kaverman||Columbus, OH||$657,351|
|2||Doug Polk||Las Vegas, NV||$406,261|
|4||Thomas Muehloecker||Wien, Austria||$182,448|
|5||Sam Greenwood||Toronto, Ontario, Canada||$126,745|
|6||Paul Volpe||West Chester, PA||$89,934|
Congratulations to Byron Kaverman for his terrific achievement!