2018 WSOP Event 4: Julien Martini Wins $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better ($239,771)

Julien Martini

The 2018 World Series of Poker has crowned the fourth gold bracelet winner of the summer festival in Sin City, as Event #4: $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better played down to a winner. Initially Scheduled as a 3-day event, the field size of 911 demanded a fourth day to finish the event.

An extra day was added with Julien Martini and Kate Hoang as the two big stacks, with Mack Lee and William Kopp returned on thin ice. It came as no surprise that Martini and Hoang ended up fighting for the title and their first bracelet with the better end for the Frenchman. The 24-year old Martini earned $239,771 for his efforts, the 18th WSOP bracelet for his home country and the 13th French bracelet in Las Vegas, while Hoang had to settle for a payday of $148,150.

PlaceWinnerCountryPrize (USD)
1Julien MartiniFrance$239,771
2Kate HoangUnited States$148,150
3Mack LeeUnited States$104,016
4William KoppUnited States$74,058
5Brandon AgeloffUnited States$53,482
6Chad EveslageUnited States$39,182
7Rafael ConcepcionUnited States$29,128
8Denny AxelUnited States$21,977
9Tammer IlcaffasUnited States$16,832

Hoang already had six WSOP cashes to her name for a total of $252,466, all involving Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better events. She already finished runner-up once before; she came second in 2016 WSOP Event #64: $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better. In 2017, she finished in 8th place in WSOP Event #51: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. She works as a dental office manager and put up a fierce fight, the heads-up battle lasted almost three and a half hours in total.

Martini: "I was very short once, but always believed in it."

Asked about the heads-up duel with Hoang, Martini had the following to say: "Just being patient and taking my time on every decision, and otherwise tried to take my time on every decision. I was very short once, but always believed in it." It was the first bracelet for Martini, who had dreamed of this since he took on poker. "It was a dream when I was 14 years old. What kind of guy can win a $1,500 tournament or a $10,000? I was dreaming about this for seven years, and it is one of the best things in my life. I am very proud and super happy."

With the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship already underway on Day 1, Martini confirmed that he will be entering the competition to take another shot at glory. Whether or not he will face Hoang there once more, remains to be seen.

Martini noticed a particular playing style of Hoang. "I played with her a lot on Day 2 and Day 3. She is playing great, actually. She is very unconventional, I am not used to play this kind of player.

Of the final 16 players, 15 were from the United States and the sole non-American emerged victoriously. "Maybe it is because of the game. Hi-Lo is played mostly in the US, and I live in Asia, born in Europe, and I don't know anyone who plays Limit."

Martini was railed by Taiwan's James Chen, who was eliminated in 23rd place for $6,764 midway through Day 3 and ended up as part of the group winner shot.

Julien Martini

About the Event

The event drew a total of 911 entries. Martini followed into the footsteps of Benny Glaser and Benjamin Zamani. Glaser defeated a 934-entry strong field back in 2016 before also claiming his third bracelet a few days later in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. Zamani won his second WSOP bracelet in 2017 after defeating a field of 905 entries.

Martini: "I was dreaming about this for seven years, and it is one of the best things in my life. I am very proud and super happy."

The money bubble of the 2018 edition burst mid-way through Day 2. Among those to bust in the money were Ryan Laplante (133rd place, $2,252), Chris Tryba (123rd place, $2,317), Robert Mizrachi (90th place, $2,595), John Racener (86th place, $2,595), John Monnette (67th place, $3,127), Benny Glaser (63rd place, $3,526), Perry Friedman (54th place, $4,046), Shaun Deeb (44th place, $4,723), and Peter Eichhardt (39th place, $4,723).

Only 36 players remained for Day 3 and four former bracelet winners were in contention. Mike Leah (30th place, $5,605), Jason Lester (28th place, $5,605), Mike Wattel (21st place, $6,764) and Chris Bjorin (17th place, $8,296) all fell short in their bid for another coveted gold bracelet.

Jeff Shulman (12th place, $13,091) narrowly missed out on the final table, and the final level of the night saw the departure of Chad Eveslage (6th place, $39,182) and Brandon Ageloff (5th place, $53,482).

Action of the Final Day

Julien Martini and Kate Hoang were the big stacks when action resumed while William Kopp and Mack Lee were fighting for the pay jump with just over two big bets each.

Martini: "She is very tough and very hard to play, and a great opponent."

It was Kopp that missed out on the extra money. Lee chopped with Hoang for his tournament life and the very next hand brought the next all in showdown only a few minutes into the day. Kopp three-bet preflop and jammed a jack-ten high flop with ace-queen-queen-ten for an overpair and gutshot straight draw. Hoang called with king-seven-four-deuce for bottom pair, backdoor low, and flush draw. Hoang turned two pair and the river was a blank to reduce the field to the last three.

What followed was a persistent fight by Lee, who tripled once and doubled twice, before losing half of his stack again. Ultimately, Lee got it in after a queen-jack high flop with kings and a straight draw. Martini looked him up with top set and improved to a full house on the turn, then dodged the two outer on the river to set up the duel for the bracelet.

After a slow start to the battle, the stacks and swings became bigger and both Martini and Hoang traded the commanding lead within the first half hour. Martini scooped two big pots in back-to-back hands to pull into a 5-1 lead. However, four pots in a row for Hoang nearly evened out the stacks once more.

It would take almost three and a half hours to finally crown a champion and Hoang lost a big pot before bet-folding a double-paired board with one third of a big bet remaining. One double up and a split pot later, Hoang ended up all in and at risk in the third consecutive hand and couldn't escape from her fate anymore.

Kate Hoang
Kate Hoang Finishes 2nd in Event #4

That wraps up the PokerNews live coverage from the 4th bracelet event of the summer. The cards and chips are flying in several other tournaments at this very moment, so check out PokerNews' WSOP Live Reporting coverage in the PokerNews live reporting hub.

  • Martini snags France's 18th WSOP bracelet!

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A former professional poker player with a background in sports marketing and journalism. Yori has been a part of PokerNews since 2016 and manages the content team.

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