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Brooklyn Native Henry Lu Wins First WSOP Bracelet
New York pro Henry Lu’s poker career suffered after Black Friday but turned around in a big way when he won $654,380 and his first WSOP bracelet in Las Vegas Monday.
In a massive upset victory against UK veteran Neil Channing, Lu rallied back from an enormous chip deficit to hand the Brit his second WSOP runner-up finish.
Down to Just One Big Blind
Even more amazingly, when there were two tables left Lu was down to just one big blind after getting his aces cracked by eventual fourth-place finisher Tom Alner.
“It was pretty heartbreaking when I got two-outered on the river. I was about to get up and walk away but I had one big blind left and it was enough to come back and win it,” said Lu.
Lu, re-enacting poker’s clichéd “chip and a chair’ scenario, began a long series of double-ups that saw him enter the final table as the chip leader and go on to win.
“It’s gotta be the best feeling ever for a poker player,” Lu said of winning a WSOP bracelet. “It’s the biggest accomplishment for every poker player and it’s what everyone’s hoping for.”
“This is only my second World Series so it feels pretty incredible to win one,” he added.
Neil Channing, whose first runner-up finish at the WSOP was back in 2010 in the $5k No-Limit Shootout, entered the finale second in chips and made it to heads-up play against Lu before ultimately going broke.
The advantage in the heads-up match was clearly with Channing as Lu fell to a roughly 9 to 2 chip deficit on two separate occasions. But after four hours of one-on-one play Lu had chipped back up to a small lead.
The final hand saw Channing lose an all-in preflop race with A-J failing to improve against Lu’s pocket fours.
Here are the full final table results:
1. Henry Lu - $654,380
2. Neil Channing - $406,409
3. James Mackey - $286,633
4. Tom Alner - $207,019
5. John Nelson - $151,338
6. Hovan Nguyen - $111,961
7. Balazs Botond - $83,802
8. Francois Dur - $63,459
9. Jared Rosenbaum - $48,614
Lu defeated a field of 2,770 to win Event 32, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em.
Lu a Product of the Moneymaker Effect
Henry Lu got his start in poker like so many, watching average-Joe Chris Moneymaker turn a $40 satellite entry into $2.5 million at the World Series of Poker.
“I guess you could say I was part of the Moneymaker effect. A lot of my friends would get together in high school and play super small stakes,” said Lu.
“Then I played a ton online in college when I was at Syracuse University,” he added.
Attending college from 2007 to 2011, Lu planned to continue playing poker online as a way of making a living after graduating. Black Friday forced him to tweak those plans.
“Black Friday basically ruined all my plans for after graduation. I was left in limbo so I decided to move to Toronto to play online with some friends,” explained Lu.
Now back in New York, Lu is restricted to playing underground games and making poker trips like this one to Las Vegas.
But according to Lu the underground games in New York are more of a social activity, as opposed to a professional endeavor.
“I play in underground games here and there but I never do too well. When I play live a lot of the time it’s just for degenerate purposes,” joked Lu.
“I just like to splash around and I don’t expect to win very much. Unless I go on a poker trip like this, like the World Series, I’m trying to win everything whether it’s cash games or tournaments,” he said.
“Back at home I know everyone and everyone knows me so it’s more like a home game where we just have fun."
Like many poker players, Lu isn't sure how long he'll be playing.
“I don’t know where I’ll end up but poker’s treating me well right now so I’m going to stick with it and see where it takes me.”