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Making History: Blair Hinkle Wins Event 23
By winning event 23, Blair Hinkle joined his brother Grant in the bracelet winner's circle and the pair of them made history, becoming the first brothers ever to win bracelets in the same year.
Blair dominated his final table with some extremely strong play, and afterward, he faced an equally tough challenge: the aggressive questioning styles of PokerListings.com.
Congratulation on your victory Blair. What does it feel like winning a bracelet, given that your brother previously won Event 2?
Well it means probably more than just winning. We're setting a record here, and he was the one who got me going in poker besides my grandmother; it was definitely a family thing. So I'm just really happy we could both win in the same year. It's been a blast.
Of course, people are going to speculate if the pair of you played each other, who would win?
I'm not sure. If we're playing No-Limit, I think I would have an edge on him, but if we were playing Limit or Stud, then he's much better at those games than me. He'd crush me in Limit Hold'em, that's for sure.
He wasn't actually able to make it to the final table, was he?
I actually called him at five in the morning, and he's been looking for flights out of Kansas City, and he couldn't find one. He'd definitely be here if he could; I know he was watching it all online.
Dustin Dirksen seemed like the only player with the same level of aggression as yourself. Was it really important to knock him out as soon as possible?
That felt great. He pulled a nasty bluff on me last night, and I just had a feeling I wouldn't be able to open up my game until he was off the table ... he's able to make a lot of moves post-flop and really turn the heat up post-flop, and I was glad to see him off the table. This left me on the table with players who were a bit tighter and allowed me to open up and pick up a lot of pots uncontested.
Once you actually did get short-handed, was it much easier to attack given that all the other players were playing much tighter than you?
I had them covered the whole way when we were short-handed, and the only thing that set me back a bit was when I got one guy all-in with A-Q versus Q-J and he rivered a straight on me. That knocked me back a bit and also gave him enough chips to play back at me, but once we got three-handed, I was never going to slow down.
Well, I wouldn't say I'm intimidated, [but] I definitely try and hold back once in a while, because I know good players will pick me off now and then. But my game was to just keep it going. Today when a guy went all-in for $100,000 and Dirksen just called and I shoved for over a million with K-J, that just broke the ice.
I knew if I could make that move on Dirksen in a big pot and get him to fold, then I'd be able to make more moves on him, and eventually I did bluff him out of a really big pot, so that felt good.
Ivey actually said that during that tournament, you were the best player he played against.
That's a pretty big compliment actually, coming from Ivey; he's been my idol ever since I started watching poker four or five years ago. I've always learned from watching him play, not playing on the same table with him on my left! But that compliment means a ton.
Aside from your brother also winning a bracelet, how does this actually feel for you personally?
I don't even know yet, I came to the Series just hoping to go deep in a couple of tournaments. My main goal was to win a bracelet, but you just can't expect to do that with these huge fields every year. But for me to do it in my first year here when I'm playing all the events, it just feels great. It hasn't even sunk in yet.
Thanks for your time.
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Blair takes home just over half a million dollars for his victory, but more than that, along with his brother, they make history as the first brothers to win bracelets in the same year, and only the second brothers to ever both win bracelets. Can they pick up a few more before the end of the series? You'll have to stick with PokerListings.com to find out!