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Chanracy Khun Defeats Doug Polk To Win WSOP Heads-Up Championship

The Canadian Earned His First Bracelet To Go Along With His World Poker Tour Title


Chanracy Khun emerged victorious from a star-studded field of 64 entries in the 2023 World Series of Poker $25,000 heads-up no-limit hold’em championship event, defeating three-time bracelet winner and longtime high-stakes heads-up specialist Doug Polk in the final round to earn $507,020 and his first WSOP gold bracelet.

“It feels amazing,” said Khun after securing the victory. “It’s hard to find words. Right now, it’s just so many emotions. It’s three days that you don’t sleep that well, and you’re excited. So maybe tomorrow, I’ll know more [about] how I feel. Right now, I just really feel relief.”

Runner-up Doug PolkKuhn, a World Poker Tour champion who had nearly $1.2 million in prior tournament earnings, was not only contending with a seasoned heads-up player in Polk. He also had to deal with a rowdy rail that was vocally supporting his opponent, all while dealing with a high-leverage spot with a bracelet and hundreds of thousands in prize money hanging in the balance.

“The pressure, it can really get to you. And it did get to me because I did have a couple of mistakes,” said Khun. "Fortunately, it didn’t end up being big mistakes, but there were still mistakes that I normally wouldn’t make, in a normal environment. But I tried my best to keep my composure, and it ended up well.”

In addition to the title and the money, Khun also earned 504 Card Player Player of the Year points and 304 PokerGO Tour points for the win. This was his first qualifying score for either points race.

Khun won six consecutive matches to secure the bracelet, facing Marko Grujic, recent $25,000 six-max event winner from the series Alexandre Vuilleumier, Gabor Szabo, Landon Tice, and high-stakes tournament regular Sean Winter. That semi-final match with Winter was over in a hurry thanks to a huge final hand that saw Khun make the nut straight against a lower straight for his opponent.

Winter earned $192,513 as a semi-finalist. This was his sixth POY-qualified score of the year, with $2,322,019 in POY earnings and 3,028 points accrued along the way. he now sits in 15th place in the 2023 POY standings, which are presented by Global Poker. With nine qualifying cashes for the PGT, he remains the top-ranked player in that points race.

Chris Brewer was Polk’s semi-finals opponent. Like Winter, Brewer has been red-hot in 2023. The former collegiate distance runner has made 11 final tables already this year, winning three titles along the way. The 294 POY points he earned for making the final four in this event place him eighth on the POY leaderboard.

Brewer’s run in this event came to a close in brutal fashion. After a series of preflop raises, all of the chips were in the middle with his pocket kings leading pocket queens for Polk. Brewer’s bigger pocket pair remained ahead through the turn, but a queen on the river gave Polk the double up to take a seemingly insurmountable chip lead. Brewer managed one double-up after Polk finished a few laps around the featured table stage to high-five onlookers, but was soon sent to the rail with $192,513.

The final match lasted over 3 hours. Polk held the lead for much of the match, but it was Khun who came out on top in what turned out to be the decisive hand. Khun limped from the button with 8Spade Suit6Club Suit and Polk checked with QDiamond Suit4Diamond Suit. Khun called and the flop came down 6Diamond Suit5Club Suit3Heart Suit. Polk check-called with his straight draw and the KClub Suit rolled off on the turn. Polk check-raised Khun’s second barrel. Khun made the call and the 9Heart Suit completed the board, missing Polk’s open-ender. He opted to move all-in with his queen high. Khun thought it over before making the call with what had become third pair, earning the pot and the chip lead in the process.

Not long after that, Polk got his last 9.5 big blinds in preflop with K-8 trailing the K-10 suited of Khun. Neither player improved and Polk was eliminated in second place, earning $313,362 for his efforts. The three-time bracelet winner now has more than $10 million in tournament earnings from just 32 recorded cashes.

Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:

Finish Player Earnings POY Points PGT Points
Champion Chanracy Khun $507,020 504 304
Finalist Doug Polk $313,362 420 188
Semi-Finalist Chris Brewer $192,513 294 116
Semi-Finalist Sean Winter $192,513 294 116

Visit the Card Player 2023 World Series of Poker page for schedules, news, interviews, and the latest event results.

Winner photo credit: WSOP / Hayley Hochstetler.