John Kabbaj wins second bracelet

"When you make a World Series final [table], there is always going to be good players." said John Kabbaj.

The split Omaha high-low/seven-card stud eight-or-better event didn't disappoint. As the 470-player field in Event 25 edged closer to a final table, the poker world buzzed of its potential and ultimately, reality. The final eight included eight-time bracelet winner Erik Seidel, bracelet winners Kabbaj, Thomas "Thunder" Keller and Tom Schneider, WPT Champion Joe Tehan, Mike Leah, Christopher McHugh and Terrence Hastoo, each of them boasting strong tournament résumés. Hastoo was the only player among the group to have never previously appeared at a WSOP final table.

Kabbaj's recent efforts haven't screamed success, but the British pro was able to roll through this challenge to capture his second WSOP bracelet. A victory he desperately needed.

"I have had probably the worst two years of my life," said Kabbaj to the WSOP. "I lost everything I had and had to rebuild. I have started a new life in the last six months and now this is looking good for the future."

The man, once known as "Large," has found a new home in Austria, where he's living in the mountains. He's lost weight, changed his lifestyle and improved his outlook on life. He's been playing poker since he was a teenager and reached his goal in 2009, winning the $10,000 pot-limit hold 'em championship. He finished sixth in the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha championship in 2011, but hadn't earned a significant score in any of his WSOP efforts since. Now, in his 16th WSOP cash, he returns to the top of the poker mountain and hopes to stay there a while.

Kabbaj entered the final table fourth in chips. 2013 double-bracelet winner Tom Schneider went out in eighth for his first cash of the Series, and Kabbaj cracked Leah's A-A-10-6 with K-Q-J-3 to end his tournament in seventh. Kabbaj finally took the lead with six remaining and held it through the eliminations of Seidel and Tehan in sixth and fifth, respectively. This was Seidel's fourth cash of the 2014 WSOP.

The rapid eliminations continued as Kabbaj knocked out Hastoo in fourth, fading a key low-draw, and then extended his lead as McHugh and Keller fought for their opportunity to build a stack once again. Keller succeeded as McHugh faltered, but still trailed Kabbaj by a 2-to-1 margin as they moved to heads-up. Keller was outmatched on Thursday night and for 26 minutes, Kabbaj ran through him to make his way back to the winner's circle.

Other notable finishers include Robert Mizrachi (13th), Owais Ahmed (15th), Matt Glantz (18th) and Mike Matusow (19th).

Below are the complete results of Event 25 at the 2014 World Series of Poker:

Event 25: Split Omaha high-low/seven-card stud high-low
Buy-in: $2,500
Entries: 470
Prize pool: $1,069,250
Players in the money: 48

1. John Kabbaj ($267,327)
2. Thomas Keller ($165,177)
3. Christopher McHugh ($105,000)
4. Terrence Hastoo ($75,713)
5. Joe Tehan ($55,451)
6. Erik Seidel ($41,230)
7. Mike Leah ($31,115)
8. Tom Schneider ($23,833)
9. Tyson Marks ($18,519)
10. Fu Wong ($18,519)
11. Andrey Zhigalov ($14,605)
12. Chris Reslock ($14,605)
13. Robert Mizrachi ($11,676)
14. Allyn Jaffrey Shulman ($11,676)
15. Owais Ahmed ($9,462)
16. Konstantin Puchkov ($9,462)
17. Michael Roeseler ($7,784)
18. Matt Glantz ($7,784)
19. Mike Matusow ($7,784)
20. Matt Lefkowitz ($7,784)
21. Jeet Shetty ($7,784)
22. Raymond Bonavida ($7,784)
23. Jan Erik Sorensen ($7,784)
24. Cameron Tahmasebi ($7,784)
25. Andrew Kelsall ($6,490)
26. Ron Fast ($6,490)
27. Michael Moed ($6,490)
28. Corey Hastings ($6,490)
29. Julie Schneider ($6,490)
30. Bruce Walters ($6,490)
31. Stanislav Parkhomenko ($6,490)
32. Humberto Brenes ($6,490)
33. Mallory Smith ($5,517)
34. Jenne Pojana ($5,517)
35. John D'Agostino ($5,517)
36. Greg Pappas ($5,517)
37. Jon Turner ($5,517)
38. Vanessa Selbst ($5,517)
39. George Danzer ($5,517)
40. Richard Monroe ($5,517)
41. Thomas Butzhammer ($4,694)
42. Tom Koral ($4,694)
43. Daniel Makowsky ($4,694)
44. Thomas Beckstead ($4,694)
45. Joseph Aronesty ($4,694)
46. David Tarbet ($4,694)
47. Michael Chow ($4,694)
48. Dustin Leary ($4,694)