Naoki Kohara wins Blackjack Championship

Noaki Kohara was crowned as champion in the biannual South Pacific blackjack championship held at the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino. Kohara beat 106 other competitors to a $68K prize, bursting out of fifth place with two hefty bets on the final two hands that payed off handsomely at the last moment!

After three preliminary heats on Saturday, 49 competitors advanced to Sunday’s semi-finals. The seven final competitors, who all happened to be Japanese, Kohara, Mitsuaki Indo, Akira Takashima, Chiharu Endo, Hiroe Kawada, Hideo Kawai, and Naoyuki Tsuruta made up the final table.

Tsuruta, the most aggressive finalist, was eliminated about 15 minutes in. Then, a few hands into the second shoe, Kawai was also eliminated. Right until the final two hands, Kohara trained along in fifth place. Desperate, he pushed out with a $700 bet which lifted him up to a stack of $4,400 for a tense final hand.

Kohara shoved in another large bet, $500, and was dealt 13. Kawada had also put down a sizeable bet of $350, and was dealt 12. Both players doubled down. Kohara was dealt a 6, making his hand 19, while Kawada’s ace resulted in 13. The dealer showed 15, drew a 2 to make 17.

Takashima who had been, for the majority of the finals, in the lead, now lost his leading place through a conservative $25 bet on his last hand. To add insult to injury, Takashima was even pushed into third place by Mitsuaki Indo, who slipped in between Kohara and Takashima by virtue of a meaty final bet.

Kohara won $68000 (approx. R464000), Indo took home $24000 (R164000), while Takashima had to be content with the $10000 (R68000) third prize. All other finalists received a $1000 consolation prize.

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