As Brad Owen stood from his seat at the WPT Garden Poker Championship, the crowd gave the World Poker Tour ambassador a hearty round of applause. Things didn’t go the way Owen would have liked during Saturday night’s televised final table with the fan-favorite vlogger exiting the tournament in fourth place for a career-high score of $125,000, but in the immediate moments after his bustout it was clear that Owen is determined to make a tournament return sooner rather than later.
“I feel pretty good overall, some things that I wasn’t quite sure about that ended up backfiring…so that was unfortunate but to make a run like this and make my first WPT final table, that’s pretty incredible,” Owen said. “It’s been a really good year and this won’t be the last final table that I’m at. I’ll take this experience and just try to build on it.”
Owen, who eliminated the final two players before reaching the final table, started the day third in chips but during his nearly three hours at the table just couldn’t really get moving in the right direction. Eventually, with roughly 15 big blinds he made his move all in with from the button and got looked up by fellow poker content creator Ky ‘Suited Superman’ Nguyen holding . When an ace spiked on the turn, Owen smiled, stood, and gave handshakes all around.
“I’m happy to make two pay jumps. When you start out coming into the day in third, you’re a bit disappointed when you end the day in fourth but it’s just been an incredible experience overall. I’m not going to be too disappointed about this.”
It’s well known that Owen cut his teeth grinding cash games. He’s brought his rabid fan base along for the ride on his rise through poker’s ranks from the $2/$5 game in Las Vegas to sitting alongside some of poker’s most legendary names including Phil Ivey and Doyle Brunson.
But for Owen, tournaments have been a new addition to his arsenal, and his sudden success in them is even newer. He has just over $400,000 in recorded tournament earnings with his first career five-figure coming less than a year ago with he finished as the runner-up in a $1,100 side event at the 2022 WPT Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa in August 2022. Tournament poker, especially when followed by success, can be quite the draw and Owen is feeling the pull.
“I feel really good about tournaments. I’ve had an awesome run since I signed as an ambassador with WPT. They’ve given me a lot of opportunities to run deep in some big events. In the past, I haven’t had that much success because I never got into too much of a rhythm. I hadn’t played that many tournaments coming up as a cash game player so to be able to pick up some things and apply them and just kind of build upon everything one step at a time has really helped me out. And I’m going to build upon this and hopefully win a title…and not finish in fourth again.”
All one needs to do is invest some time in his YouTube catalog to know that Owen has experienced nearly part of the poker journey. The highs and the lows and everything in between. When asked to rank his run in the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, along with his career-high six-figure score Owen cracked a smile and tried to put the day in context.
“This is up there, perhaps tied with my WPT World Championship run. That was special because that was just such a massive event and I made it to Day 5 and I had a chance to win seven figures. Unfortunately, I fell a little bit short. Here, this is my first ever six-figure score and I had a better chance at winning an actual title. So it’s special for that reason and to have my family fly out here with friends supporting me on the rail, that’s something that’s special for me as well.”
Sure, in the end, Owen fell in fourth. Maybe not the storybook finish to the tournament that he and his fans would have liked but there looks to be a fire ignited for Owen when it comes to tournaments. So, today he’ll “take a couple of minutes to decompress”, take his rail out for a steak dinner and look forward to some R&R ahead but be on the lookout for Owen to get back on the tournament grind and try to take home a title in the very near future.
“I’m excited to play all tournaments, WPT tournaments are really special for me and I’ve had a lot of success in them. I travel so much with WPT that this is kind of one of the few months where I don’t have any travel planned so I am going to take advantage of that and spend some time with friends and family and relax a little bit so I don’t anticipate too hectic of a WSOP schedule…but that could certainly change.”