|Sep 9 - 10, 2023||
Mixed Games Championship - ENDECATHLON (Event #A3)
Born in Japan, Naoya Kihara who currently resides in Tokyo, is the very first Japanese Player who has won a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet.
Originally a professional Backgammon player, Kihara didn’t find much difficulty in shifting his game to poker. While still playing backgammon, he started playing online poker under the alias “nkeyno”. He started online in 2010 but by the end of 2011, he had notched up two big tournament results in a row for a combined total of USD$50,000. Later on, “nkeyno” began playing larger buy in events, and added a USD$22,000 score to his bankroll before placing 6th in a Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) event saw his bankroll boosted by USD$44,000. That alone would have been a good year, but it was swiftly followed by over USD$102,000 for 3rd place in another SCOOP event, and over USD$150,000 for runner up in the Sunday Million shortly after. Early 2013, he once again took home a sizable payday of USD$44,000 when he finished runner up in a SCOOP Omaha hi/lo event.
In the live arena, Kihara had the distinguished honor of being the first ever Japanese player to win a WSOP bracelet, which he managed in 2012. Winning the PLO 6 handed event netted him over USD$512,000 in prize money and sent him rocketing up Japan‘s all time money list. It was also in this year that he joined PokerStars Team Pro as its first Japanese member.
After his WSOP win, however, he cashed consistently in the live tournaments that he joined in the US, Asian and European circuits but none could compare to that WSOP victory.
By 2016, his partnership with PokerStars had ended.
Nonetheless, Kihara has been more illustrious online. In the 2017 SCOOP, he has proven his talent and skill once again by placing 2nd on the low leaderboard and 9th in the overall leaderboard. He is definitely one of the best mixed-game players in the industry.
To date, he is still the 2nd in Japan’s All Time Money List and a formidable player online and offline.
Read more about this player on Somuchpoker :
- September 3, 2016: Naoya Kihara and PokerStars Part Ways
- July 22, 2016: Jason Mercier crowned WSOP POY, Naoya Kihara tops Asian contingent
- February 3, 2016: TCOOP Round Up: Big scores for Agarwal and Kihara, Dinesh “NastyMinder” Alt wins the Main Event
- December 29, 2015: GPI Asian Player of the Year 2015
- September 23, 2015: WCOOP 2015 Latest: Deeb wins a 3rd WCOOP bracelet, Ben86 the $51,000 event, Kihara runs good