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Ex-Oregon runner sees fortune turn at WSOP; Main Event hits money

Chris Brewer is known for his bad luck at the poker table, a reputation he believes has been blown out of proportion.

But the high-stakes pro has run hot this summer at the World Series of Poker.

Brewer won two tournaments last month and was poised to make a deep run in the WSOP Main Event as the money bubble burst Monday. He was unofficially in the top 75 in chips at the dinner break on Day 4 with a little over 700 players remaining, each guaranteed at least $27,500.

The $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship continues Tuesday at Horseshoe Las Vegas, with several notables still chasing the $12.1 million first prize.

“In a lot of the biggest spots over the last two years, I had taken rough beats,” Brewer said. “I think I had bubbled something like five or six $200K-plus buy-ins, so that’s where that came from. Some things also just catch a narrative. Obviously there’s spots I got lucky, too.”

Brewer is originally from Vista, California, and ran track and cross country at Oregon. He was an honorable mention Pac-12 all-academic selection and placed sixth in the 3,000 meters at the 2016 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships as a senior for the Ducks.

While in college, Brewer was introduced to poker. The business major started to study the game and play low stakes at the Full House Poker card room in Eugene, Oregon.

“I started making some money at it in college,” Brewer said. “From there, once I graduated, I decided that’s what I was going to do for a living.”

Brewer was primarily a cash-game player and sat in some of the Los Angeles area’s biggest games. During the coronavirus pandemic, he turned primarily to online poker and had a successful WSOP in 2020 when the series was held online.

In 2021, he returned to the live felt and broke through to win the PokerGO Tour $10,000 No-limit Hold’em Aria High Roller Series event in January, followed by the $25,000 buy-in PokerGO Poker Masters No-limit Hold’em event and the $50,000 World Poker Tour Super High Roller at the Seminole Hard Rock Open.

His success continued the following year with three more wins and several more six-figure scores.

But Brewer also was known for some cruel exits. He was eliminated on the money bubble of the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl VI in 2022 and took a crushing beat against Doug Polk last month in the semifinals of the $25,000 Heads Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship.

It finally evened out for Brewer, as he hit a runner-runner straight during heads-up play to win the $250,000 buy-in Super High Roller No-Limit Hold’em for $5.2 million and his first career bracelet, which are awarded for WSOP tournament wins.

He added a second bracelet two weeks later in the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship.

“It’s something that you want to do as a poker player,” Brewer said. “I think winning the $250K specifically is a cool one. It meant a lot. It felt very, very good to have this all go right.”

Brewer enjoyed a relatively smooth ride in the Main Event while chipping up the first three days. A strong showing will aid Brewer’s quest to win the WSOP player of the year award.

He was in second place behind Ian Matakis through Monday with Shaun Deeb close in third.

“I think it would be awesome. It’d be a really cool thing to do,” Brewer said. “I just have a limit on how much I’m willing to do for it compared to Shaun, who will do everything to try to win it.”

Several top pros remained alive in the Main Event at the dinner break. That includes Chris Moneymaker, whose victory 20 years ago in the Main Event is credited with starting the poker boom.

Former Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is one of a few noteworthy players to make the money, along with boxer Ryan Garcia.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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