Kalas had one helluva poker year

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Kane Kalas, son of Phillies Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas, is gaining a reputable image as a poker force in the Philadelphia region. Within the past year, Kalas has more than $700K in tournament earnings, stirring up media and nearby poker rooms. His first televised appearance at the WPT Borgata Championship saw him capture his cash ($500,364) finishing second to Darren Elias.

Kalas finished the year strong, claiming first at Parx’s Big Stax IX for $79,015. At the final table sat many notable players, including Ken Silberstein, Joe McKeehen, Greg Himmelbrand and Parx ambassador Matt Glantz.

Himmelbrand, who had the lead heads-up for nearly three levels, fell short-stacked when Kalas called a four-bet all-in with pocket aces. Himmelbrand took second ($47,148) to boost his career earnings to just shy of $800K.

“(It) was a great year for me both on and off of the felt,” Kalas said. “I put in more live tournament volume in 2014 than in any year prior and, as a result, I was able to quickly learn ways to exploit my opponents that may be less relevant or lucrative in the online cash games, to which I am accustomed.
And there’s nothing like notching your first live victory.

“Coming in second in WPT Borgata was very exciting for me as it was my first final table in a major poker tournament and my biggest monetary score,” he said, “(but) winning the Parx Big Stax winter event in December was thrilling in a different way. It marked the first live poker tournament that I’ve taken down. There is something unique about the feeling of holding up a trophy, which represents that you have achieved the best possible result in a tournament with hundreds of entrants. Obviously, variance is a huge factor in poker, specifically in live tournaments and especially when examining the results of one player over the course of only a year. I have no doubt that I ran well in 2014. That being said, I’m certain that, going into 2015, I am playing the best live tournament poker of my career and I am excited by and hopeful about what this year will bring.”

PARX: Big Stax X runs until Feb. 23. Look for results in a future issue.

HARRAH’S/WSOPC: Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City hosted the last World Series of Poker Circuit stop of 2014 on Dec. 11- 22. Justin Liberto, who bubbled the main event, came back the next day to win $10,583 and his first ring in the last event of the series. Liberto has come close to a ring before at the WSOPC main at Harrah’s Philadelphia in April, finishing second.

Mukul Pahuja commemorated the mark of his 5-year poker career by winning the main event for $148,345. Pahuja, who came to the final table as the shortest stack, made five knockouts, including notables Mike Dentale and Adam Teasdale. Dentale, who placed fourth for $49,673, was chipleader starting Day 3 and also at the start of the final table. Second in chips starting Day 3 was Gajan Jeganathan, a high-limit cash player at Parx, who finished third ($67,006). Pahuja is ranked 12th in the Global Poker Index and has almost $3.4M in earnings.

— Email Jo Kim at anteupjokim@gmail.com.