Tournament coverage Poker

Asia making its WSOP mark

Written by Ben Blaschke

The WGM team is off to Las Vegas this weekend ahead of the World Series of Poker main event starting next Sunday 5 July, but with more than 40 of this year’s 68 bracelet events already decided we thought we’d take a quick look at how Asia has fared so far.

Following a disappointing series in 2014, Asian players have performed somewhat better this time around with four final table appearances to this point — two of them from Taiwan!

The first of those was none other than Kitty Kuo, who came closer than ever to scoring that elusive live tournament win with a fourth place finish in the US$1,500 No Limit Hold’em (NLHE) Shootout. Kitty scored US$82,890 for her efforts but was quickly overshadowed by none other than fellow Taiwanese Terry Fan. No stranger to success back home, Fan is best known for winning the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon in 2013 and very nearly added a WSOP bracelet before finishing fifth in the US$3,000 NLHE.

Ironically, in field of 989 players, one of the four players to finish ahead of him was Philippines resident and three-time Asian Poker Tour (APT) Player of the Year Sam Razavi!

Already known for his relentless consistency, Razavi’s fourth-place finish caps another remarkable run which has also seen him final table the APT Vietnam and APT Weekend Series Manila main events.

Continuing the Philippines theme was Andrew Gaw, who finished third in the US$1,500 Split Format event for US$109,015, but the biggest story of this year’s WSOP – perhaps with the exception of Phil Hellmuth winning his 14th bracelet – has been Christian Pham’s victory in the US$1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw.

Born and raised in Vietnam before migrating to the USA 15 years ago, the 40-year-old registered for the 2-7 Single Draw event by accident – believing he was registering for a US$1,500 NLHE event instead – and didn’t realise his mistake until he was dealt five cards instead of two. Yet rather than panic, Pham proved a quick learner. Utilizing the generous advice of his table mates and watching their play closely, he finished Day 1 as chip leader, still held the lead at the end of Day 2 and by the end of the third was the proud owner of a gold bracelet and US$81,314 in cash.