Event #25: No-Limit Hold'em Shootout -- The Dragon Catches Fire

July 19, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM EST  | 

2006 World Series of Poker - Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino – Las Vegas: Official Results and Report

Event #25
No-Limit Hold’em Shootout
Buy-In:  $2,000
Number of Entries:  600
Total Prize Money:  $1,092,000
Defending Champion (2005):   None (New Event)

Official Results:

1. David “Dragon” Pham Cerritos, CA $240,222
2. Charlie Sewell Oklahoma City, OK $124,488
3. Roland DeWolf London, UK $65,520
4. Reno Williamson Mooresville, IN $49,140
5. Chad Layne Henderson, NV $43,680
6. Jason DeWitt South Bend, IN $38,220
7. David Bach Athens, GA $32,760
8. Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf Los Angeles, CA $27,300
9. Adam Kagin Henderson, NV $21,840
10. Jeff Heiberg Buffalo, WY $16,380
11. Kathy Liebert Las Vegas, NV $4,805
12. Yosh Nakano Long Beach, CA $4,805
13. John Kincaid Omaha, NE $4,805
14. William Durkee Pitssburgh, PA $4,805
15. Mike Cooper San Francisco, CA $4,805
16. Chris Clampitt Irmo, SC $4,805
17. David Singer Momaroneck, NY $4,805
18. Frank Blumlem NA $4,805
19. Robert Goldfarb Scottsdale, AZ $4,805
20. Mike Sexton Las Vegas, NV $4,805
21. James Worth Oakville, CANADA $4,805
22. Alan Adler Bakersfield, CA $4,805
23. Tom Franklin Gulfport, MS $4,805
24. Kevin Phillipson Las Vegas, NV $4,805
25. Carlo Cintrone Gafeshead, IRELAND $4,805
26. William Lin Denver, CO $4,805
27. Marek Kolk NA $4,805
28. Chris Smith New York, NY $4,805
29. Vlad Mezheritsky Brooklyn, NY $4,805
30. Blair Rodman Las Vegas, NV $4,805
31. Aaron Ogus Redmond, VA $4,805
32. Ian Woodley London, UK $4,805
33. Andreas Krause Heilbrown, GERMANY $4,805
34. Terry Ballew Reno, NV $4,805
35. Thung Huynh Westminster, CA $4,805
36. Gerald Rhoades Las Vegas, NV $4,805
37. Samuel Korman NA $4,805
38. Joseph Neiman Teaneck, NJ $4,805
39. Tobias Christensen Aarhus, DENMARK $4,805
40. Gary Hammer San Francisco, CA $4,805
41. Roy Vandersluis London, UK $4,805
42. Joe Pelton Newport Beach, CA $4,805
43. Mario Esquerra Whittier, CA $4,805
44. Emil Bayan Fremont, CA $4,805
45. Sverre K. Sundbo San Francisco, CA $4,805
46. Mark Warner Las Vegas, NV $4,805
47. Tracy Scala Boca Raton, FL $4,805
48. Josh Arieh Atlanta, GA $4,805
49. Todd Brunson Las Vegas, NV $4,805
50. Justin Tran Sacramento, CA $4,805
51. Jair Beltran Vancouver, CANADA $4,805
52. Marcel Luske Amsterdam $4,805
53. Michael Davis Spokane, WA $4,805
54. Mark Seif Las Vegas, NV $4,805
55. Gavin Griffin Shorewood, IL $4,805
56. James Woods Beverly Hills, CA $4,805
57. Mariello Del Grosso NA $4,805
58. Jason Fishbein Chicago, IL $4,805
59. Christopher Ferguson Las Vegas, NV $4,805
60. Ramzi Al-Rashid Austin, TX $4,805
61. Shane Littlefield Manchseter, MD $4,805
62. Layne Flack Las Vegas, NV $4,805
63. John Pires San Jose, CA $4,805
64. Randall Holland Winnetka, CA $4,805
65. Antanas Googa Wilnius, LITHUANIA $4,805
66. Michelle Lewis Houston, TX $4,805
67. Keith Naughton Erie, PA $4,805
68. Frederico Barbosa Kennesaw, GA $4,805
69. Joe Paigo Albany, NY $4,805
70. Robert Turner Downey, CA $4,805
71. Brad Anderson Fresno, CA $4,805
72. Jeff Cohen Parkland, FL $4,805
73. Pat McGuire Riverside, CA $4,805
74. Kevin O'Donnell NA $4,805
75. Thomas Fuller Boulder, CO $4,805
76. Unknown NA $4,805
77. Vanessa Selbst Montclair, NJ $4,805
78. Francis Scapula Paris, FRANCE $4,805
79. Carlos J. Zambrano Babylon, NY $4,805
80. Alan P. Sass Las Vegas, NV $4,805
81. Chau T. Giang Las Vegas, NV $4,805
82. Michael C. Anderson Cypress, TX $4,805
83. Kenneth L. Goldstein Los Angeles, CA $4,805
84. Jinyun Lin San Jose, CA $4,805
85. Ricky A. Sherrill Calico Rock, AK $4,805
86. Richard A. Freire Miami Lakes, FL $4,805
87. Jared M. Okon Tampa, FL $4,805
88. Steven B. Jacobs Ardmore, PA $4,805
89. Daniel C. Alaei Las Vegas, NV $4,805
90. Columba Duffy San Rafall, CA $4,805
91. Michael H. Koegler New York, NY $4,805
92. James C. McClendon Henderson, NV $4,805
93. John Duthie London, UK $4,805
94. Paul Friedberg Berkeley, CA $4,805
95. Thomas Bihn Frankfurt, GERMANY $4,805
96. Van Marcus Australia $4,805
97. Evelyn Ng Las Vegas, NV $4,805
98. Bruno Fitoussi Paris, FRANCE $4,805
99. Jeffrey B. Shulman Las Vegas, NV $4,805
100. Arnold G. Spee Agoura Hills, CA $4,805

The Dragon Catches Fire

David “Dragon” Pham Wins His Second WSOP Gold Bracelet

Vietnamese-born poker champ collects $240,222 top prize in No-Limit Hold’em Shootout

Las Vegas, NV – If America is the “land of opportunity,” then poker is the amphitheater for fast-track success.  The green felt provides equal opportunity for just about everyone to become rich and famous.  Things which are important to the rest of society – such as race, religion, age, sex, education, language skills, family ties, personal background, and job title – have absolutely no bearing on who wins or loses at the poker table.  Indeed, poker is the most “democratic” of all games.  Short, tall, skinny, fat, black, white, male, female – none of these things matter when the cards are dealt.  
David “Dragon” Pham arrived in the United States at the age of 17.  During the mid-1980s, he was one of many Vietnamese immigrants who left everything behind in search of a better life.  They crammed into small lifeboats which floated around the South China Sea for days, before being rescued and brought to the United States.  Pham eventually settled down in the Los Angeles area and worked a number of low-wage jobs before being introduced to the game of poker by his cousin.  Pham’s cousin had won several major poker tournaments and was quite well-known within the local Vietnamese-American community.  He even shared some of his prize money with family members.  The cousin’s name was Men “the Master” Nguyen.
   Pham started playing poker about ten years ago, and tutored by his mentor “the Master,” he gradually improved his game.  Before long, Pham was one of the best tournament players in poker.  Pham got so good so fast, that he won Card Player magazine’s “Player of the Year” in 2002.  Pham was anointed as “the Dragon,” an odd nickname considering that Pham is one of the calmest and most polite poker players on the tournament circuit.  Prior to this year, Pham won his only WSOP gold bracelet back in 2001, in the S.H.O.E. championship, a contest of four different games. 
 At the 2006 World Series of Poker, presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light, Pham was one of 600 players who paid $2,000 each to enter the No-Limit Hold’em Shootout.  It took two days to eliminate 590 competitors.  That left ten players to return for the third day to compete for the championship. 
Since the finale was a shootout format, this meant every player at the final table arrived with the exact same number of chips.  Although there were some tough competitors amongst the final ten, David Pham had to like his chances in this field.  He was the only previous WSOP gold bracelet winner of the final ten players. 
 The bust-outs started fast.  Jeff Heiberg went out in tenth place and received $16,380. 
Adam Kagin went out next when his ace in the pocket paired on the turn, but lost to two-pair on the river.  Ninth place paid $21,840.
 Dustin “Neverwin” Wolf was the next player to exit.  The Los Angeles-based pro, well-known to many online poker players, went out with queen-jack suited against an ace-king.  Wolf, who finished 32nd in the main event last year, took eighth-place on this occasion.  He received $27,300.
 David “Gunslinger” Bach was eliminated when his pocket queens were shot down by pocket kings.  Bach, who holds a college degree in psychology from the University of Georgia, tried to figure out the meaning of a seventh-place finish, which paid $32,760.
 Jason DeWitt has been playing poker for only two years.  This was his first WSOP appearance.  DeWitt went out in sixth place when his pocket fours were steamrolled by a higher pair.  DeWitt received $38,220. 
 Chad Layne was the next player ejected.  The insurance broker from Las Vegas cashed out for $43,680 when his ace-ten was topped by pocket jacks.  Layne ended up fifth.
 Reno Williamson went out next.  The manager of a pipe fitting company, Williamson was drilled into a fourth-place finish.  Williamson tried to steal from the button on his final hand of the night, got called, and then lost the hand.  Fourth place paid $49,140.
 Roland De Wolfe was the only non-American to play at the final table.  The English writer turned poker pro took a tough beat when his ace-seven was edged out by David Pham’s ace-eight after an ace flopped.  The higher kicker played and De Wolfe was sent away to howl about his fate.  For third place, De Wolf received $65,520.
 When heads-up play began, David Pham enjoyed a dominating 6 to 1 chip lead over Charles Sewell.  It didn’t take long for the end to come.  The final hand of the tournament was dealt when Sewell moved all-in holding ace-eight.  Pham called with pocket jacks.  The board didn’t help either player, so Pham’s jacks held up.  Pham took the final pot. 
 As the runner up, Charles Sewell received $124,488.  Prior to the event, Sewell joked that his Las Vegas trip had been a complete disaster.  First, the resident of Okalahoma City was involved in a serious car wreck.  Then, a short time later, Sewell was run over by a taxi cab.  Perhaps the hundred grand-plus in prize money he won at the World Series made up for what has been a harrowing experience, thus far.
 David “Dragon” Pham has also seen and experienced more than his fair share of personal hardships.  Years ago, Pham started off with nothing, and through sheer talent and ambition, he became a highly-successful poker player.  By winning, Pham collected $240,222 in prize money and received his second WSOP gold bracelet.    

by Nolan Dalla

Note:  All content in this report may be re-printed by media.

Overall Tournament Statistics (through end of Event #25):

Total Entries to Date:     22,441

Total Prize Money Distributed:  $ 47,404,592


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World Series of Poker Commissioner – Jeffrey Pollack

Director, Sponsorship and Licensing -- Ty Stewart

Director, Communications and Operations – Gary Thompson

Director, Broadcasting and New Media – Craig Abrahams

Vice President of Specialty Gaming -- Howard Greenbaum

WSOP Tournament Director – Robert Daily

WSOP Tournament Director / Director of Poker Operations for Harrah’s Entertainment – Jack Effel

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Nolan Dalla – WSOP.com Senior Writer

About the author: Nolan Dalla's work is found all over WSOP.com, as he is the Senior Writer for poker's longest-running poker series and has contributed to the site since 2005.

He is also the longtime Media Director of the World Series of Poker. He's become the lone link from poker's modern age back to the old days when the WSOP was played at Binion's Horseshoe – where Dalla served as the casino's Director of Public Relations.
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