DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN FOR TUAN LE
California Poker Pro Becomes First Player to Repeat as Champion in Same WSOP Gold Bracelet Event Since 2009
$10,000 Buy-In Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) Championship Pays $322,756 to the Repeat Winner
MEET THE LATEST WSOP GOLD BRACELET CHAMPION
Name: Tuan Le
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Marital Status: Single
Profession: Poker Pro (Primarily Live Cash Games)
Number of WSOP Cashes: 10
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 2
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 2
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 1st (2014)
Total WSOP Earnings: $795,569
Personal Facts: Plays high-stakes cash games daily at Commerce Casino in hometown of Los Angeles
Tuan Le has done something no player at the World Series of Poker has accomplished since 2009. He won the same bracelet event in consecutive years.
Le, a 37-year-old professional poker player from Los Angeles, CA defended his championship title to the fullest in the mega-tough $10,000 buy-in Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) championship, widely acknowledged as one of the toughest events on the schedule due to the makeup of top players.
Indeed, each year this world championship variant attracts a virtual “Who’s Who” of the world’s best tournament players, and 2015 was certainly no exception. The highly-specialized tournament drew 109 entries, generating a prize pool of just over one million.
Le, who defeated a similar field size last year, pocketed the $322,756 top prize, and picked up his second gold bracelet. His feat matches Thang Luu’s successful defense of his Omaha High-Low title in two $1,500 buy-in events held during 2008 and 2009.
Le topped a final table packed with four gold bracelet winners -- including Phil Galfond, Rep Porter, Calvin Anderson (along with Le). However, his toughest opponent proved to be Max Casal, from San Clemente, CA who fought back from a big chip deficit to draw close to even at one point, before finally being put away in the sixth hour of the third and final day.
With this victory, Le solidified his place in WSOP lore with a rare repeat victory, something which is exceeding tough in the modern era with such big field sizes and so many talented players.
“This year’s victory is like ten times as big as last year,” Le said afterward. “When you defend a title, that’s a totally different ball game. It’s a statement. Anyone can get a rush one time and win, but to do it again, makes a statement. For me, last year was about the money. This year was about the bracelet.”
The tournament lasted three days, with the finale played on ESPN’s Main Stage, and streamed live over WSOP.com. Four of Le’s compatriots at the final table were players who play regularly together at the Commerce Casino, Le’s home base. Indeed, each day Le plays in the high-stakes section there, focusing on mixed games. Hence, Deuce-to-Seven Triple-Draw, although not widely played in casinos, was well within his comfort zone.
Le dominated the final day, holding onto the chip lead virtually the entire time, although he was seriously threatened at one point by Max Casal, the eventual runner up. Le was quite familiar with Casal’s game, since the two play together regularly in cash games held at the Commerce Casino. That also meant Casal was familiar with Le’s tendencies. He used this knowledge to draw close to even with Le, but in the end could not sustain the momentum swing.
“When it was heads-up, I did not want to see Max,” Le admitted. “He plays great heads-up, and knows all the situations. I feel very fortunate to win against him.”
Perhaps the strangest story however, wasn’t what happened at the table, but the fact that Le almost didn’t enter this event. He had no intention to come and defend his title, but was talked into playing at the last minute by a friend.
One suspects that Tuan Le will most certainly be playing this event again next year, when he’ll be aiming for a trifecta.
Here’s the succession of other finishers who made the final table:
Second Place: Max Casal, a 47-year-old poker pro from San Clemente, CA was the runner up. This was his fifth time to cash at the series, resulting in his biggest career payout so far, at $199,438.
Third Place: Ismael Bojang finished 3rd. He is a 26-year-old student from Vienna, Austria. Bojang had more cashes in 2014 (all WSOP events combined) than any other player, at 13. That is the record for most in a single year in history. He added another cash and $130,851 in winnings to his poker resume.
Fourth Place: Phil Galfond finished 4th. This was his second consecutive final table appearance in this event, after coming in 7th place in 2014. Galfond, a gold bracelet winner in 2008 who lives in North Potomac, MD, picked up $98,939 for the effort.
Fifth Place: James Obst, from Adelaide, Australia finished 5th, which was good for $63,863. He bubbled the final table of the $50K buy-in Poker Players Championship last year, coming in 10th.
Sixth Place: Rep Porter finished 6th. He is 44-year-old poker pro from Woodinville, WA and a two-time gold bracelet winner (2008 and 2011). This marked his 28th career cash at the WSOP, which paid $46,813.
Seventh Place: Calvin Anderson, from Yukon, MI rounded out the official final table, finishing 7th. He won a gold bracelet last year in a Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split event. This was his 18th career cash at the series, worth $35,389.
Ismael Bojang (Vienna, Austria), who finished third in this event, now has 21 WSOP cashes in three years (since start of 2013 series), the most of any player within that time span.
(Note: Will appear 48 hours after event concludes)