PERRY SHIAO WINS A MONSTER-SIZED VICTORY
Florida Poker Dealer Turns the Tables and Earns a Life-Changing Victory
First Ever WSOP Cash Nets Perry Shiao $1,286,942 and a Gold Bracelet
Four of the Nine Final Table Players Enjoy Their First WSOP In-the-Money Finish – Including the Winner!
A WSOP First: A Final Table Marriage Proposal (She Said “Yes’)
MEET THE LATEST WSOP GOLD BRACELET CHAMPION
Name: Perry Shiao
Birthplace: New York, NY (USA)
Current Residence: Pembroke Pines, FL (USA)
Marital Status: Married
Profession: Poker Dealer
Number of WSOP Cashes: 1
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 1
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories: 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: None
Total WSOP Earnings: $1,286,942
Personal Facts: Shiao speaks three languages – Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English
[Note: All statistics above include the results of this tournament]
Perry Shiao celebrated a monster-sized victory on Wednesday night at the Rio in Las Vegas. He won the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament (Event #28), otherwise known as the “Monster Stack.”
The deep-stacked competition attracted yet another full house, packing the tournament arena with 7,192 entrants.
Remarkably, three tournaments held here at the 2015 World Series of Poker now rank among the top seven largest live tournaments of all time. Also held this year, the Colossus and the Millionaire Maker were both larger than the “Monster Stack,” making this the 7th biggest tourney in history.
As expected, the huge turnout produced another huge prize pool, amounting to $9,709,200. Shiao’s share for his win came to a whopping $1,286,942, easily the biggest win of his amateur poker career.
Shiao saved his best game for the closing stages of the tournament. He watched patiently as several other players assumed the chip lead on the fourth and fifth days of action. When heads-up play began, he was down by about a 3 to 1 margin versus Eric Place, a 31-year-old investor from Halifax, NS (Canada) who had been the dominant force at the final table. However, Shiao won a few key hands during the final duel, reversing the chip lead and ultimately resulting in a come-from-behind victory when he completed a flush in the final hand.
Remarkably, this was the first time Shiao had ever cashed at the WSOP. It was only the second tournament he’s played at the annual series (he failed to cash in last week’s Millionaire Maker tourney). Shiao’s trip to Las Vegas was paid for by cashing in a tournament in Florida about a month ago, when he won $7,500. He figured that was enough of a bankroll to fly out to Las Vegas with, play in a couple of tournaments, and give his dream a shot.
Now, Shiao is a millionaire and a gold bracelet winner.
“I came out here to chase the dream,” Shiao said afterward. “My birthday was the first day this tournament started. I couldn’t have given myself a better birthday gift.”
Shiao has worked as a poker dealer for the past seven years, although he plays regularly in South Florida cardrooms part-time. He’s employed at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, in Hollywood, Florida. Despite the victory and bank account boost, Shiao plans to return to work in just a few days.
“I have to fly out tomorrow,” he said. “I don’t want to be late for my shift.”
Shiao has seen it all, or at least most of it, as a poker dealer and aspiring journeyman player. At 25, he’s been playing since he was a teenager and has been dealing since he was of legal age in Florida, which is 18. Much like the long and grueling tournament he won with more than 7,000 players, the game itself can pose quite a challenge over the long haul, and this tournament was about as long as it gets at five playing days.
“It’s a long grind,” Shiao acknowledged when asked about trying to play for a living. “It takes a lot out those who play the game.”
Despite the obvious pitfalls and challenges of achieving success on this level, Shiao was utterly consumed with jubilation from the moment he realized he’d won the WSOP gold bracelet. When his desperately-needed flush card came on the river, thus winning the final hand of the tournament, Shiao was ambushed by a dozen supporters who blew out of the gallery tackled the new champion so hard that he fell to the floor.
“I swallowed my gum,” Shaio said. “I could barely breath. But to those guys who knocked me down – I forgive them.”
As Shiao was consumed by an avalanche of bodies and cheers, at the opposite end of the table the scene was markedly different. The runner up could have been celebrating his own victory had the flush not hit the board. All that a dejected Place could do was bowl over in pain and shuffle back to the gallery where his disappointment was matched by just as many who saw their dreams crushed by a red heart on the green felt.
For Place, a 31-year-old investor from Halifax, NS (Canada), his portfolio will now become considerably larger. Coming into this tournament, Place had only two WSOP-related cashes on his resume. He finished in-the-money at the series back in 2011. Place also cashed in a WSOP Circuit event held a few years ago in Canada. Hence, the nearly $800K score he collected was a major boost and should salve some of the disappointment of coming so far, but falling just shy of the win.
As for the new champion and richest winner yet at the 2015 WSOP, Shiao might as well be living on a different planet.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with the money. I haven’t even thought about it yet,” Shiao said. “I dreamed I might win, but I didn’t realize the dream would be like this.”
Not to be outdone by the exciting poker action, the wildest final table of the year so far, and first prize in excess of $1 million, the final table also included what was a WSOP first in the 47-year history of the prestigious annual event. One of the players at the final table proposed marriage to his fiancé, who was sitting in the audience.
When Caio Toledog from Campinas, Brazil was eliminated in 8th place, he shocked everyone by leaving the final table, walking over into a section filled with spectators, and pulled out a diamond engagement ring. Everyone stopped for a moment, stunned by the drama unfolding on the first row. Fortunately, girlfriend and now fiancé Fernanda said “yes,” and Toledog departed from the ESPN Main Stage as arguably the biggest winner of the say, which is quite a statement considering the $1.2 million top prize.
This final table also included two former gold bracelet winners, somewhat unusual for a tournament with such a large field size. However, Hoyt Corkins wasn’t able to win what would have been his third WSOP victory. He finished 9th instead. Asi Moshe got considerably close in his quest for a second gold bracelet, but ended up as the 3rd-place finisher.
But in the end, it was a first time rookie finisher, poker dealer from Florida who took the top prize, reversing the tables on the pros and going down as the champion of the 7th-biggest live tournament ever held.
Following Shiao’s finish in the top spot, the descending order of results was as follows:
Second Place: Eric Place, an investor from Halifax, NS (Canada) finished as the runner up. His payout amounted to $796,834.
Third Place: Ari Moshe, a 37-year-old programmer and poker player from Tel Aviv, Israel, finished in 3rd place. He won a gold bracelet last year in a $1,500 buy-in NLHE event. He’s now made final tables in each of the past three years at the WSOP (5th, 1st, and now 3rd). Moshe collected $594,397 in a close call to win a second bracelet.
Fourth Place: Kevin Kung, a 30-year-old poker pro from Alhambra, CA ended up as the 4th-place finisher. He cashed for the fourth time in his career at the series, achieving his best cash prize ever in poker, worth $445,156.
Fifth Place: Christian Rodriguez came in 5th. Originally from Puerto Rico, Rodriguez had two previous WSOP cashes. He collected $335,938.
Sixth Place: Josh Wallace, from Somerville, MA, cashed in 6th place. He was one of four players at this final table to cash for the first time at the WSOP. Wallace picked up $255,351 for the strong effort.
Seventh Place: Fernando Konishi was one of two Brazilians sitting at the final table. The 33-year-old resident of Sao Paulo was ecstatic just by making his first WSOP final table appearance. Unfortunately for the wildly demonstrative gallery of spectators who have come to be expected each time that a Brazilian goes deep in an event, he wasn’t able to pose a serious threat to the chip leader. Nonetheless, this was a proud moment; Konishi’s first time to cash at the WSOP, which was worth $195,543.
Eighth Place: Ciao Taledog was the other Brazilian at the final table. He busted out about two hours into play, and ended up with his first WSOP cash, worth $150,783. Taledgog was cheered on by an enthusiastic gallery of supporters, no one happier on this day than new fiancé, Fernanda.
Ninth Place: Two-time gold bracelet winner Hoyt Corkins has now run deep in two massive field sizes at this year’s series. He finished 41st in the “Millionaire Maker” tourney, which also attracted more than 7,000 players. A week later, he did even better than that, making the final table with this 9th-place finish. Corkins, a.k.a. “the Alabama Cowboy,” collected $117,092. Corkins’ two wins came in 1992 and 2007.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS:
Aside from the final table finishers, other notable players who cashed within the top 100 included – Scott Montgomery (gold bracelet in 2010 and 5th in the 2008 Main Event), Luis Velador (two gold bracelets), and Scotty Nguyen (1998 world champion).
The gender breakdown was 6,767 males and 425 females (amounting to about 6 percent of the field).
The average age of participants was 40-years-old.
The oldest participant was 85-years-old.
This was the seventh-largest live tournament of all time.
(Note: Will appear 48 hours after event concludes)
Written by Nolan Dalla (WSOP Media Staff)