Bach becomes the summer's first double bracelet winner, credits his success to his family at home
June 18, 2017 (Las Vegas, NV) - Over the last two years, David Bach found new motivation to excel at the game he plays for a living.
The professional poker player from Athens, Georgia became the first double bracelet winner of the summer in the early hours of Sunday morning. He defeated an elite field of 150 players to win $383,208, his third career bracelet and second of the summer in the $10,000 HORSE Championship.
He bested a star-studded final table, with several of poker's best, but he attributed much of his success this summer to his wife and child back east in Georgia. He even made sure to have his child's lucky cards in the winner photo with him.
"It has made me play better," said Bach about having a child to support. "Sometimes, when I feel things going off the rail a little bit because poker is an emotional game, I'll remind myself by looking at something or thinking about my family that I'm playing for them. If I'm going to be here away from my family, I need to try and play my best."
His first win of the summer came just 10 days earlier in the $1,500 Dealers Choice event for $119,399. It's a lot of money to most people, but for someone like Bach who is going to be playing nearly a full schedule of events, this is the victory he needed to secure some money to bring back to Georgia.
"The first win, obviously, is great, but it wasn't that much money," said Bach. "It was $119,000. It was great. It sounds like a ton of money, but I'm spending more than that in buy-ins over the summer. This is a big enough win that I'm going to make money for the summer no matter what."
He and his wife got married here in Las Vegas back in 2009, the year that he won his first bracelet and got his name etched onto the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy. Two years ago, they had a child and helping take care of his son kept Bach away from the table.
Being away from his family is what he finds to be the toughest part about a professional poker player, but he came out west determined to win for the people that are counting on him.
"That part is really, really hard," said Bach about the time spent away from his wife and kid. "What has happened is that since I've been together with my wife and we've had a soon, I haven't played enough poker. So, I've been spending my bankroll. I've been winning when I play, but I've been spending more than what I'm winning. I wanted to really have a good summer to make up for that and it's really nice to have some financial security when you have a family."
Bach's first win of the summer came with a dominant performance and a steamrolling of the final table. This time, battling the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, Andrew Brown and defeating Eric Rodawig heads-up, he didn't have nearly as easy of a time taking down a WSOP title.
"It couldn't have been anymore different," said Bach about his two final table experiences. "This was tougher opponents. A way tougher chip stack situation. To be honest, once I got like four-handed, I felt like I was freerolling. I lost a couple big hands early with good hands and got really short. I lost about a million in chips to some unlucky situations."
He noted an early hand at the final table against Mercier that didn't go his way where he was rolled up in stud, but Mercier filled up on the river to cost him about a million chips and leave him on the shorter end of the spectrum. After bouncing back from that, Bach didn't feel any pressure. He was content with whatever happened.
"That was a big situation that crippled me in chips," said Bach. "To come back from that, it felt like I was freerolling."
The eliminations at the final table seemed to happen in pairs. 2016 November Niner Jerry Wong was the first player to bust from the final table, finishing in eighth, and Yuebin Guo followed him to the cage shortly after in seventh.
The final six players battled for several hours before another two players hit the rail. Negreanu, who started the day as the chip leader, finished in sixth place when he couldn't top Rodawig in Omaha Hi-Lo. Negreanu earned his sixth cash of this year's WSOP and secured his third final table, but is still searching for his seventh bracelet.
Mercier, who was seemingly short most of the final table, doubled up a couple times and stayed alive for as long as possible, but was eliminated in fifth place by Brown in Razz. Mercier made his second consecutive final table in this event after winning it last year.
Three and four-handed play is where things ground to a halt again. As the limits got higher, Bach knew that one of the turning points of the tournament would come down to who runs hotter.
"We played so long three and four-handed that the limits got so high that whoever got hot it was going to really matter," said Bach.
Brown fell in fourth and Don Zewin hit the rail in third. Brown fell just short of his second bracelet, while Zewin adds another near-miss to the long-time pros laundry list of final tables.
That left Bach heads-up with Rodawig. He was at a slight disadvantage in chips at the outset of the match, but he felt more than comfortable with the spot he was in.
"I have a lot of experience playing HORSE heads-up," said Bach. "So that was a good situation, but I also ran unbelievable."
They got through all three stud games without much change, but when it came back to limit hold'em, Bach really opened up a lead and left Rodawig with less than 10 big blinds.
Rodawig was wearing a New England Patriots t-shirt jersey, but luckily for Bach, a Falcons fan, he didn't have any flashback to the 2017 Super Bowl, where the Patriots made an improbable comeback in the second half.
"I'm glad I didn't think of that," he said. "That would've been very bad mojo to think of that. That was a really brutal Super Bowl."
Unlike his favorite football team, Bach closed out the match. In Omaha Hi-Lo, Bach got the last of Rodawig's chips in the middle with essentially top pair against a flush draw. Bach faded clubs on the turn and river to earn the gold.
With such an impressive resume at this point in his career, Bach is building a case to be considered to be one of the best mixed games players around. He's not sold that his game gets the respect it deserves, but in the end, it doesn't matter to him.
He's happy being the Rodney Dangerfield of poker as long as he ends up with the money in the end.
"As long as you believe in yourself and people that really know the game know that I know what I'm doing, but respect doesn't really matter," said Bach. "All that matters is how you play and providing for your family."
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Final Table Results:
1st: David Bach - $383,208
2nd: Eric Rodawig - $236,841
3rd: Don Zewin - $163,557
4th: Andrew Brown - $115,485
5th: Jason Mercier - $83,415
6th: Daniel Negreanu - $61,667
7th: Yuebin Guo - $46,687
8th: Jerry Wong - $36,218