2007-2008 World Series of Poker Circuit
Grand Casino Tunica -- Tunica, MS
September 1, 2007
Buy-In: $500 + $50
Number of Entries: 260
Total Prize Money: $126,100
Young Phan Wins Circuit Event #3 as Incredible Hand Makes Poker History
Phan Follows Up After Second-Place Finish in Caesars Indiana championship
Click here to view the official results.
Tunica, MS-- Outside of a grade B movie, probably no one ever saw a hand like the one that came down at the final table of the Grand Casino Tunica’s third Circuit event, $500 no-limit hold’em.
Three players were left. Young Phan was heads-up against Mack Ham with pocket 7s against Ham's pocket 5s. On the flop, Ham took the lead with a set when the flop came 6h-5s-3h. He made a small trap bet of 16,000 and Phan moved in. Then a 4h turned to give Phan a straight. But a river 5h gave Ham quads! He jumped up excitedly, until Phan pointed out that one of his 7s was a heart, giving him a straight flush!!!
Ham busted out, Phan regained his chip lead, and then went on win the event, earning $40,348 and a handsome trophy ring.
Phan, 47, is from Irvine, California. The genial pro, whose nickname is “Papa,” has been playing poker for 21 years, with his biggest cash-out being $470,000 when he won a $5,000 no-limit event at the Rio in Las Vegas in 1999. “Whenever I travel far, I seem to do well,” Phan remarked, noting that he came in second to Men “the Master” Nguyen in a Circuit championship event at Caesars Indiana last year.
Phan is married with two children, his hobby is baseball, and he learned the game by watching Johnny Chan. His final heads-up match was with Steve “Turbo” Powell. He had noted from a prior table how aggressive — and dangerous — Turbo was. So he waited for big hands before getting involved in a big pot. “You never saw me gamble,” he said. “I wouldn’t go all in (as Powell did on the final hand) with pocket 5s.”
When the final table started, Phan held the chip lead with 103,000, closely followed by H. David Kruger with 95,500. Gina Ham was the first woman to make a final table thus far...and she was seated right next to her husband, Mack Ham!
Here were the starting chip counts:
Seat 1. H. David Kruger 95,500
Seat 2 Gina Ham 20,000
Seat 3. Mack Ham 80,000
Seat 4. Steve Powell 80,000
Seat 5. Bob Powell 40,000
Seat 6. Ricky Bennett 29,500
Seat 7. Young Phan 103,000
Seat 8. Brian Duffy 41,000
Seat 9. Al Faust 29,000
Blinds started at 2,000-4,000 with 500 antes, 45 minutes left. It took 13 hands to lose our first player. Kruger raised 12,000 with Ac-Jc, and Ricky Bennett called for his last few chips with pocket 5s. An ace on the river killed him, and he took home $2,334 for ninth place.
Bennett, 47, is married, self-employed, enjoys hunting and fishing and began playing poker in home games 15 years ago. He collected $2,522 for ninth place.
Gina Ham, meanwhile, had started lowest-chipped with 20,000, and soon was blinded and anted down close to the felt. She survived two all-ins, once when she and Phan both had pocket 7s, but only lasted until hand 18. On a flop of 10-2-9, she decided to move in with pocket 4s. Kruger called with A-10, and his pair took the pot.
Gina 37, is a banker and has four children. She and husband Mack live in Alpharetta, Georgia, and she learned poker from him a year ago. This is her fourth Circuit event. Her payday: $3,783.
As action continued, Phan showed the most aggressive play.. By the time a new level started, with blinds of 3,000-6,000 and 500 antes, he had increased his lead to over 200,000.
Al Faust, of Marvell, Arizona, owns a sawmill. He got ground into sawdust when he ran into quads and finished seventh, winning $5,044. He moved in for 12,500 with A-5. Turbo called with pocket 4s and flopped two more.
Faust, 51, is married with no kids, enjoys fishing and horses, learned poker three years ago from books, has entered three Circuit events, and won some local Saturday tournaments. Seventh paid $5,044.
Bob Powell followed quickly. Ham raised, Powell moved in for 16,500, and then Phan moved in. After long thought, Ham folded. Phan had A-K to Powell’s Qs-9s, and a river king cut the field to five.
Powell, 38, is from Belleville, IL. Originally from St. Louis, he’s a “huge” Cardinals baseball fan. He learned poker three years ago, and his $6,305 sixth-place cash-out tonight is his poker highlight.
Next, the remaining Powell made a great play. Ham opened for 25,000 and Turbo moved in for another 42,000. After long thought, Ham threw in his pocket 6s, and Powell showed two 5s.
Brian Duffy, a salesman from Nashville, went out fifth on the button when he raised all in for 9,000 with K-4 and was crushed by Ham’s pocket kings. Duffy, 32, is married with one child, has played 10 years, and has a 28th-place cash in a World Poker Tour preliminary event. Fifth was worth $7,566.
Kruger was crippled on hand 39 when he called Powell’s all-in re-raise. He was ahead with A-10 to Powell’s Ah-5h until a 5 flopped and another hit the river. A few hands later he lost his last chips when he raised with pocket 7s. Ham moved in for 30,500 with pocket 10s and Phan called with Q-9, hoping to knock out two players. A 10 flopped, Ham filled on the turn, and Kruger got $8,827 for fourth. Kruger, 45, is a sales trainer from Slater, Missouri. He’s married with four children, has played three years, and has an eighth in a Circuit event here.
As the level neared an end, the chip count tightened when Powell took 94,000 from Ham with pocket jacks.
The level ended with the three finalists tightly grouped. Powell now led with around 180,000, followed by Phan with around 170,000 and Ham, about 165,000.
About 20 hands later, with Powell still the leader, the quads/straight flush shocker finished Ham. He’s a 43-year-old used car salesman who’s been playing four years and has played in some 30 Circuit events. Third paid him $11,349.
Heads-up, Phan had a small lead, though Turbo, aggressively stealing blinds, gradually moved up to the accompaniment of loud cheers from his friends. “’I’m in the wrong town,” cracked the Vietnamese-born Phan. After 26 hands of play, with blinds now at 6,000-12,000 with 2,000 antes, Powell had only 2,000 chips less than Phan when he moved in with pocket 5s. Phan gladly called with pocket queens. They held up, and the festivities ended.
Powell went home with $22,194 for second place, the highlight of his poker career. Powell is 38, in car sales, is married with two children, and taught himself poker two years ago. Golf is his other hobby.