Have Gucci, Will Travel

Many poker-playing spouses find that the long hours spent on the felt and away from their significant others can be cause for marital conflict.  

Numerous articles and a book or two have been published on the subject over the years. However, Dong Xu, winner of event #3 of the World Series of Poker Circuit Events at Caesars Palace has the solution: Shopping. “My wife is shopping right now,” quipped the 39-year old construction company owner from Los Angeles, CA.

“I play many hours at the (local casinos) back home and my wife is very understanding. She doesn’t complain.” Perhaps it’s simply having a loving and understanding spouse like Xu’s that is the key to being successful in both love and poker, but the shopping can’t hurt.  

While his wife navigated the 160+ shops and boutiques at Caesars Palace’s world-renowned Forum Shops, Dong Xu navigated his way through a field of 340 entrants to make it to the final table.

9th Place – The final table of event #3 actually started with two tables of 11 players. It wasn’t until 2:30 p.m. that the tournament came down to nine.

Phillip Dagger was the first to go. Although he started the day second in chips, his stack took a few hits. On Dagger’s final hand, his 32k raise pre-flop was re-raised to 100k by Dong Xu. Dagger pushed all-in and Xu made the call, creating a race situation with pocket 9’s vs. his opponent’s Ad-Kd. The suspense was short-lived as a 9 came on the flop. A Queen turn and 8 river put Dagger out in 9th, which paid $2,226.

8th Place – 8th place belonged to Christian Sabio, who re-raised Tommy Tran’s 40k raise all-in, turning over As-10h. A 9 on the flop improved Tran’s pocket 9’s to trips. A 10 on the turn and 7 river wasn’t enough for Sabio who was eliminated. The financial associate from Columbus, OH took home $2,968.

7th Place – Next to bust was Nhut Tran. Tran moved his stack all-in with 5s-5c while Tommy Tran made the call turning over Ac-Qh. An Ace on the flop put Tommy far ahead of his namesake who never improved, busting in 7th place and $3,710.

6th Place – Steven Morgan was eliminated after shoving his remaining chips into the pot with As-2s after a raise by Xu. Morgan’s hand was dominated by Xu’s Ad-Kh. A King on the flop ended Morgan’s run who pocketed $4,700 for 6th.

5th Place – Out in 5th was Jesus Vergara, whose Q-J could not catch up to Xu’s A-9. Vergara fell behind further after an Ace came on the flop, demeaning a river Jack. The Martinez, CA resident earned $5,936 for his efforts.

4th Place – Next out was Joe Chang. After well-managing the 58k in chips he started the day with, his run ended after moving all-in with 6d-7d. Tommy Tran called Chang’s 76k bet with 5d-Kh and won the hand after the board double paired Queens and Aces. Chang’s 4th place finish paid him $7,421.

3rd Place – Play slowed a bit as the remaining three players made pre-flop maneuvers to take down the 8k/16k blinds. After doubling up and then doubling through Parenteau, Tommy Tran pushed all-in for 278k after a flop of 7c-6c-4s.

After tanking for a few minutes, Xu made the call with As-8h while Tran turned over 8d-10d. Though Xu was ahead, Tran still had a few outs. Tran, a former machinist from Las Vegas, could not catch any of them on the turn or river and was eliminated in third for a $9,152 payout.

“He made the right call,” said Tran regarding his final hand with Xu. “I just missed my outs all-in.” 

2nd Place – Heads-up action was between Xu and Parenteau. Xu had a little over a 4-1 chip lead over his opponent.

The final hand came after Xu re-raised Parenteau’s initial raise of 65k all-in. Parenteau called with the remainder of his 250k. Xu was elated to see that his Ac-9h dominated Parenteau’s Kc-9s. The board was a non-issue as Xu won the hand with Ace-high.

“I had to gamble to double up, so I pushed,” said Parenteau, an oil production worker from Peace River, Alberta, Canada. Parenteau had nothing to be down about, earning his first major tournament cash of $14,594 for second place.

Xu, who came to the states by way of China in 1996, started playing poker three years ago. “I’m still learning,” he says. Regarding his wife’s hobby, Xu said “I have to make money.” Xu also has three kids that he “loves very much.”

With three events now completed at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, the tournament has now attracted more than 691 total entries and has awarded in excess of $345,320.00 in total prize money.  Still to come are 19 more events and 34 nightly (single-day) tournaments which begin at 7 p.m. and 11p.m.  The WSOP Circuit at Caesars Palace Las Vegas continues through April 30.