Brandon Wong is one of those poker players you probably haven't heard much about, but who is essential to the game.For more than a decade he's been grinding out a good living playing middle- to high-stakes cash games around California and Nevada, with an occasional foray into tournaments. He's become as dependable as a daily sunrise. Yet, he's also witnessed the dawn of his dreams plunge on at least two occasions, coming in second-place in two gold bracelet events which were within his grasp of victory.Wong's 21 WSOP cashes up to this point in time included runner up finishes both in 2007 ($3,000 buy-in Limit Hold'em) and more recently in 2013, where he came second to none other than Phil Ivey in the WSOP Asia Pacific $2,200 Mixed Event. The disappointments of those two deep runs was erased on this night, however, when he topped the $2,500 buy-in Ten-Game Mix tourney, an event that's been described as the supreme test of overall poker skill. Wong overcame a field of 372 players and ended up with $220,061 in prize money. He also won the coveted WSOP gold bracelet.Wong gravitated to his gold bracelet largely due to poker changing his game and approach over the past decade. He started out playing Limit Hold'em mostly. However, as that form of poker began declining in popularity, Wong began learning and improving in other games. He essentially changed with the times and was rewarded with a gold bracelet for branching out of his comfort zone.Next, Wong hopes to play in the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship, which begins the day following his victory. The quest for gold bracelet number two is already underway.MEET GOLD BRACELET WINNER – BRANDON WONG
Name: Brandon Wong
Current Residence: Fresno, CA (USA)
Birthplace: Fresno, CA (USA)
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Professional Poker Player
WSOP Cashes (including this event): 22
First WSOP Cash (year): 2002
WSOP Final Table Appearances: 5
WSOP Wins (with this victory): 1
WSOP Career Earnings: $713,422INTERVIEW WITH THE CHAMPION
WSOP: How does it feel to win your first WSOP gold bracelet?
Wong: It's been a long time coming. I came close a few times before. So, this feels really good. It's like a weight off my shoulders.
WSOP: This final table had a busy rail, including a lot of cheering for your opponents. Did that affect your game at all?
Wong: I tried to block it out. It got a little hectic. I was able to block it out, though.
WSOP: Do you take any added pride in winning your first bracelet in an event which is comprised of a mix of games, rather than, let's say – No-Limit Holdem?
Wong: I don't know. I've never won a bracelet in Hold'em. So, I don't know. But seriously, it feels good to know I play all games well enough to the bracelet. Not that I play them all good, but good enough to win the bracelet.
WSOP: Did the change of games have an affect on your strategy?
Wong: You can stereotype who plays which games the best. Like I tried to stay away from the younger No-Limit kids when we played that. When we were playing the other games, I would stay away from the older players, who are specialists and may have more knowledge about those games.
WSOP: What are your best games of the ten that were played in this tournament?
Wong: My best game is Limit Hold'em. I also like Deuce (to Seven), Badugi, and Omaha-Eight.
WSOP: What do you concentrate on most as a poker pro?
Wong: Mostly cash games. I play Limit Hold'em mostly, and mixed games. But there's a new game coing out every year, it seems, so you always have to learn more.
WSOP: How has this series been so far, leading up to this moment?
Wong: I was zero for whatever. This had been a bad summer, actually. This was a huge comeback for me. It took a huge weight off my shoulders.