The brand new $1,650 buy-in 8-Game Dealer’s Choice event at the 2014 WSOP APAC came down to Australian old school versus new school. It was Sam Khouiss with three decades of poker experience heads-up against Rory Young with just a year and a half of experience.
In the end the victory was taken away from the old school as Young chose the right games, found the right cards and ultimately claimed the $42,720 top prize and his first WSOP gold bracelet.
“I’m feeling pretty happy right now!” Young exclaimed after the win. “I mean, I’m very surprised because I didn’t know how to play a couple of the games very good coming into the event.”
“Luckily the games I don’t play good just weren’t chosen that often.”
And therein lies the beauty of the Dealer’s Choice event.
Knowing all the games or not, Young must be commended for his win. He was easily the least experienced at the final table, yet managed to overcome some veterans of Australian poker, a current threat for the WSOP Player of the Year in George Danzer and a champion of the WSOP $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship in Brian Rast.
Watch final table in its entirety.
“It was a really tough final table,” Young said. “To be honest, I just ran really pure. I would say, I was the worst or at least second worst player at the table.”
“Luck is a massive factor in poker and its good when you’re on the good side of it.”
Regardless of luck, Young will now go down in history as a WSOP bracelet winner and one of just a handful of Aussies who can make the claim.
“Winning a bracelet hasn’t really been a goal, but it’s definitely in the back of your mind when you play these events,” Young said. “This is the first WSOP I have played. So I’m extremely fortunate to win one.”
There were 89 total entrants in this first event of its kind to be held in Australia. Those players created a $133,500 prize pool, which was set to be distributed to the top nine players.
The way the tournament worked was simple. When the dealer button came to a player they would choose any of the eight games available – those from the popular H.O.R.S.E mix of poker, along with Limit 2-7 Triple Draw, No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha.
One thing that was noticeable from the moment Day 1 kicked off was that the players were having more fun than usual. The banter between hands and the discussions about game choices kept tables in good spirits.
Even players like Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, who were eliminated early in the tournament, seemed to have still had a good time. There is no doubt that players are keen to see the Dealer’s Choice event stick around for a long time.
When Day 1 of the event was all over, there were 19 players alive and Australian poker legend Gary Benson was the chip leader with 38,025. That stack didn’t put him too far ahead of two former WSOP Player of the Year winners in Frank Kassela and Jeff Madsen, or one of the frontrunners for the current POY in George Danzer.
The objective on Day 2 was to get down to a final table of six and it would take less than five hours for that mission to be achieved. It was local Srdjan Brkic who was deemed the bubble boy, while Shivan Abdine (9th), Michael Wang (8th) and Sam Ngai (7th) all hit the rail with some cash, but short of making the final day.
When the final table began young Australian Rory Young was the chip leader and was looking to become one of Australia’s youngest bracelet winners.
The big story to kick off the 8-Game Dealer’s Choice final table was that George Danzer was still in the mix and looking to once again regain the lead off Brandon Shack-Harris in the WSOP Player of the Year race.
Danzer would need to finish fourth or better to move back into the lead and so when he was eliminated in sixth place at the hands of Brian Rast, it was back to the drawing board. There are three more tournaments on the WSOP APAC schedule for Danzer to catch Shack-Harris. Those tournaments are the Main Event, the $25,000 High Roller and the $5,000 8-Game Mixed.
Following Danzer’s elimination it would take quite some time before Australian Poker Hall of Fame member Jason Gray was eliminated in fifth place. This marked Gray’s sixth career WSOP final table and his second in just three days.
Once Gray was gone, local David Zhao hit the rail in fourth, followed by arguably the most prominent player at the final table, Brian Rast, in third. Rast, a two-time bracelet winner, will have to continue searching for a third in the coming days.
Heads-up between fellow Australians Rory Young and Sam Khouiss would see 2-7 Triple Draw the most popular choice for Young, while Khouiss was partial to Omaha Hi Low. However, it was a hand of Pot Limit Omaha that would see Young win the title and his first gold bracelet.
Here are the full results from the $1,650 buy-in 8-Game Dealer’s Choice event:
1st: Rory Young - $42,720
2nd: Sam Khouiss - $26,402
3rd: Brian Rast - $18,482
4th: David Zhao- $13,462
5th: Jason Gray- $9,904
6th: George Danzer - $7,399
7th: Samuel Ngai - $5,934
8th: Michael Wang - $4,946
9th: Shivan Abdine - $4,251