LAS VEGAS (8 June 2017) – David Pham claimed his third World Series of Poker gold bracelet on Thursday evening by winning the 2017 WSOP's Event #12, $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em.
Pham defeated online veteran and rising live-poker star Jordan Young in heads-up action to claim the title and the winner's payday of $391,960. Pham's win was the 47th cash of his WSOP career and moved his overall WSOP earnings total to $2,267,461.
Young's deep run and near miss of a first WSOP win was still worth $242,160. This was the 22nd cash of Young's WSOP career, and it more than doubled his official series earnings to nearly $430,000.
Both Young and Pham began Day 3 buried deep in the 23-player field chasing Day 2's runaway chip leader, Australia's Melissa Gillett. By the time the final table of nine was set, both had grown their stacks to move into contention, then continued moving north as others faltered.
Young dominated the final table's middle stages, then watched as Pham doubled through Gillett to leave her with barely a big blind's worth of chips. She exited in fourth soon after, and moments later, Pham sent off a short-stacked Roman Korenev in third.
Young still held a significant edge as heads-up play began, with 8.9 million in chips to Pham's 4.15 million. However, Pham soon doubled up to nearly square the duel, in a hand where he flopped trip kings, then induced Young to move all in, having Pham well covered. Pham called, showed the king for the double, then began to wear down Young with a lengthy run of good cards and hands,
In the process of whittling down Young's stack, Pham caught separate hands where he filled a gutshot straight draw on the river (though he had a flush draw as well), and rivered a set of deuces. In both hands, he took a healthy chunk from Young's stack.
Young fought hard before succumbing to Pham's long rush, doubling up twice after dropping to roughly 500,000 in chips to bring his rail to life. Pham, though, closed out the win with another mini-run. In the final hand, Pham moved all in holding . Young peeked at and flipped over his first card, the , while calling, then turned up the as well. Young stayed ahead until the appeared on the river to pair Pham's king.
The win was the first at the WSOP in 11 years for Pham, who previously claimed bracelets in 2001 and 2006. Veteran online star Young continues his hunt for his own first bracelet.
"It feels amazing," said Pham, on returning to the podium for the first time since 2006. "It's been a long time. Every year I've come close; last year I made a final table, too. I had a stack, but I didn't make it [to the win]."
"Of course the money comes first," he added, "but the bracelet means something, too. It took me 11 years to make it [back]. You get emotional."
Pham also noted how the game has changed since his own heyday over a decade ago. "There's a lot of good players now, young guns," like his final opponent, Jordan Young. "I have to play my best. Ten years ago, the game was easier."
Then there's the hat. The normally-lidless Dragon donned a white baseball cap with "RVCA" emblazoned on its front for Days 2 and 3 of this event. It's the same hat Pham's close friend Binh "Jimmy" Nguyen wore to the final table at the most recent LAPC main. As Pham relayed, "Jimmy said 'You've got to wear my war hat.'" Pham wasn't so sure, since he was near the bottom of the board as Day 2 began, but yesterday and today, the charm worked.
Nguyen, who railed Pham's win, concurred. "The hat's been battle-tested."
This was the first of several $1,500 no-limit hold'em events on this year's WSOP's schedule, and it drew 1,739 entrants. Event #12's prize pool was $2,347,650 and 261 players cashed.
Among the well-known players running deep in this $15,000 no-limit hold'em event were Young Phan (12th), Phil Collins (19th), Mike Sexton (26th), Mike Leah (27th), Caufman Talley (37th), Dan Heimiller (39th), and Dan Sindelar (53rd).
Click here for Full Results.
Click here for live updates from Event #12.
Final Table Payouts (earned POY points in parentheses):
1st: David Pham, $391,960 (216.2)
2nd: Jordan Young, $242,160 (184.1)
3rd: Roman Korenev, $174,559 (165.1)
4th: Melissa Gillett, $127,180 (148.5)
5th: Kevin Trettin, $93,667 (134.2)
6th: Nathan Pfluger, $69,741 (121.6)