36-year-old Hanh Tran claims first career gold bracelet in Event #29 win
15 June 2018 (Las Vegas) – Vienna, Austria's Hanh Tran has earned the first World Series of Poker title of his career in Event #29 of the 2018 WSOP, $1,500 Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Triple Draw.
Tran, 35, who was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, earned his first career bracelet and a $117,282 payday in just the second cash of his WSOP career.
Tran was on the verge of elimination in his heads-up duel against Sweden's Oscar Johansson, with Tran all in before the final draw in a momentum-changing hand. Tran caught a seven to make a perfect wheel in deuce-to-seven lowball (7-5-4-3-2) and cruised from there to the win.
Johansson, 26, a self-described “entrepreneur” currently living in Dubai, controlled action throughout the later stages of Friday's six-player final, but ended up settling for second-place money of $72,471.
Third place in this fixed-limit lowball event went to Kissimmee, Florida's David Prociak. Prociak, one of two prior bracelet winners in this final, collected $46,729 for third.
Warrington, England's Cody Wagner finished fourth for $30,926, while three-time bracelet winner Brian Hastings collected $21,021 for fifth.
Tran's surge from the brink to the Event #29 title ended in a hand where Johansson was down to his last 300,000. Tran opened, Johansson called, and both players drew two cards. Johansson checked, Tran bet, and Johansson called again. Johannson drew one while Tran stayed pat, and then Johansson check-called the last of his chips to another Tran bet. Both players stayed pat on the third draw; Tran showed his 9-6-5-3-2, and Johansson eyed it, then slapped down his just-edged 9-8-5-4-3.
“I was really confident to play heads-up against [Johansson],” said Tran, as he described his late heater and his perceived cash-game-honed edge. “I was also happy to play against David heads-up” – this despite Prociak already owning WSOP gold -- “but in the end I was also happy to play against Oscar.” Tran was also mindful of three-time bracelet winner Hastings in the final, but said, “Honestly, he couldn't do anything. He didn't get any big hands.”
Tran doesn't play that many tournaments himself, though he's been at the WSOP each of the last eight years. Instead, Tran prefers the deuce-to-seven cash games included as part of the WSOP's around-the-clock action. “I love deuce-to-seven. It's one of my favorite games.” Tran also added that patience was key. “I took my time and waited for my spots.”
Friday's six-player final featured two prior bracelet winners in Prociak and Hastings, with the other four making their first official final-table appearances. China's Yong Wang made it to the final with the shortest stack of the four, and his Day 3 came to an end soon after. Wang was bounced by Prociak in a hand where Wang was all in for his last 52,000 after the first draw. Both players drew one on the second draw and stayed pat on the third, and Prociak's near-perfect 7-6-4-3-2 topped Wang's 8-7-6-5-2. Wang earned $14,687 for the sixth-place run.
About an hour and a half later, Prociak did it again, making another seven-low to bust three-time bracelet winner Brian Hastings. Hastings was down to a single big bet after losing hands to Tran and Cody Wagner, and he managed only a 10-8-low in a hand also including Johansson. Prociak made a 7-6-5-4-2 after drawing one on his third draw, leaving Johansson to muck a made eight-low and sending Hastings ($21,021) to the cashier's cage.
The United Kingdom's Wagner exited next, at the end of a tough hour of losing hands that drained most of his stack. Again, Prociak claimed the KO, and again, he did it by making a seven-low on his third draw. That final draw saw Wagner all in and pat with a perfect eight (8-5-4-3-2), while Prociak drew one to his own 7-6-3-2 hold. Prociak then pulled the five, making the seven-low and leaving Wagner to collect $30,926 for fourth.
The pot still left Prociak short, however, with he and Tran both staring at Johansson's dominating stack. Prociak and Tran each ended up all in more than once over the next two hours, yet both survived. Prociak finally busted in a hand he started with just 140,000 in chips, where he made a 9-8-5-4-3 on the first draw and hoped for the best. Johansson took one on the second draw, making an 8-5-4-3-2. Both players stood pat on the final draw, leaving Prociak to discover the bad news and head to the rail.
Johansson began heads-up play with 2.365 million in chips to Tran's 305,000, and Tran survived another all-in soon after, when he pulled the seven to stay alive. That flipped the switch, and Tran soon moved into the lead, then on to the win.
This deuce-to-seven lowball triple-draw event drew 356 entrants, building a $480,600 prize pool. The top 54 players earned a cash and the minimum cash in Event #29 was worth $2,243.
Among those who cashed in Event #29 were Christopher Vitch (9th, $7,809), Frank Kassela (10th, $7,809), Phillip Hui (11th, $5,953), David Pham (12th, $5,953), Daniel Ospina (17th, $4,680), Shaun Deeb (19th, $3,799), Matt Savage (34th, $2,765), David “ODB” Baker (40th, $2,485), Adam Friedman (45th, $2,317), Allen Kessler (49th, $2,243), and Yueqi Zu (50th, $2,243).
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Final Table Payouts (POY points in parentheses):
1st: Hanh Tran, $117,282 (912.48)
2nd: Oscar Johansson, $72,471 (456.24)
3rd: David Prociak, $46,729 (410.62)
4th: Cody Wagner, $30,926 (364.99)
5th: Brian Hastings, $21,021 (342.18)
6th: Yong Wang, $14,687 (319.37)