Tu “Stephanie” Dao collects $132,189 and gold in second final table of 2019 WSOP

11 July 2019 (Las Vegas) – Canada's Tu “Stephanie” Dao has become the second woman to win an open event at the 2019 World Series of Poker by taking down Event #77 of the 2019 WSOP, $3,000 Limit Hold'em 6-Handed.

Dao, a 44-year-old native of Vietnam who now resides in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, collected $132,189 and her first career gold bracelet. The win marks Dao's third career WSOP cash and gives her a total of $187,278 in lifetime WSOP earnings.

The win was also Dao's second final-table run of the 2019 WSOP. She also placed fourth in Event #47, $1,000/$10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em, for $52,007.

Dao began Day 3 with the lead but had to come from behind to secure the win after eventual second- and third-place finishers Alain Alinat and Ian O'Hara took their own turns at the top of the counts. France's Alinat pocketed $82,312 in his first-ever WSOP cash.

Florida pro O'Hara finished in third after leading for much of Day 3's middle stages. O'Hara collected $55,749 in his 38th career WSOP cash.

Fourth place went to Indiana's Chad Eveslage, who earned $38,561, in his 43rd career cash. Czech-born pro Jan Suchanek (fifth, $27,251), who now lives in New Zealand, and Russia's Oleg Chebotarev (sixth, $19,687) rounded out this event's final table.

Dao claimed the bracelet in a format she considers her specialty, often playing in limit cash games in Ontario card rooms. She also succeeded in capping a breakthrough 2019 Series, when added to her fourth-place run in the Ladies Event just a couple of weeks ago.

“I'm very happy,” she said. “My kids are watching. I'm making them proud.” She'll be able to celebrate with her kids and other family tomorrow night, as she's returning to the Toronto area after a great few weeks in Las Vegas.

Dao has cashed in numerous events in North America in recent years, but her only prior WSOP cash before her twin final tables was a smallish payday back in 2013.

“For about five years I didn't play any tournaments at all,” Dao explained. “I was giving up on it. Then I had a deep run at [an event in Canada]. It gave me motivation to play more tournaments. I'm very happy with the outcome this year.”

Dao had focused more on cash games before the tourney bug struck again, but admitted to some frustration years back. “I just got frustrated because I was playing a lot of tournaments before, but I didn't make anything deep or cash anything big.

“I felt like I'm not good enough to play tournaments. I'm dead money! So I stopped playing [tourneys] and stuck with the cash games. But my friend Benny [Benjamin] Underwood – he's the one that gave me motivation to play more tournaments. We exchanged information on how to play; he helped me a lot.”

Underwood turned in one of the outstanding performances of the 2019 Series, making the final five in three separate deep-stack events, each of which drew entries numbered in the thousands.

Still, Dao's mind was mostly on returning to Canada and family. “I'm going home tomorrow. I've been here long enough. I miss my family. I miss my kids. I miss my dogs. I already booked my flight.” She will return, though, for the 2020 WSOP, set on adding more top finishes to her growing poker resume.

A six-player final table returned for a streamed conclusion in Event #77, with Canada's Dao leading a tightly bunched group into Day 3. Dao widened her lead early on, though two and a half hours of play elapsed before Russia's Oleg Chebotarev busted in sixth ($19,687). Chebotarev busted after a pre-flop betting war with Alinat soaked up the last of his stack. Chebatarev had    while Alinat had   , and an     flop moved Alinat way ahead. A   turn and   river were no help, ending Chebatarev's day.

Another pre-flop raising war brought the next bustout as well. This time Jan Suchanek hit the rail after making his last stand with   , while O'Hara had   . Suchanek's dominated hand needed help, but none came on an         runout, and he was locked into a $27,251 fifth-place payday.

Indiana pro Chad Eveslage made an early challenge but faded and finished in fourth for $38,561. Alinat picked up his knockout as well, with the chips flowing in after the two players saw a     flop. Eveslage had    for two pair, but Alinat had    for the flush draw, and he filled it with the   turn, then dodged Eveslage's redraw outs with the   river.

During the early stages, O'Hara went on an extended run that saw him amass over half the chips in play. However, once three-handed play began, O'Hara's cards turned cold and he eventually busted in third ($55,749). His drought ended in a blind-versus-blind battle with Dao. O'Hara moved the last of his chips in and was called by Dao with a board showing      . O'Hara opened    for the double-gutshot draw, while Dao had   , and her king played when the river brought the  . O'Hara settled for a third-place, $55,749 payout.

Dao led narrowly against Alinat as heads-up play began. She expanded that lead quickly and nearly closed out Alinat early on, only to see Alinat evade elimination and climb all the way back to take the lead.

Then momentum switched again, and Dao closed out the win in a rush. The two engaged in a pre-flop raising war that left Alinat all in but ahead with    to Dao's   . Dao hit the     flop, however, and a   turn and   river sealed her win.

Event #77 $3,000 Limit Hold'em 6-Handed, drew 193 entrants and offered a $521,100 prize pool. 29 players cashed and each earned at least $4,571.

Others who made the money in Event #77 included Jeff Shulman (eighth, $10,996), Chris Vitch (11th, $8,511), Ian Johns (17th, $6,748), Mark Radoja (18th, $6,748), Greg Mueller (23rd, $5,484), and Dan Zack (28th, $4,571).

Click here for Full Results.
Click here for live updates from Event #77.

Final-Table Payouts:

1st: Stephanie Dao, $132,189
2nd: Alain Alinat, $82,312
3rd: Ian O'Hara, $55,749
4th: Chad Eveslage, $38,561
5th: Jan Suchanek, $27,251
6th: Oleg Chebotarev, $19,687