The 2022 World Series of Poker Europe in Europe's biggest poker arena at the King's Resort in Rozvadov has crowned a second champion. Out of a field of 566 entries in Event #2: €550 Pot-Limit Omaha, it was Germany's Helmut Phung who came out on top of a short-lived heads-up duel with Norway's Martin Almaas to claim the biggest portion of the €268,850 prize pool.
He entered the nine-handed final table as the chip leader and never surrendered the top spot to win his first WSOP Gold bracelet in dominating fashion. It was the biggest cash of his live poker career so far as the top prize of €55,132 surpassed his existing tournament earnings more than two-fold.
“My plan was to win the tournament and to put a lot of pressure on the other players. I played with them on all the different tables and knew what to expect” the 30-year-old said in the winner interview after his victory.
To get there, he had to overcome an obvious obstacle in two-time WSOP bracelet winner Martin Kabrhel and got right to business in the opening stages. During the late stages of Day 2, both had already clashed when Phung jumped to the top spot and sent Kabrhel down the pecking order.
Not fazed by the table antics and small talk of the Czech High Roller, Phung happily engaged in table chat even during the pivotal hand which reduced the stack of Kabrhel to virtual fumes. Having flopped the bottom two pair with the nut flush draw, Kabrhel opted to proceed passively and that backfired to essentially end all of his hopes for a third gold bracelet.
“He probably gets under the skin of 99 percent of the players. I have a lot of respect for him and I don't care about his talking. There was no way he was getting any information from me, I played with him a long time yesterday,” Phung clarified. During the confrontation, he was all smiles and got Kabrhel to fold the best hand, then claimed his remaining chips in the very next hand.
Final Table Result Event #2: €550 Pot-Limit Omaha
||Prize (in EUR)
||Bosnia & Herzegovina
After knocking Kabrhel out in ninth place, Phung dominated at the top of the leaderboard without much resistance while the short stacks were fighting for survival. This was especially true for Denmark's Jakob Madsen, who entered the final table as the far shortest stack with a mere five blinds and was able to secure several double-ups. Instead, Misel Bosancic and Bartlomiej Staszczak departed in quick succession.
Andreas Zampas doubled Madsen and was then knocked out by the Dane shortly after while Frenchman Gregory Sellam was felted by Phung in a larger pot. Madsen's departure in fourth place came at the expense of Almaas and Pascal Foged dropped to the far end of the leaderboard by a large margin. Once Foged was felted by Phung in third place, the heads-up duel only lasted a couple of hands as Phung applied his trademark aggression to further enlarge his already comfortable lead.
When both players flopped a flush, Phung had the best of it once more and Almaas was unable to get away from it to narrowly miss out on his own first WSOP gold bracelet.
Phung was born and currently resides in Germany nearby where he has a business in the software industry. He started playing poker only a few months ago and found a mentor in Dutch poker player David Hu during an event in Venlo back in May 2022, who was also on the rail for this final table.
Helmut Phung and his Dutch rail
This was in fact only his second-ever Pot-Limit Omaha tournament and he wasn't even planning to take part. However, he had found no fortune in Event #1: €350 Opener and then jumped into the four-card variant en route to winning his maiden WSOP gold bracelet.
He now has to take care of some business activities in the next few days but will return to more poker action at the King's Resort in Rozvadov with more tournaments on the horizon including the 2022 WSOP Europe €10,350 Main Event.