Tuesday, June 2, 2015 10:16 PM Local Time
DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN FOR TUAN LE
California Poker Pro Becomes First Player to Repeat as Champion in Same WSOP Gold Bracelet Event Since 2009
$10,000 Buy-In Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) Championship Pays $322,756 to the Repeat Winner
MEET THE LATEST WSOP GOLD BRACELET CHAMPION
Name: Tuan Le
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Marital Status: Single
Profession: Poker Pro (Primarily Live Cash Games)
Number of WSOP Cashes: 10
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 2
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 2
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 1st (2014)
Total WSOP Earnings: $795,569
Personal Facts: Plays high-stakes cash games daily at Commerce Casino in hometown of Los Angeles
Tuan Le has done something no player at the World Series of Poker has accomplished since 2009. He won the same bracelet event in consecutive years.
Le, a 37-year-old professional poker player from Los Angeles, CA defended his championship title to the fullest in the mega-tough $10,000 buy-in Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) championship, widely acknowledged as one of the toughest events on the schedule due to the makeup of top players.
Indeed, each year this world championship variant attracts a virtual “Who’s Who” of the world’s best tournament players, and 2015 was certainly no exception. The highly-specialized tournament drew 109 entries, generating a prize pool of just over one million.
Le, who defeated a similar field size last year, pocketed the $322,756 top prize, and picked up his second gold bracelet. His feat matches Thang Luu’s successful defense of his Omaha High-Low title in two $1,500 buy-in events held during 2008 and 2009.
Le topped a final table packed with four gold bracelet winners -- including Phil Galfond, Rep Porter, Calvin Anderson (along with Le). However, his toughest opponent proved to be Max Casal, from San Clemente, CA who fought back from a big chip deficit to draw close to even at one point, before finally being put away in the sixth hour of the third and final day.
With this victory, Le solidified his place in WSOP lore with a rare repeat victory, something which is exceeding tough in the modern era with such big field sizes and so many talented players.
“This year’s victory is like ten times as big as last year,” Le said afterward. “When you defend a title, that’s a totally different ball game. It’s a statement. Anyone can get a rush one time and win, but to do it again, makes a statement. For me, last year was about the money. This year was about the bracelet.”
The tournament lasted three days, with the finale played on ESPN’s Main Stage, and streamed live over WSOP.com. Four of Le’s compatriots at the final table were players who play regularly together at the Commerce Casino, Le’s home base. Indeed, each day Le plays in the high-stakes section there, focusing on mixed games. Hence, Deuce-to-Seven Triple-Draw, although not widely played in casinos, was well within his comfort zone.
Le dominated the final day, holding onto the chip lead virtually the entire time, although he was seriously threatened at one point by Max Casal, the eventual runner up. Le was quite familiar with Casal’s game, since the two play together regularly in cash games held at the Commerce Casino. That also meant Casal was familiar with Le’s tendencies. He used this knowledge to draw close to even with Le, but in the end could not sustain the momentum swing.
“When it was heads-up, I did not want to see Max,” Le admitted. “He plays great heads-up, and knows all the situations. I feel very fortunate to win against him.”
Perhaps the strangest story however, wasn’t what happened at the table, but the fact that Le almost didn’t enter this event. He had no intention to come and defend his title, but was talked into playing at the last minute by a friend.
One suspects that Tuan Le will most certainly be playing this event again next year, when he’ll be aiming for a trifecta.
Here’s the succession of other finishers who made the final table:
Second Place: Max Casal, a 47-year-old poker pro from San Clemente, CA was the runner up. This was his fifth time to cash at the series, resulting in his biggest career payout so far, at $199,438.
Third Place: Ismael Bojang finished 3rd. He is a 26-year-old student from Vienna, Austria. Bojang had more cashes in 2014 (all WSOP events combined) than any other player, at 13. That is the record for most in a single year in history. He added another cash and $130,851 in winnings to his poker resume.
Fourth Place: Phil Galfond finished 4th. This was his second consecutive final table appearance in this event, after coming in 7th place in 2014. Galfond, a gold bracelet winner in 2008 who lives in North Potomac, MD, picked up $98,939 for the effort.
Fifth Place: James Obst, from Adelaide, Australia finished 5th, which was good for $63,863. He bubbled the final table of the $50K buy-in Poker Players Championship last year, coming in 10th.
Sixth Place: Rep Porter finished 6th. He is 44-year-old poker pro from Woodinville, WA and a two-time gold bracelet winner (2008 and 2011). This marked his 28th career cash at the WSOP, which paid $46,813.
Seventh Place: Calvin Anderson, from Yukon, MI rounded out the official final table, finishing 7th. He won a gold bracelet last year in a Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split event. This was his 18th career cash at the series, worth $35,389.
Ismael Bojang (Vienna, Austria), who finished third in this event, now has 21 WSOP cashes in three years (since start of 2013 series), the most of any player within that time span.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:45 PM Local Time
From the button, Tuan Le raises to 80,000 and Maximilian Casal three-bets to 120,000. Le puts in the fourth bet and Casal calls all-in for his final 140,000.
Casal draws one and Le draws three. On the second draw, Casal draws one again as Le reduces to a two-draw.
On the final draw, Casal draws one and tables his as Le stands pat and fans his .
Casal peers over at Le's hand to see what he needs to catch, and as he starts to squeeze his draw card he announces, "no spotter!"
Casal continues to squeeze it more and then sighs before tabling the for a pair.
Not going home empty-handed, Casal pockets $199,438 for his second-place finish.
Le does the near-impossible - going back-to-back to capture his second WSOP bracelet in this event and the $322,756 first prize.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:39 PM Local Time
Tuan Le raises the button to 80,000, and Max Casal three-bets to 120,000 from the small blind. Le calls.
Casal is pat while Le draws three cards, and Le calls a bet of 40,000. Le improves to a one-draw on the second round, and Casal pats and bets the 80,000. Le raises to 160,000, though, and Casal tanks and folds.
He has just two big bets left now.
Tuan Le - 3,110,000
Max Casal - 160,000
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:36 PM Local Time
Maximilian Casal raises to 80,000 and Tuan Le calls as both players draw two and check.
Le draws one and bets 80,000 while Casal draws two and calls before drawing two again to Le's one.
Le bets 40,000 - what Casal has remaining - and Casal makes the call holding to best Le's (X)(X)(X).
Tuan Le - 2,870,000
Maximilian Casal - 400,000
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:34 PM Local Time
Tuan Le opens to 80,000 and Maximilian Casal raises his last 100,000 all-in with Le calling.
Casal draws four, then one, then one as Le draws two, then one, then one.
Casal fans his and catches the while Le fans his and catches the .
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:30 PM Local Time
Max Casal raises to 80,000 on the button, and Tuan Le defends.
Casal is pat the whole way. Le draws two on the first round and calls a bet from his opponent. He improves to a one-draw on the next round and calls a big bet of 160,000, and he draws one last card on the final round. Le leads out into the pot with the bet of 160,000, and Casal is once again not pleased. He only has 100,000 chips left, and he shuffles the four greens for a few moments before releasing his cards into the muck.
Tuan Le - 3,170,000
Max Casal - 100,000
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:27 PM Local Time
Tuan Le raises to 80,000 and Maximilian Casal calls and draws three to Le's two.
Casal bets 40,000 and Le raises. Casal calls and both players draw one with Casal checking to Le who bets out 80,000. Casal check-raises to 160,000 and Le calls and draws one as Casal stands pat.
Casal checks, Le bets 80,000, and after a few moments of deliberation, Casal folds.
Tuan Le - 2,970,000
Maximilian Casal - 300,000
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:22 PM Local Time
Tuan Le raises to 80,000 and Maximilian Casal calls and draws two against Le's three.
Both players check and draw two with Le betting 80,000 before Casal check-raises to 160,000. Le quickly folds and Casal collects the pot to move to 600,000.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:21 PM Local Time
Maximilian Casal limps in and Tuan Le raises. Casal calls and draws three to Le's one.
Le bets and Casal calls and draws two to Le's pat. On the final draw Le stands pat again and Casal draws one but then folds to Le's 80,000-chip bet.
Maximilian Casal - 300,000
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:20 PM Local Time
Max Casal raises to 80,000 from the button, and Tuan Le calls.
Le draws three to Casal's two and check-calls a bet of 40,000.
On the second round, Le draws two to Casal's one, and Le checks again. When Casal bets 80,000, though, Le check-raises to 160,000. Casal calls the extra bet.
Both men are pat to the final round, and Le checks. Casal bets, and Le calls.
When the call comes, Casal's face says it all. His hand is no good, and Le waits to see his opponent flash a pair of fours before tabling the winning .
Tuan Le - 2,720,000
Max Casal - 550,000
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:12 PM Local Time
Maximilian Casal raises to 80,000 and Tuan Le calls and draws two as Casal draws three.
Le checks, Casal bets and Le calls before drawing two to Casal's one.
Le again checks, and once Casal bets 80,000, Le calls and draws one to Casal's pat.
Casal fires one more time with Le check-calling. Casal tables his and Le mucks.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:08 PM Local Time
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:08 PM Local Time
Tuan Le raises from the button, and Max Casal calls.
Both players draw two cards, and Casal leads out with a bet. Le calls, and they both improve to drawing just one on the second round. It goes check-check this time, and they draw one apiece again. Casal bets, and Le calls.
Casal holds his cards over the muck, and Le shows his to win the pot.
Tuan Le - 2,695,000
Max Casal - 575,000
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:06 PM Local Time
Tuan Le raises to 60,000 and Maximilian Casal three-bets from the big blind. Le calls and draws two as Casal draws one and bets out 30,000.
Le raises, Casal puts in the third bet and Le quickly makes it 120,000 to go. Casal pauses, then calls before both players stand pat.
Casal checks, Le bets and Casal folds.
Tuan Le - 2,545,000
Maximilian Casal - 725,000
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:03 PM Local Time
Tuan Le raises to 60,000 on the button, and Max Casal three-bets to 90,000 in the big blind. Le calls.
Casal draws one to Le's three, and he bets 30,000. Le calls, and they draw the same on the second round. Bet-call again, this time for 60,000 apiece.
Casal pats the last round and bets. Le draws one, and he doesn't like it enough to call. He folds.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 8:01 PM Local Time
Maximilian Casal raises his button to 60,000 and Tuan Le calls and draws three to Casal's one.
Le check-calls 30,000 and draws one as Casal stands pat and bets 60,000. Le check-raises to 120,000 with Casal calling before both players stand pat.
Le bets, Casal raises and Le calls fanning out his to take the pot.
Tuan Le - 2,420,000
Maximilian Casal - 850,000
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 7:55 PM Local Time
Tuan Le opens the pot to 60,000 and Maximilian Casal calls as both players draw two. Casal leads out and Le calls and draws two to Casal's one.
Casal bets 60,000 and Le calls as both players draw one.
Casal checks, Le bets 60,000 and Casal calls.
Le tables his and scoops the pot to further his chip lead.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 7:54 PM Local Time
Max Casal opens the button to 60,000, and Tuan Le makes it three bets for 90,000. Casal calls.
Le draws one to Casal's two and bets 30,000. Casal raises to 60,000, and Le calls. Le draws one more while Casal pats this time. Casal bets again, but Le check-raises to 120,000. Casal calls the extra bet. They both pat and check down the river.
"Nine," Le announces. But it's no good. Casal fans out to win the pot and draw the match nearly even.
Max Casal - 1,570,000
Tuan Le - 1,700,000
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 7:52 PM Local Time
Tuan Le raises to 60,000 on the button, and Max Casal calls.
Both players draw two, and Casal bets 30,000. Le calls.
Casal improves to a one-draw and bets again, and Le raises to 120,000 after drawing two. Casal comes right back over the top with another raise to 180,000, and Le snap-folds.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 7:50 PM Local Time
Max Casal raises the button, and Tuan Le defends his big blind.
Le draws three to Casal's two and check-calls the 30,000. Both players draw one on the next round with the betting action repeating for 60,000. On the last round, Casal is pat, and Le draws one and checks. Casal checks behind and shows . It's good.
Max Casal - 1,125,000
Tuan Le - 2,145,000