David ‘ODB’ Baker and Dung Nguyen Win First WSOP Bracelets
Connecticut’s David ‘ODB’ Baker enjoyed his “amazing” success when securing his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet in Las Vegas over the weekend.
The $2,500 buy-in Eight-Game Mix event #37 was scheduled to last three days, but ultimately saw Baker earn the $271,312 top prize by defeating good friend Greg Mueller in their heads-up clash on the fourth day of this tournament.
The head-to-head started with Canadian Mueller holding a 4 to 1 chip advantage over Baker, although the latter had reduced that slightly by the time the hard-stop rule came into play – meaning the duo would have to return for that fourth day’s play.
The break seemed to work well for Baker – who is now based just outside Houston in Texas – as he battled to victory from holding just 925,000 chips to the 2,655,000 of Vancouver’s Mueller when Day 4 kicked off.
Champion Battles To Brilliant Victory
In fact, Baker was close to elimination several times at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino before eventually taking the lead and holding on for his first success at the series.
Mueller did manage a small comeback, too, but Baker eventually sealed his victory during a hand of Razz that left Mueller with the consolation of adding $167,637 to his winnings, although he would not doubt have preferred a third gold bracelet.
The final hand saw both players dealt an ace, with Baker’s A♥ the bring-in and Mueller’s A♦ seeing him complete. Baker made the call and bet on the turn. Mueller called and Baker the led out on fifth. Mueller, with 315,000 total, moved all-in and the cards were tabled. Mueller eventually held 3-Q/A-8-4-Q/8, while Baker was dealt 2-10/A-6-7-3/5 – meaning the latter had clinched victory on sixth street.
‘Experience’ Was Key To Triumph
A delighted Baker – who had managed 27 previous WSOP cashes – wanted to stress that he had never given up hope of securing a gold bracelet, saying:
I’ve always known that, if I just kept getting there and kept giving myself shots, I would run well late in the tournament, and that’s basically what happened.
He also reckons his years of poker involvement – including those many cashes – helped him achieve his goal, adding:
Things didn’t really go my way midway through the final table. I think my experience really helped, too, when I got short. I was really confident, even though Greg had a big chip lead on me and he’s a fantastic player. I really felt that, if I could just win a couple pots early, I would have a really good chance of taking it home. So I’m thrilled.
Dung ‘Gomer’ Nguyen Takes Down Event #38
Meanwhile, Vietnamese-born American Dung ‘Gomer’ Nguyen also collected his first WSOP bracelet – as well as $607,200 – when taking down the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event #38 at the Rio.
However, the Kansas part-time player – in his first WSOP cash – won’t be holding on to all of that money after being persuaded to enter the tournament by a friend who also took half his action. In fact, with $303,600 going to the champion, he’ll actually have earned less than the $377,565 picked up by runner-up Theo Tran!
Not that ‘Gomer’ will care as it seems the 37-year-old was not particularly keen on playing event #38, but was convinced after his friend suggested he ought to, prompting Nguyen to say that
maybe it was just destiny that he should win the top prize.
Day 1 Double-Ups Begin Charge To Glory
Coming in after the first day’s dinner break, I only had 4,000. I thought I was done. But I doubled-up three times in a row and then that’s it, it was all from there. Everything just felt right.
Just 21 players started Day 3 of this thrilling event, meaning a dozen players had to be eliminated before the final table could be set. New York’s Jia Liu was the first entrant to hit the rail in 21st place for $17,378, and was quickly joined by Germany’s Bastian Fischer (20th for $17,378), Florida’s Jason Lester (19th for $17,378), Jesse Wilke (18th for $21,689), of Washington State, and Pittsburgh’s Michael Borovetz (17th for $21,689).
Kansas City’s Blake Cahail hit the rail in 16th place for $21,689, while Latvia’s Mihails Morosovs was knocked out in 15th for $27,367 soon after, with Florida’s Marcus Gurley (14th for $27,367), Miguel Proulx (13th for $27,367), of Quebec, and New Mexico’s Ricky Crandell (12th for $34,927) joining him.
Scott Clements Out in 10th
New York State’s Matthew Pierce had started the day with a healthy stack but bust out in 11th place for $34,927, before short stack Scott Clements, of Vegas, hit the rail in 10th for $34,927 to create the nine-handed official final table.
Thereafter, Washington State’s Tyler Patterson exited in ninth for $45,087, Illinois’ Jeff Manza earned $58,874 for eighth, Zachary Korik, of New York, picked up $77,791 in seventh, Lithuanian Kristijonas Andrulis (sixth) pocketed $103,995, California’s David Pham left in fifth for $140,736, Missouri’s Blair Hinkle added $192,734 to his earnings in fourth, and Bahman Jahanguiri, of Texas, cashed in third for $267,241 to leave us with just two survivors.
Nguyen Well In Control
Nguyen entered his heads-up clash with Vegas-based Tran holding almost three-quarters of the chips in play and was never seriously troubled as he forged ahead to victory.
The last hand actually saw Pennsylvania’s Tran – who shoved all-in pre-flop for the very first time – in great shape with his A♠ K♦ against the Q♥ 10♠ of Nguyen. The 8♦ 4♠ 3♦ flop was great for Tran, too, keeping him ahead. However, with Nguyen’s rail calling for a queen, the 10♦ arrived to still give Nguyen the lead.
Tran was in trouble, but still held outs to a diamond flush, while any ace or king would also see him double-up. But the J♣ came on the river to ensure that Nguyen’s supporters charged the stage to celebrate with the new champion.