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.