The Sacramento poker pro J.C. Tran has finally achieved a personal goal by winning Event 49, the $1 500 buy-in No Limit Hold'em contest at the World Series of Poker this week, surviving an original entry field of 2 718 players and a tough international final table.
 
The WPT Player of the Year joined a final table headed by Dane Rasmus Nielsen (holding the chip lead) that featured Christoph Köhnen and Robert Kalb from Germany, Jesper Hoog of Sweden,  John Conroy from Dublin, Ireland, Chad Siu from Canada and Califonians Joe Pelton and Peter Nguyen.  For Tran, it was his third final table this series.
 
German math student Kohnen, who won his seat through an Internet satellite tounrey, was the first to head for the exit Pokerstarsat hand 12, eliminated by the Irishman Conroy. Only 3 hands later his countryman, Robert Kalb was oln his way to the rail too, knocked out by Nielsen. A mere 20 minutes after that Sweden's Jesper Hoog departed after a clash with Nguyen.
 
Down to six players, Pelton eliminated Californian player Chad Sui, who collected the first six figure payout of the game at $150 257 for his sixth placing. Pelton himself was next to go, ending his ambitions for a bracelet after taking on J.C. Tran and losing. He left with $191 068 for his trouble and slot number 5.
 
Out at fourth was Peter Nguyen, who fell to Nielsen but collected a payday worth $233 734. Then it was Ireland's John Conroy heading off in third place, duplicating his recent EPT Dortmund third placing but taking home a significantly bigger payout of $278 255 after coming short in a confrontation with Nielsen.
 
Nielsen went into the heads up with Tran with a 2 to 1 chip lead, but Tran was unfazed and played steadily, taking chips until he held the lead after two particularly big million chip plus pots, and he held that position through to the end, finishing off the Dane to take his first WSOP bracelet and the main prize of $631 170.  Nielsen's second placing was worth $389 557.
 
Tran now adds his WSOP win to an impressive cv that includes WPT Player of the Year, a WSOP final table second placing, a PokerStars WCOOP Main Event title and five WPT final tables.
 
Currently playing out at the Rio is Event 51 – the $1 500 H.O.R.S.E. event where Phil Hellmuth, the high profile poker pro who holds 11 WSOP bracelets, has been shining, taking the Day 2 chiplead.
 
The entry list for the event saw 803 players, which had been reduced to 179 by Day 2.
 
Hellmuth has a penchant for breaking WSOP records, and reaching the money bubble in this event enabled him to augment his  record of most WSOP cashes ever.  If he can take the tournament it will be his 12th bracelet and his first non-Hold'em jewelry.
 
The mercurial Michael Mizrachi will also be in the spotlight as he ends a gruelling 14 hour Day 2 of Event 50 – the $10 000 Pot Limit Omaha competition – in the chip lead. Final table opponents include closest rival in chip counts Brandon Moran from Chicago, Kido Pham, Canadian Peter Jetten, Billy Argyros all the way from the Land Downunder, Greg Hurst, Tom Hanlon and Marty Smythe from Ireland and Richard Harroch.