John ‘The Razor' Pham was 20 minutes late for his big game this week, but it was definitely a case of ‘better late than never' as he beat a field of 716 players to win Event 29 in the 2008 World Series of Poker – the $3 000 No-Limit Hold'em event – collecting his first gold bracelet and the main $434 789 prize.
Pham has previously achieved a number of finishes in the money, including two runner-up prizes in 2006 and 2007, together with a fourth-place finish in 2005.
The heads up with 22 year old John Neckar from Wisconsin proved to be a real marathon at 6 hours, so much so that at one stage the players tried to bring things to a conclusion with blind all-ins but were unsuccessful and reverted to normal play. Once that happened, Pham was able to emerge victorious a few hands later, leaving Neckar with the $277 452 consolation prize and a shiny reputation as a tough and competent opponent.
In Event 30, the $10 000 World Championship Limit Hold'em event, a Dutch player topped an impressive career record with his first WSOP bracelet, playing against in a final table that included formidable competitors like J.C. Tran and Andy Bloch.
All the way from The Netherlands, Rob Hollink bested 217 poker players and pocketed a check for $496 931 in prize money and the bragging rights that go with a WSOP gold bracelet. Not that Hollink is short of things to brag about – this talented Dutch pro has an impressive list of achievements that includes 18 prior WSOP cashes, two WPT cashes, first place in the European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo and over $2 million in tournament winnings.
"I've won probably 14 or 15 events in Europe but I could never find the solution here [in Las Vegas]," Hollink said after the game, adding that he's probably entered between 80 and 85 different WSOP tourneys over the years. "The longer you wait the better it feels," he grinned.
In the heads up Hollink faced Connecticut player Jerrod Ankenman, who has also cashed in several tourneys and made a WSOP final table in a similar event two years ago when he finished as the runner-up. The experience of finishing second was repeated against Hollink, this year yielding a second place payday of $307 380 for the Connecticut player