This past week Christian Pham mistakenly entered the ‘$1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball’ World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament with a $1,500 buy-in. He had intended on entering a no-limit Texas Hold ’em event that took place the same day, but signed up for the wrong tourney. Pham then went on to win his first ever gold bracelet. So how did he end up in the wrong tourney in the first place? Let’s discuss…
Everyone knows about the World Series of Poker (WSOP) ‘Main Event’ no-limit Texas Hold ’em tournament with it’s $10,000 buy-in. That tournament is aired on ESPN over and over and over, for days and weeks throughout the summer. But most people outside of the poker world aren’t aware that the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is actually comprised of 68 events, with the winner of each WSOP event receiving a coveted gold bracelet and many, many thousands of dollars. These WSOP events are held over the course of a few weeks each Summer in Las Vegas, and they often overlap, so a professional poker player does not have the opportunity to play in all 68 of the tournaments. Often these players will get in as many of the WSOP tournaments as possible, even playing more than one a day. It’s not uncommon for a player to bust out of one WSOP tourney and already have chips waiting for him in another. The purpose being to accumulate points in the quest towards WSOP Player of the Year, an honor that also carries a huge payout for the winner of that coveted honor.
However, in the situation of Minnesota native Christian Pham he just mistakenly signed up for the wrong tournament. WSOP Event #22 was a no-limit Texas Hold ’em tourney but the buy-in for that tournament was $1,000, and Pham dropped $1,500 to enter WSOP Event #23: No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball. So that should have been his first red flag.
Christian Pham Pham made the best mistake of his life.
Three days earlier here at the 2015 World Series of Poker, Pham stepped up to the registration window at the Rio in Las Vegas and plucked down $1,500 in cash, thinking he was registering for the next day’s No-Limit Hold’em tournament. Unfortunately – or fortunately, as things turned out – he had the wrong event number in mind. Pham was placed into the No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Draw tournament, a game he’d never played before.
Unaware of the error, Pham took his seat at the beginning of the tournament and then watched in horror as cards were dealt out in a different way than he was expecting. Pham had no idea what was going on, or what to do.
“They had started dealing already, so I couldn’t do anything,” Pham explained later. “If they had not started dealing, I would have told the floorman and asked to be unregistered.”
Faced with no other alternative, Pham sat and watched. He folded most of his hands early on as he picked up more information about good starting hands and how to play. Pham proved to be a prodigal student. He paid attention to the finer details and nearly 12 hours after sitting down at a table and playing a poker game he’d never seen before, Pham ended the first day as chip leader.
“I’d played lots of poker before, but not this game,” Pham said. “I guess I learned fast.”
Indeed, he did.
After Day Two, Pham was still the chip leader.
After Day Three, he was a gold bracelet winner.
— PokerNews (@PokerNews) June 12, 2015
Pham won the $1,500 buy-in Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Draw tournament, which was the 23rd gold bracelet even on the 2015 WSOP schedule. The Vietnamese-born poker pro now living in St. Paul, MN collected $81,314 in prize money. This marked his third occasion to cash at the 2015 series, making not just his first time to play the game a memorable occasion, but his third time a charm.
Sooooo he barely even knew how to play the game but managed to win the gold bracelet? That’s straight up BOSS STATUS right there. Obviously the poker IQ is quite strong with Mr. Pham, as he was able to take general strategy and apply it at the table while navigating a field full of the world’s best players. Quite the impressive feat.
We’re currently through 33 WSOP events (out of the 68 total), and with his gold bracelet win Christian Pham moved into 88th place in the ‘2015 WSOP Player of the Year Standings‘. That puts him 79 places behind a kid I went to high school with who also just won his very first WSOP gold bracelet, Barry Hutter, who currently ranks 9th on the WSOP POY standings.
The dude from my H.S., Barry ‘Deuce’ Hutter, won WSOP event #14: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout to claim his first gold bracelet, but this was his 3rd cash of the 2015 World Series of Poker. By winning WSOP event #14 Deuce Hutter brought home $283,546 in cash.
I probably just blogged waaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy too much about dudes winning gold bracelets at the WSOP, but I’ve always been obsessed with the chance to will one myself. The opportunity to find myself in Vegas during a WSOP event simply has not presented itself yet, and thus I’ve not tested myself on the felt. I’m curious though, any of you bros reading this have any experience playing in the WSOP? Drop me a line down below in the comments!