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Ryan Young Wins Event No. 35 at the WSOP

A Turbo Tournament Comes Down to Two Unknowns

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Event No. 35 was the fourth $1,500 no-limit hold'em event of the 2007 World Series of Poker. Like its predecessors, this event began with seemingly endless lines snaking down the hallways that surrounded the Amazon Room. The first day saw the familiar faces of notable pros hidden among a sea of hopeful unknowns. Whether it was due to the large field, or the relatively shallow starting stacks, play went quickly. At the end of the first day, only 147 of the initial 2541 entrants remained in the tournament. Among them were notable players Nam Le, Phil Gordon, and Joe Sebok. Sebok got out to an early chip lead on day one, but found himself floundering on day two. With the average stack rising, Sebok had to make something happen, and pushed with his A 10. His opponent called with pocket tens, and when the board bricked, Sebok was eliminated in 96th place.

Only a handful of pros remained as the tournament approached the final table. Eliminations came quickly, even on the final table bubble. With 11 players left, Nam Le and John Esposito Jr. were the biggest names remaining, but not the biggest stacks. Ryan Young had chipped up to $2.5 million, overcoming Dustin Dirksen, who had held the chip lead for much of the day. Dirksen ended the day with around $1.7 million. Esposito was the next closest with $890,000, while Nam had roughly $450,000.

The final table followed the example of days one and two, and played through quickly. Most players were eliminated in places similar to their chip ranking going into the final table, with the one exception being Nam, who came into the day toward the bottom of the leader board and climbed toward the top. He outlasted everyone to join the chip leaders, Young and Dirksen, in threehanded play. Young and Dirksen were the massive chip leaders going into the final table. Throughout the day, they both utilized their advantage, putting pressure on the smaller stacks, and taking risks in order to accumulate chips. Dirksen eventually eliminated Nam when his 10 10 held up against Nam's 8 8 on a 5 4 2 6 A board. Nam took home $239,230 for his third-place finish. With Nam's elimination, Dirksen and Young were down to heads up for the bracelet and the $616,154 first-place prize.

Going into heads-up play, the chip stacks of Young and Dirksen were comparable in size. Dirksen quickly got into a rhythm and was winning the majority of pots through aggressive play. Young even gave Dirksen a number of walks. A very interesting hand came up when Dirksen raised to $220,000 with 10 7 and Young called with 8 7. The flop brought A 3 2 and both players checked. The turn brought the J and once again they each checked. The 9 on the river prompted Young to stab at the pot with $175,000. Dirksen looked incredulously at Young for a moment, and eventually just called. His intuition was correct and he took down the pot with 10 high. Dirksen used his momentum to build up a chip lead of around $1 million before the definitive hand of the match came down. Both players saw the flop for no raise with Young holding 10 3, and Dirksen J 10. 10 3 2 came down on the flop. Dirksen bet and Young raised. Dirksen quickly went all in with his top pair, and Young called instantly with his tens and threes. The turn brought the 9 and the river the 6, improving neither player. Young doubled up to $6.5 million, while Dirksen was left with around $1 million. With blinds set to increase to $60,000-$120,000, Dirksen needed to regain some chips quickly if he wanted to have a shot at winning. He pushed a number of times and picked up a few small pots before the flop. With only minutes left in the level, Young open-pushed with A 7, and Dirksen called with K J. The board came down 10 7 6 4 Q, giving Young the pot, the bracelet, and the $615,154. Dirksen earned $381,531 for second place.