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Robert Cheung Wins WSOP Event No. 38

Fifth $1,500 Hold'em Champion of 2007 is crowned

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With the exception of Phil Hellmuth, every player who has taken down a $1,500 no-limit hold'em tournament at this year's World Series of Poker has been someone we don't recognize. Robert Cheung, a 46-year old from Vancouver, continues that trend. Cheung beat a field of 2,778 entrants who built a prize pool of $3,791,970. Cheung had to overcome two well-known poker professionals at this final table to his mettle.

Three-time bracelet winner Chris Bjorn, making his third final table of this Series, came into the day fifth in chips and hungry for another bracelet.

Erica Schoenberg entered the day fourth in chips. Coming into the WSOP, Schoenberg had just won her first major poker tournament, claiming top prize in a preliminary event at the Mandalay Bay World Poker Tour event. Schoenberg proved she is more than just the fiancée to high-stakes professional David Benyamine; she is a great player in her own right. Schoenberg undoubtedly wanted the bracelet most of all, to prove herself on the WSOP stage.

The way the action began, it looked as if Schoenberg would steamroll this entire table. On the very first hand, she eliminated Nick Goodall in ninth place when her flopped set of twos outran his pocket eights. Goodall earned $40,195. Schoenberg then eliminated Ernie Crespo in eighth place, his pocket fives no match for her tens. Crespo earned $51,192.

Schoenberg then handed the eliminating gauntlet over to Richard Murnick, and he ousted the next two players. First, Murnick bested Suey Wong with A K over A Q, and then Chris Bjorn was once again denied at a final table when he called Murnick's A10 with K Q. Wong and Bjorn earned $68,255 and 87,215, respectively. Bjorn has now won $300,155 at this year's WSOP, thanks to three final table appearances.

At this point, Schoenberg was the chip leader, but Cheung picked up a lot of ground. He doubled up through Andy Lee on the 50th hand played at the final table with A 10 against Lee's A 8. Lee moved all in a few hands later with 10 5 and lost to John Kranyak's K 8. Lee earned $119,447 for fifth place.

Schoenberg hit a major speed bump on hand No. 78, calling Murnick's under-the-gun all-in push with A Q. He was caught with his hand in the cookie jar with J 6, but he managed to turn a jack-high straight to double through Schoenberg. Cheung then claimed the chip lead he would not relinquish. In fact, the final three eliminations occurred in successive hands.

Kranyak received a nasty cooler when he found pocket queens, only to be dominated by Cheung's kings. He busted in fourth place, earning $170,139. Next, Schoenberg lost a race with A J, calling Cheung's 8 8. Schoenberg's third-place finish and $261,646 cash is her best ever at the WSOP. It was also the third-best showing by a female player in an open event this year.

Heads-up play was short and sweet. On the very first hand, Murnick called Cheung's all-in reraise with 8 7, only to discover that Cheung had the goods with A K. The board ran out J 5 4 A 4, and Murnik took home $417,117 for runner-up. Cheung earned $673,628 for his victory, along with a Corum watch and the coveted gold bracelet.