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Dao Bac Wins Event No. 51 at the WSOP

Vietnamese Poker Pro Takes Down the Last Mixed Event


Away from the bright lights, big names, and the main stage enjoyed by the likes of $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. champion Freddy Deeb, Dao Bac bested an impressive final table lineup to win his first-ever gold bracelet. Seven hundred thirty players entered the tournament and created a prize pool of $664,300.

After last year's World Series of Poker, many pros had made the request for a wider variety of events to showcase overall poker dominance, and not simply the mastery of everyone's favorite, no-limit hold'em. The addition of the extra H.O.R.S.E. events this year was evidence that someone was listening. A person who listened up might know something about many pro players' distaste for the game of razz, the low stud variation that constitutes the "R" in H.O.R.S.E. The final table of the 2004 razz event was televised, and pros John Juanda and Howard Lederer were very vocal about their dislike of the game, despite the fact they have obvious proficiency in the discipline to have made a final table. S.H.O.E. is H.O.R.S.E. without the razz; it is sometimes called H.O.S.E. However, according to Nolan Dalla, this event was originally created as a marketing ploy. Lined up with the H.O.R.S.E. tournament, this was the ultimate advertising gimmick to promote the original site of the World Series of Poker, Binion's Horseshoe Casino. This tournament served as a faint reminder of those older days. Also, with a $1,000 buy-in, this tournament, gave many newer players with smaller bankrolls a shot at a mixed game event, without the hassle of the fickle game of razz.

This event was initially scheduled to be a two-day event, but after 146 players survived to day two, it became clear a third day would be necessary. The final eight players included several familiar faces. Patrick Poels, who has won a bracelet the last two summers at the WSOP, came into the day seventh in chips. Noted poker author Michael Craig, at his second final table of this year, came into the day sixth in chips. Tournament circuit regular Raymond Davis sat in fourth chip position, and 2003 California State Poker Champion and World Poker Tour regular Chip Jett sat on the bottom of the ladder eighth in chips.

Dao Bac sent an early message to the other players at the table, when he flopped a set against Poels' pocket aces, and eliminated him in eighth place. Poels earned $11,957 for his finish. Jett was able to use two timely double ups early on to get himself off the short stack and improve his chances for his first bracelet.

Michael Craig was eliminated in seventh place during the Omaha eight-or-better round when he committed his last chips with a 7-low draw, a pair of queens, and the nut-flush draw. The board bricked out, and Craig was handed his second seventh-place finish of this Series. Craig's newest book is a guide to many forms of tournament poker, edited together from sessions with a laundry list of top pros. Craig has mentioned how his tournament play has improved drastically due to the tips he received from these pros. While a bracelet would have served as the ultimate endorsement to the advice provided in the book, two final tables, one in a mixed game tourney, still speak volumes about what gems that book may contain. A $15,943 payday is nice, too.

Hour two of the tournament featured the two versions of seven-card stud and claimed Vladimir Shchemelev in sixth place and Irme Leibold in fifth place. The players earned $20,793 and $26.572, respectively. Raymond Davis was the next to exit. Davis was the life of the final table, chatting loud and interacting a lot with the rail. Davis was eliminated in the next hour, during the hold'em round, when he couldn't improve his A-K and Bac rivered a straight. Davis earned $34,012 for his fourth-place finish.

In the next round, the players were very tight, until Jett lost two large stud eight-or-better hands, which put him in chip trouble. Jett ended up getting it all in with queens against Adam Geyer, only to have Geyer finish with aces up. Jett earned $55,801 for his finish, matching his best ever finish at the WSOP.

Dao Bac was merciless during heads-up play. Geyer received great support from his rail supporters, including Shannon Shorr, but they couldn't compete with Bac's legion of family and friends. Bac crippled Geyer in the hold'em round, flopping a king-high straight. After surviving one all-in, Geyer committed all of his chips on the final hand, with A 7 against Bac's 7 4, on a 10 7 5 3 board. The 4 on the river eliminated Geyer, earning him an $88,691 payday. Dao Bac earned $157,875 for his first-place finish and a coveted gold bracelet.