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Jerry Yang Wins the 2007 WSOP Main Event

Yang Wins an Exciting Final Table in Exciting Fashion to Take Home $8,250,000


Members of The Eccentric's Club from Ireland made the first international inroads into the World Series of Poker in the early 1980s. If any of those original members, who came across the Atlantic to chase WSOP gold, were at the main event final table in 2007, they would have had to smile when they saw how far the international presence in the game has come. The final table looked like a World Cup match at certain points, with the flags of Canada, Denmark, South Africa, and the good old U.S. of A. flying high in the crowd. Here are the countries of origin for the final nine players:

Seat No. 1: Raymond Rahme: South Africa
Seat No. 2: Alex Kravchenko: Russia

Seat No. 3: Lee Childs: U.S.
Seat No. 4: Jerry Yang: Laos (Current Residence: Temecula, CA)

Seat No. 5: Lee Watkinson: U.S.

Seat No. 6: Tuan Lam: Vietnam (Current Residence: (Ontario, Canada)
Seat No. 7: Phillip Hilm: Denmark (Current Residence: Cambridge, U.K.)
Seat No. 8: Jon Kalmar: U.K.
Seat No. 9: Hevad "Rain" Khan: U.S.

The action itself played out in a flurry of eliminations in the early going, as Jerry Yang won 30 of the first 80 hands, and built a huge chip stack. It looked as if he might run away with the final table a la Jamie Gold style from 2006. Lady luck had other ideas. After Jon Kalmar was eliminated in fifth place, each of the three remaining players, Alex Kravchenko, Raymond Rahme, and Tuan Lam all doubled up through Yang. The final four battled it out tooth and nail for the next seven and a half hours, and it looked like the final table might turn into the never-ending story. During those seven hours of poker, 107 hands were played between these four contestants. That was until Kravchenko was eliminated in fourth place on the 107th hand, at 1 a.m. Raymond Rahme fell during the next half hour and a heads-up battle was set between Yang and Lam.

The heads-up match began with Yang holding a nearly 5-to-1 chip advantage. The two played into another break, and by that point Yang had applied constant pressure to possess a nearly 12-to-1 chip advantage. Lam would double up once, with 4-3 against Yang's A-9, when he flopped a 4. It would be the last time anyone would double up through Yang for the rest of the night. The final hand came down in dramatic fashion, and it delivered a healthy, deserved dose of poker vindication:

Jerry Yang Wins the 2007 WSOP Main Event ($8,250,000)

After a 16-hour odyssey, Jerry Yang has emerged as the last man standing in the 2007 WSOP. On the final hand, Yang raised to $2.3 million and Lam moved all in. Yang called quickly and tabled 8 8, while Lam showed A Q. Both players cheered with their respective sections, celebrating their coin flip. Lam grabbed the Canadian flag and started waving it, while Yang's supporters chanted, "USA, USA, USA!" Their chants didn't change the flop, as it came Q 9 5. Lam's supporters exploded in triumph, but as every player knows, there are still two more cards to come. Yang picked up some outs when the turn brought the 7, and he could with any 8 or 6. The river brought the 6, giving Yang the straight and the WSOP title. He was embraced by his supporters as the rest of the crowd again chanted, "USA, USA, USA!" He took down $8.250 million and the world championship bracelet for his efforts. Lam won the second-place prize money of $4,840,981, and the envy of Canadians as well as poker players across the globe.

Yang was a gracious champion and he took time to thank God, the WSOP staff, all his sponsors, and everyone in attendance after his victory. "I just can't explain the feelings inside me. I just thank my God," said Yang. He then announced his intention to donate 10 percent of his winnings evenly to the Make-A-Wish foundation, Feed the Children, and Ronald McDonald House charities. "I can use this money to do a lot of good for people out there said Yang, the new reigning world champion.

Here is each bustout hand from the main event final table leading up to the heads-up match as seen in the event logs:

Phillip Hilm Eliminated in Ninth Place ($525, 934)

On a board of K J 5 2, Jerry Yang bets $4 million and Hilm moves all in. Yang makes the call and flips over A K. Hilm shows 8 5 and the crowd reacts with a mix of glee, disappointment from the Denmark contingent, and excitement. The river brings the 6 and Hilm is eliminated in ninth place. He played an aggressive game early, but Yang was just as aggressive, and the Scandinavian player went from the largest chip stack at the start of the day, to the first player to be eliminated. He will take home $525,934 in prize money as a consolation prize though. Yang is now the overwhelming chip leader, and he has a third of the chips in play with over $44 million.

Lee Watkinson Eliminated in Eighth Place ($585,699)

Action is folded to Jerry Yang in the small blind and he makes a raise. Lee Watkinson thinks, and then pushes all in for $8,715,000 more. Yang stares Watkinson down as the chips are counted in a process that takes minutes. When the final amount is announced, Yang makes the call. As soon as the words escape his lips, a shock rips through the crowd, and almost immediately, everyone is standing. Watkinson tables A 7, but is dominated when Yang rolls over A 9. The flop is dealt 6 4 2, and Yang takes a commanding lead. Hevad Khan starts dancing and yelling for some reason, but it does nothing to alleviate the pained expression on Watkinson's face. The turn comes the K, and Watkinson is drawing to a 7 only to keep his tournament hopes alive. The river brings the J, and Watkinson is eliminated from the main event. He takes home $585,699 for his efforts, and exits to a nice round of applause. Jerry Yang now has a significant chip lead at $55,015,000.

Lee Childs Eliminated in Seventh Place ($705,209)

It is folded to Childs in the small blind, and he raises to $480,000 more. Jerry Yang waits for the count on Childs, and then moves all in. Childs stands up, back to the table as he contemplates his decision. He returns to his chair, with his dwindling chip stack reflected in the ruby red glasses atop his black hat. Yang is statuesque as Childs thinks, hand covering his face. A look of contentment spreads across Childs' face as he seems to make his decision. He announces, "I call," and immediately the crowd is on its feet. Childs pumps both his fists when he realizes his K J, has Yang's J 8 dominated. Things look better on the flop as it comes 6 4 4 and Childs is in prime position to double up. Things take a drastic turn for him, however, when the turn rolls off one of the sickest cards in the deck, the 8. Now Yang takes the lead, but Childs still has a king or club to take the pot back. His journey ends when the river brings the 9, and he is sent to the rail in seventh place for a $705,209 payday. Yang now has almost half the chips in play.

Hevad "RainKhan" Khan Eliminated in Sixth Place ($956,243)

Jerry Yang raises to $1.5 million from middle position, and Khan reraises to $6 million from the small blind, leaving himself less then $3.5 million behind. Yang goes into the tank, and then elects to make the call. Prior to the flop, Khan moves all in dark, putting the pressure on Yang. The flop comes K 4 2, and the action is now on Yang. He needs less than a minute, and then makes the call with J J. Khan turns over A Q, and his supporters erupt in pleas for the turn to match. The turn comes 3 and Khan picks up four more outs. He misses when the river comes 3 and he is eliminated in sixth place for a payday just under a million dollars. Yang has now eliminated every player at the final table.

Jon Kalmar Eliminated in Fifth place ($1,255,069)

Raymond Rahme raises to $2.5 million and Jon Kalmar moves all in for $10,490,000 more. Rahme thinks briefly as his green-clad spectators rise, ready to burst at any second. Rahme makes the call and shows down J J, and Kalmar tables A K. Both camps explode in support of their respective players, with calls for an ace or king tangling with yells for a third jack. Kalmar stands, wiping his hands on his black shirt, emblazoned with a picture of Family Guy character Stewie Griffin dressed as the lead character from A Clockwork Orange. The flop comes 10 9 6, and Rahme maintains the lead. Kalmar gets no help when the 3 comes on the turn and he is down to the last card. The river is the 3 and Kalmar is eliminated in fifth place. Rahme's supporters burst out in song, and the 62-year-old busts out a little dance to celebrate. He now has $29,890,000 in chips.

Alex Kravchenko Eliminated in Fourth Place ($1,852,721)

Jerry Yang moves all in preflop and Alex Kravchenko makes the call. Kravchenko flips over his initials, in the form of A K. Yang turns up pocket eights. The flop rolls out Q 9 8 and the crowd goes wild. Yang, Raymond Rahme, and Tuan Lam spring to their prospective corners to celebrate, because the likely elimination of Kravchenko would mean at least a $3,048,025 payday for all three. Things take a moment to calm down, and then the turn and river bring 4 3. Kravchenko is eliminated in fourth place, and he takes home $1,852,721 in prize money.

Raymond Rahme Eliminated in Third Place ($3,048,025)

Jerry Yang raises to $2.5 million and is reraised by Raymond Rahme to $8.6 million. Yang makes the call, and the flop comes A J 8. Rahme checks and Yang fires out a $10 million bet. Rahme moves all in, and Yang is faced with his biggest decision of the tournament. Rahme looks calm as he pushes all of his chips into the middle, while Yang looks unsure of his decision. He goes into the tank for several minutes, and the ESPN arena is silent. Yang looks up and then says, "I call." Rahme quickly says, "nice call" and turns over K K. Yang does his patented double fist pump and rolls over A 5. The next two cards brick for Rahme when they come 3 2, and he is sent home with over $3 million.