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WSOP: Bracelet Winner Q and A -- David Woo

Woo Wins his Talks About Winning his First Gold Bracelet after Coming so Close Last Year


David WooDavid Woo made the final table of a $1,500 no-limit hold'em event at last year's World Series of Poker. He started the final day with just over 1 million in chips, at a final table with no threat in the form of a big-name professional, and he finished in fifth place. At the 2008 WSOP, Woo made the final table of yet another $1,500 no-limit hold'em tournament (Event No. 39). He started the final day  with just over 1 million in chips, at a final table with no threat in the form of a big-name professional, and this time he finished in first place to win his first gold bracelet. Card Player caught up with Woo at the post final-table press conference and he spoke about the difference between this year over 2007, and why he loves $1,500 no-limit hold'em fields.

Question: What kind of work did you do before you started playing poker?

David Woo: I had a family-owned coffee shop, and I had to be there early in the morning and I would be playing poker all night and then have to go in early in the morning. The coffee shop got in the way of my poker is basically what happened. Playing poker I was starting to make some money and I’m selling coffee for $1.50 working all day. I quit the coffee business and took up poker full time...part time.

Q: How long have you been playing professionally?

DW: I don’t know what a professional is, but I’ve been playing cards for seven-eight years. I’ve been to the World Series since 2005.

Q: Money vs. Bracelet, what’s more important?

DW: You know that’s crazy, because a buddy of mine who was rooting me on just won a bracelet at a Tunica event. The money wasn’t a big deal there, but when they brought that bracelet out it was the realization that he had accomplished something. But the amount of money here is so significant that its got to be the money over the bracelet in the end, but the bracelet is huge validation.

Q: What was your biggest WSOP accomplishment before this?

DW: When I made the final table last year for sure. In the 2006 World Series main event I had the chip lead on day 4. I got into a huge hand and if I won that hand, which was basically a coin flip, I would have been second in chips to Jamie Gold…I eventually finished 132…but if I win that hand it’s almost guaranteed I’m going to the final table I would have had so many chips at that point.

Q: You came in with over a million and grew your stack even larger to take the chip lead, and then you knocked out two players on the same hand to take an overwhelming chip lead. At what point did you start thinking this is my bracelet to win?

DW: When the day started. Yesterday I was the chip leader for a while heading into the nine-handed session…Not to be braggadocio, but with these guys I felt I was the best player. I would have been sick with anything less than first place, just like I was last year. It was about the same situation. If you get a table full of pros you’re just hoping to win, but I really expected to win and it turns out I did.

Q: How much did that experience of playing last year with a lot of chips, as well as the main event help coming into today?

DW: You know every time you play poker it’s a learning experience. Last year it was such a crap shoot at the final table. They did change the structure this year where there is more play at the final table. Last year it was just ugly, for five hours we didn’t see a flop, I’m exaggerating but it was all in - all in - all in until we just knocked each other out. With the amount of chips that we had and the blind structure the way it was I wanted to play a lot of small pots and not get into any coin-flip situations. I never wanted to be in on a coin flip…I want to play coin flips with a bunch of good players where your edge is very marginal, but against these guys I feel like I can read them and out play them.

Q: You knocked out Thom Wethmann and Curtis Early with one hand, limping with A-K in late position, can you talk about that?

DW: I play so many hands differently. You know I raise with junk and limp with big hands. I’m just hoping right there that somebody makes a move preflop and I can come over the top of them. If they make a huge move then I’m going to have a decision. But if they make it semi-small then I can make it another reraise and hopefully they fold, that’s the way I wanted to play that hand. As it turned out everybody limped and I flopped the stone-cold nuts, and I was scared for my life because I know people are on tremendous draws. But I faded the draws and it turns out that was a key hand.

Q: What are your plans for the rest of the World Series?

I have played five or six tournaments this year and I cashed in one for small before this. I LOVE the $1,500 events on the weekends because anyone and everyone is looking to play and its good overlay. I do plan to play in a couple more events and my main goal this year was to play in some of these and then play in the main event, so I’m on schedule.