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WSOP: J.C. Tran Wins Event No. 49

Tran Wins First Bracelet


J.C. TranIn a year that has been called the year of the pros, there are still many names that haunted a long list of those unable to add a world series bracelet to their impressive poker resumes. It seems it is also a good year for crossing names off of that list, as the consummate professional J.C. Tran has just won his first bracelet after taking down Event No. 49, $1500 no limit hold 'em, besting a field of 2,718 other players to earn the elusive piece of ornamentation.

Tran's position at the top of the chip counts jostled throughout the final table as he continued to vie for control of the felt with Rasmus Nielsen, the man he would eventually play heads up with for the title. Despite going into heads up play as over a 3 to 1 underdog, Tran persevered, maintained focus, and tenaciously chipped away at his Danish opponent over the course of two levels of heads up play to overtake the chip lead. Shortly thereafter, Tran was posing for pictures with the winning hand, his new bracelet, and $631,170.

After accruing over $6 million in tournament winnings, taking down a host of championship titles, including 2007 World Poker Challenge andthe PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker in 2006, and consistently appearing near the top of player of the year races, Tran has finally managed to take home poker gold.

Here were the chip counts going into the final table:

Seat 1: Christoph Kohnen - 293,000
Seat 2: Joe Pelton - 1,093,000
Seat 3: Jesper Hoog - 320,000
Seat 4: John Conroy - 501,000
Seat 5: Robert Kalb - 456,000
Seat 6: JC Tran - 1,438,000
Seat 7: Chad Siu - 185,000
Seat 8: Peter Nguyen - 870,000
Seat 9: Rasmus Nielsen - 2,998,000

Here is how it all happened, as featured in's live coverage of the final table.

Short Stack Shuffle

From the button, J.C. Tran raised to 80,000 only to have Chad Siu move all in from the small blind for a total of 204,000. Peter Nguyen got out of the way, and Tran made the call, showing K10 and drawing live against Siu's AQ. Tran was unable to improve as the board ran out 8768J, and Siu doubled up to around 400,000.

Christoph KohnenChristoph Kohnen Eliminated in 9th Place ($58,248)

John Conroy opened the betting with a raise to 86,000 from early position. Action folded around to Christoph Kohnen in the small blind, who shoved in his short stack of 174,000. Conroy made the call, tabling KJ, which was dominated by Kohnen's AJ. There was no double up in the cards for Kohnen, however, the board running out Q99310 and giving Conroy a straight to take down the pot and send Kohnen to the rail.

Robert Kalb
Robert Kalb Eliminated in 8th Place ($85,331)

Ramsus Nielsen made the standard opening raise to 80,000, and short stack Robert Kalb moved all in from the big blind, making it 355,000 to go. Nielsen quickly made the call, showing AQ and dominating Kalb's A9.

Kalb failed to find the same luck that Conroy had caught a few hands earlier, however, the flop bringing AK6, the turn 10, and the river 4.

Kalb was sent home in 8th place.

Jesper Hoog
Jesper Hoog Eliminated in 7th Place ($113,157)

Jesper Hoog moved all in for his last 220,000 from middle position before the flop. Peter Nguyen called, and the two players turned over their hands.

Hoog: K7
Nguyen: AK

The board ran out 1022J9, and Nguyen was unable to conjure up any of the deck's three remaining sevens to stay alive. He was eliminated in 7th place, earning over $110,000 for his efforts.

Chad Siu Eliminated in 6th Place ($150,257)Chad Siu

From middle position, Chad Siu moved all in for his last 210,000. After displaying some inner turmoil, Joe Pelton reluctantly made the call.

Pelton: A9
Siu: AK

Siu was in good shape to score a much needed double up. The flop was unimposing, 1074, as was the turn, the 3, since Siu was the only one holding a spade, leaving Pelton with only two outs. One of those outs was the 9, however, which appeared on the river to send Siu to the rail in 6th place. Pelton, looking somewhat guilty, raked in the pot and went back to work.

Chip Leaders Tangle, Tran Triumphs

JC Tran opened with a raise to 105,000, and was called only by Rasmus Nielson in the big blind. On the flop of 943, Nielson led out for 150,000. Tran made the call. The turn brought the 7, and once again Nielson fired at the pot, this time for 325,000. Again, Tran elected just to call, and both players went to the river. The 7 hit the felt, pairing the board and missing any heart draws. After staring at the table for nearly a minute, Nielson checked. Tran checked behind, and showed down 96 for the win and the chip lead.

Joe Pelton Joe Pelton Eliminated in 5th Place ($191,068)

Joe Pelton moved all in preflop for his last 330,000 chips. JC Tran made the call, bringing Pelton to his feet to sweat his tournament life. Pelton turned over a meager looking Q6, live but trailing against Tran's KJ. The flop was kind to Pelton, coming 762. The turn brought a meaningless 8, but the K on the turn hammered in the last nail on Pelton's coffin, pairing Tran's king and sending Pelton home in fifth place. Tran moved back into second place after the win.

Peter Nguyen Eliminated in 4th Place ($233,734)
Peter Nguyen

Preflop, a severely short stacked Peter Nguyen moved all in for his last 225,000. Chip leader Rasmus Nielsen made the call from the small blind, and the players turned over their cards.

Nguyen: 97
Nielsen: KJ

The flop looked like a walk for Nguyen, coming 774 to give the short stack a set of sevens. The turn improved Nielsen to two outs with the K, giving him a 5% chance of winning the pot. Nguyen crawled inside his hood, dreading the fall of the final card. His fatal outlook, unfortunately, was quite astute, as the K did in fact fall on the river, giving Nielsen the bigger full house and the pot. Nguyen shipped his stack to the chip leader, and went to collect his $233,734 payday for his fourth place finish.

John ConroyJohn Conroy Eliminated in 3rd Place ($278,255)

John Conroy opened with a raise to 175,000. Rasmus Nielsen then asked him to count his remaining stack, which totaled around 800,000. Something about the number must have appealed to Nielsen, as he then announced an all-in raise. Conroy made the call with little hesitation, and the players flipped up their hands.

Nielsen: A8
Conroy: AQ

It seems that either the poker gods have taken a shine to Rasmus Nielsen, or his massive stack has developed a magnetic charge capable of drawing in whatever other chips make their way to the felt. Nielsen hit his three outer, pairing his eight on the flop of 855. Conroy failed to redraw on the turn, the 3, and the river, the 4.

Rasmus Nielsen JC Tran Wins Event 49 ($631,170) - Rasmus Nielsen Eliminated in 2nd Place ($389,557)

From the button, JC Tran raised to 215,000. Rasmus Niesen made the call, checking the flop of Q82, then calling Tran's bet of 275,000. The turn brought the 4, another check from Nielsen, and a big bet from Tran for 900,000. Nielsen responded by moving all-in, and Tran made the call, slapping KQ to the felt for the lead against Nielsen's QJ. The river was a blank, the 2, cementing Tran's victory and his first bracelet win. Tran's gaggle of railbirds exploded into celebration, swarming him and cheering loudly.