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WPT: John Phan Wins the 2008 Legends of Poker

Phan Emerges with the $1,091,428 First-Place Prize and His First WPT Title


The final six players in the 2008 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker $10,000 no-limit hold'em championship event took their seats at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California, this afternoon at 4 p.m. A first-place prize worth $1,091,428 was up for grabs, and every player had his eyes set on that prize. Five of those players were at their first WPT final table ever, while one of them, John Phan, was making a back-to-back appearance.

Here is a look at the chip stacks when things began:

Seat 1: Trong Nguyen -- 980,000
Seat 2: Amit Makhija -- 3,225,000
Seat 3: Paul Smith -- 1,130,000
Seat 4: John Phan -- 2,415,000
Seat 5: Zachary Clark -- 2,025,000
Seat 6: Kyle Wilson -- 1,425,000

In the end, it came down to a back-and-forth heads-up battle between Phan and Amit Makhija to decide the top prize. Both players doubled up during the heads-up battle, as the chip lead went through huge swings that tested each player's measure of resolve. The heads-up match lasted three-and-a-half hours, and it was Phan who emerged victorious with his first WPT title. Phan has now made three of the last six WPT final tables, and in between all of that, he won two gold bracelets at the World Series of Poker. Phan also took a huge lead in the Card Player Player of the Year race with the win. Phan now has 5,957 POY points, and he has a lead of 1,377 points over the player in the No. 2 spot, Erik Seidel.

Here are the highlights from the final table as featured in's live updates

Kyle WilsonKyle Wilson Eliminated in Sixth Place ($176,035)

John Phan raised to 160,000, and Zachary Clark reraised to 560,000. Kyle Wilson immediately moved all in for his last 995,000, and the action folded back around to Phan.

After a few minutes, Phan finally decided to fold. Clark, despite being more than priced in, hesitated before calling, and his suspicions were confirmed when he saw Wilson's pocket kings. Clark did hold one overcard, however, with his A J.

The flop came out A 7 5, and the crowd groaned at the bad beat put on Wilson. The turn and river brought no miracles when they came 5 3.

Wilson was eliminated in sixth place, and Clark was now contending for the chip lead.

Trong Nguyen Doubles Up

Trong Nguyen moved all in for 770,000, and Amit Makhija made the call. They then turned up their hands:

Makhija: A K
Nguyen: 6 6

Board: J 10 2 10 6

Nguyen doubled up on the hand to survive, and he now held 1.3 million.

Trong NguyenTrong Nguyen Eliminated in Fifth Place ($211,245)

Amit Makhija raised to 150,000, and Trong Nguyen called from the big blind.

The flop came 7 7 2, and Nguyen bet 300,000. Makhija made the call, and the turn was the 4. Nguyen then moved all in for 800,000.

After some thought, Makhija called and showed 6 6. Nguyen was in bad shape with K Q, and the river failed to give him one of his four outs when the 5 fell.

Nguyen was eliminated in fifth place, earning $211,245.

Paul SmithPaul Smith Eliminated in Fourth Place ($246,450)

Paul Smith moved all in preflop from the small blind for 1,225,000, and John Phan went into the tank. After three minutes, Smith called the clock, and with the countdown from the tournament director under 10 seconds, Phan made the call. The two players then turned up their hands:

Smith: A 7
Phan: 8 8

Board: 9 7 7 10 6

Phan fell behind on the flop, but he came back to make a 10-high straight and won the hand. Smith was eliminated in fourth place, and he took home $246,450 in prize money.

John Phan Takes Forever To Fold

John Phan raised on the button to 185,000, and Zach Clark moved all in from the small blind for his last 1,435,000.

Amit Makhija folded his big blind, and Phan went into the tank ... way into the tank ... for about five minutes.

Eventually, Phan very slowly mucked his cards, and Makhija decided to comment on Phan's long, drawn-out decisions.  Makhija asked if Phan can be a little faster, and Phan responded back that it was a tough decision, and that he almost called.

Amit MakhijaMakhija then stated that he understood, but perhaps Phan could muck his cards a little more quickly once he decides to fold. He made a statement about the lack of play at this stage of the game and made it clear he wants to see as many hands as possible.

Phan then replied, "I don't play on the Internet like you, kid."

Amit Makhija Picks Off a Bluff

John Phan raised on the button to 235,000, and Amit Makhija called from the big blind. The flop came K 10 2, and Makhija checked.

Phan bet 200,000, and Makhija made the call. The turn was the 5, and Makhija checked again. Phan bet 345,000, and Makhija called.

The river was the 4, and Makhija checked. Phan bet 400,000, and, after some thought, Makhija made the call. Phan then said, "King is good," and didn't show his hand. Makhija turned over his K 9 and took a big pot that put him over 7 million.

Phan took a big hit to his stack and sat in third place.

Zachary ClarkZachary Clark Eliminated in Third Place ($281,645)

Zachary Clark moved all in preflop for 1,855,000, and Amit Makhija made the call. John Phan mucked, and the two players flipped up their cards:

Makhija: A 6
Clark: K 2

Board: 10 7 5 A J

Clark was eliminated in third place, and he took home $281,645. Makhija won the hand, and he took back the chip lead with 6,440,000.
John Phan Doubles Up with a King on the River!

Amit Makhija raised to 320,000, and John Phan reraised to 1.2 million. Makhija moved all in, and Phan goes into the tank.

After about a minute, Phan wandered over to his friends on the rail and annouced a call. Makhija asked if Phan had a pair and was relieved to see that he was coin-flipping with his pocket deuces. Phan showed A K, which had most in the crowd wondering why he took so long.

The flop came J 4 3, and Makhija retained the lead. The turn was the J, which gave Phan more outs with a counterfeit. Phan needed an ace, king, four, or three to win the pot, and the river was the .... K!

Phan hit his card and doubled up to a massive chip lead.

John Phan -- 8,940,000
Amit Makhija -- 2,260,000

Amit MakhijaAmit Makhija Doubles Up

John Phan raised to 300,000, and Amit Makhija moved all in for nearly 2,000,000.

Not surprisingly, Phan went into the tank. After a few minutes, he made the call, showing Q 9. Makhija was momentarily stunned by the call, and he produced A 6.

The flop came K Q J and the room exploded as Phan hit his queen. Makhija was dejected, wondering when the drawouts would end.

Phan called out for a deuce, and he got his wish when the dealer turned the 2. He was just one more card away from his first WPT championship, and he rubbed his palms together in anticipation.

The online contingent in the audience screamed one last time for an ace, and the dealer turned over the ... A!

There was a mixture of collective groans and explosive cheers as Makhija doubled up to 3,960,000. Phan retained the lead but now only had 6,440,000.

John Phan Picks Off a Bluff

Amit Makhija raised to 400,000 on the button and John Phan called. The flop came down 9 8 5, and Phan checked.

Makhija bet 600,000, and Phan called. The turn was the 2, and both players checked.

The river was the 6, and Makhija bet 1.5 million. Phan made the call and showed J 9 for a nine-high flush. Makhija said good call and mucked his 10 2.

Here were the chip counts after the hand.

Amit Makhija -- 2,620,000
John Phan -- 8,580,000

Amit Makhija Doubles Up

Amit Makhija raised to 320,000 and John Phan called.

The flop came K 7 4, and Phan checked. Makhija bet 360,000, and Phan quickly check-raised to 820,000.

After some thought, Makhija moved all in, and Phan immediately called. Makhija showed 9 6 for a flush draw, and Phan showed K 7 for top two pair.

The turn was the 10, giving Makhija more outs with a gutshot straight draw. Phan was once again only one card away from the title, but the 8 hit the river, giving Makhija his straight.


Amit Makhija Doubles Up

After being grinded down to his final 1.6 million with a failed bluff attempt, Amit Makhija got the rest of his chips in with A 8 and was relieved to see that he was dominating John Phan's A 2.

The board ran out K K 10 8 4, and Makhija doubled up to 3.2 million.

John Phan

John Phan Wins the 2008 Legends of Poker ($1,091,428)

Amit Makhija moved all in, and John Phan made the call. Makhija showed K 7, and Phan was racing with the 3 3.

The flop came Q 5 5, and Makhija picked up more outs to counterfeit Phan's pair.

The turn was the A, and now a queen would chop the pot.

The river was the 10, and Phan won the 2008 Legends of Poker tournament.

Makhija earned $563,320 for his second-place finish. Phan earned $1,091,428 and he took a monster lead of nearly 1,500 points in the CardPlayer Player of the Year race.

Final-Table Results:

1st Place: John Phan -- $1,091,428
2nd Place: Amit Makhija -- $563,320
3rd Place: Zachary Clark -- $281,645
4th Place: Paul Smith -- $246,450
5th Place: Trong Nguyen -- $211,245
6th Place: Kyle Wilson -- $176,035



almost 14 years ago

yeahh kid


almost 14 years ago

Congrats homeboy! Ray D- Stocktone, Califas