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WSOP -- Steve Sung Wins Event No. 4

Sung Takes Home His First Gold Bracelet and $771,106


Steve Sung

Steve Sung’s first major tournament title not only brought an assortment of personal records, but it also contained a World Series of Poker landmark. Sung, who won event No. 4 ($1,000 no-limit hold’em) at the Rio Wednesday night, outlasted a record 6,012 players, making it the largest non-main-event field in the history of poker. The professional player from Torrance, California, not only won his first bracelet, but his victory also ended a series of final-table disappointments over the last couple of years.

Sung had previously finished runner-up at the 2008 World Poker Tour Shooting Star to Brandon Cantu, fourth at the 2008 WPT Doyle Brunson Classic Championship, and he busted out close to the bracelet at three prior WSOP final tables. The fourth WSOP final table proved to be the charm for Sung, as he netted the $771,106 first-place prize, the largest of his young poker career.

His road to the bracelet in the $1,000 no-limit hold’em event was not easy among a minefield of amateur players. Sung entered the final table second in chips to the tournament veteran Daniel Heimiller, and he had to fight his way back after a downward spiral left his victory hopes in jeopardy.

After rising to the chip lead early at the final table with 4 million, Sung took a nosedive and eventually dipped below a million before going on a tear that left him with an overwhelming chip lead.

Dani HeimillerThe catalyst for Sung’s rebound was the stack of Heimiller. The turning point came in a hand where Heimiller raised to 210,000 preflop, and Sung called from the big blind. Both players saw a flop of ADiamond Suit 10Spade Suit 8Diamond Suit, and Sung bet out 300,000. Heimiller made the call, and the turn brought the JClub Suit. Sung fired out again, this time turning up the heat with a bet of 650,000. Heimiller announced raise and put out 1,500,000 total, for a raise of 850,000. Sung went into the tank before shoving the remainder of his chips into the middle. It didn’t take too long for Heimiller to fold, and Sung took down the huge pot. He was now the chip leader with 6,350,000.

The confrontations between the two most accomplished players at the final table eventually erupted into a huge elimination hand that propelled Sung to victory.

After limping into a pot preflop, Heimiller was faced with a raise of 350,000 by Sung and a call from Panayote Vilandos. Heimiller elected to go all in over the top of Sung’s raise. Sung called the all-in bet, and Vilandos folded. Heimiller exposed the ASpade Suit KSpade Suit and had Sung’s AHeart Suit QSpade Suit dominated. The crowd gathered in anticipation, and the flop of QClub Suit 6Diamond Suit 3Heart Suit was magical for Sung, giving him a huge lead in the hand. Heimiller failed to catch up as the turn brought the 3Spade Suit and the 2Club Suit hit the river. Sung eliminated Heimiller in sixth place, and as a result, he held over half the chips in play (9,400,000).

After Heimiller was gone, Sung went on to eliminate two more players before reaching heads-up action versus Vilandos with close to a 3-1 chip advantage. His confidence was evident from the beginning against the much older Vilandos. Losing some pots early in the match didn’t affect Sung’s poise in trying to capture his first career title. He remained calm and collected with the bracelet looming on the table.

With a 2 million-chip lead, Sung raised preflop to 500,000, and Vilandos reraised 1,700,000 more. Sung thought about it briefly before moving all in for about 10 million. Vilandos called the additional 6,300,000 and exposed the 8Spade Suit 8Club Suit. Sung wasn’t racing with his opponent, as he tabled KSpade Suit KHeart Suit. The board ran out AHeart Suit 7Diamond Suit 2Heart Suit 6Diamond Suit 7Club Suit, and Sung took the lion’s share of the non-main-event record prize pool of $7,718,400.

Final-Table Results:

1. Steve Sung — $771,106
2. Panayote Vilandos — $473,283
3. James Matz — $313,826
4. Larry Sidebotham — $227,254
5. Nathan Mullen — $175,851
6. Daniel Heimiller — $145,009
7. Jeff Oakes — $126,613
8. Phong Huynh — $117,414
9. Danny Fuhs — $114,168