The final six poker players take their seats to compete for this WPT title...
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:55 PM
J.C. Tran wins the World Poker Challenge title and makes $683,473 plus a $25K entry into next month's WPT Championship!
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:43 PM
There were just three small hands in between those two big ones, so the heads-up final lasted five hands and less than ten minutes.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:40 PM
And here we go again. Tran raised, Alvarado moved all-in and Tran called right away. Alvarado had A 6 but Tran had T T and was way ahead. Out came the flop of K 9 9 , keeping Tran ahead. The 8 turn left Alvarado with just the three aces in the deck as outs. The river was the J and J.C. Tran has prevailed! Juan Carlos (J.C.) Alvarado is our runner-up and wins $366,798.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:36 PM
That was our first hand! We very nearly had a single-hand heads-up final!
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:33 PM
And here we go with the fist hand. Alvarado calls from the button. Tran checks. Flop was T Q 3 . Tran bet 50K. Alvarado called. Turn A . Tran bet 200K and Alvarado moved all-in. Tran immediately made the call. Alvarado showed K T for a pair of tens and gutshot draw, but Tran showed T 3 for two pair! Alvarado will need an ace, king, queen, or jack on the river to survive. And the river is ... A !!! Alvarado avoids elimination and doubles up to about 1.4M.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:24 PM
We are shuffling up to get this heads-up match underway. Alvarado will have the button for the first hand.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:20 PM
Since both finalists are "J.C.", I will just refer to them by last name henceforth. OK?
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:18 PM
And we are heads up! They are about to do the money presentation.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:15 PM
J.C. Tran raised to 120K and Pham moved all-in for the rest of his chips. Tran made the call, of course. Pham showed A 8 to Tran's K Q . The flop came T 7 3 , leaving Pham's ace-high in the lead. But the Q on the turn was bad news for The Dragon. He needed an ace on the river, but the 7 finished him off. David Pham has been eliminated in 3rd place, earning $182,260.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:11 PM
With just 200K or so left, David Pham is in all-in or fold mode now.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:10 PM
J.C. Tran raised from the button to 110K and Pham called from the small blind. Both players checked the 4 T Q flop. On the 7 turn, Pham bet 160K and Tran made the call. With the 9 river, Pham bet 200K and Tran immediately moved all-in. Pham looked pretty uncomfortable and made the unbelievable laydown, leaving himself crippled. Tran did the honorable thing and showed the 8-6 for the rivered straight.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:06 PM
David Pham raised and got no callers. Then he got a walk the next hand.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:03 PM
On a 8 8 3 flop, Pham checked and J.C. Alvarado bet 80K, which Pham called. Both checked the 3 turn. On the 5 river, Pham checked, Alvarado lunged all-in for 670K. Pham folded.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 08:00 PM
Now J.C. Alvarado raised to 60K preflop and David Pham moved all-in, a raise of 500K. Alvarado stood up to think better, then sat down and put his head on the table. Finally, he decided to fold.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:56 PM
J.C. Tran is just steamrolling right now. In a family pot, the flop came A Q 5 . Alvarado checked, Tran bet 80K, and Pham raised to 200K. Tran immediately moved in and Pham immediately folded.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:54 PM
That makes Tran the superstack now, with more than his two opponents combined.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:52 PM
J.C. Tran raised to 140K and David Pham called. On the J 4 9 flop, Tran bet 220K and Pham called. With the A turn, Tran led out with 400K. Pham called again. The river came A . Tran moved all-in and Pham, despite having half his chips already in there, folded.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:48 PM
The chip situation:
J.C. Tran: 2.1M
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:47 PM
We are underway and the blinds have been raised to 20K/40K with a 5K ante.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:34 PM
We are on a ten-minute break.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:33 PM
On a scary A T T A J board, J.C. Alvarado made a 65K bet on the river and J.C. Tran raised to 250K. Alvarado moved all-in for another 500K and Tran called. The hands were turned over: A 7 and A 2 . Chop pot, each with the full house.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:29 PM
And another walk, this time to David Pham. We are just a minute or two from the end of this level and a short break.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:27 PM
J.C. Tran just got a rare walk, when both players folded to his big blind.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:26 PM
J.C. Alvarado raised to 70K from the button and Pham called from the big. Both players checked the A 6 6 flop and 9 turn. With the K river, Pham bet 90K and J.C. called. Pham showed K-9 for for two pair and J.C. showed K-x for a lesser two pair. Pham scoops it.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:23 PM
David pham raised from the button to 70K and J.C. Tran called from the big blind. Both players checked the J T 5 flop and the 2 turn. On the 8 river, J.C. bet 80K and Pham called. Tran showed K-T for tens with a king kicker, which must have been good, as Pham slid his cards in facedown.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:19 PM
A number of small pots settled before the flop. Then David won a smallish pot by betting 120K on the river, causing J.C. Alvarado to fold.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:14 PM
That big hand illustrates the virtue of being the big stack. You can take a chance to bust another player, but even if they get lucky, you still have plenty of chips to continue fighting for the title.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:12 PM
And now we have a ballgame:
J.C. Tran: 1.8M
David Phan: 1.5M
J.C. Alvarado 1.4M
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:10 PM
In a three-way unraised pot, the flop came 82 7 . Pham and Alvarado checked to Tran on the button, who bet 70K. Pham folded but Alvarado went all-in for about 600K more. Tran made the call and turned over 9 8 for top pair. J.C. Alvarado had 7 6 for middle pair. The miracle 7 turn launched J.C. Alvarado into the lead with trips. And the 6 river means that J.C. Alvarado has gotten enormously lucky to double up through J.C. Tran.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:03 PM
J.C. Tran raised from the small blind to 74K and David Pham repopped it to 274K from the big blind. Tran folded.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 07:00 PM
J.C. Tran: 2.7M
David Pham: 1.35M
J.C. Alvarado 685K
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:56 PM
J.C. Alvarado won a nice pot when he bet 150K on the river with the board reading A 2 93 T and David Pham called him. J.C. turned over 4-5 for the nut wheel straight and Pham mucked.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:50 PM
David Pham called from the small blind and J.C. Alvarado checked the big blind. The flop came Q 9 3 . J.C. bet 40K and when Pham announced a raise, J.C. mucked before even waiting to hear the raise amount.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:45 PM
It seems for the moment that we have returned to sensible poker. Most bets and raises are being respected and we have not seen a turn card in a long time.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:43 PM
Pham made a big preflop raise to 104K and J.C. Tran limp-called from the button. On the 7 8 6 flop, Pham checked, Tran rifled out 120K and Pham folded.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:40 PM
David Pham just took down two small pots, one with a preflop raise and one with a bet on the flop in an unraised pot.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:36 PM
David Pham raised from the small blind to 82K and J.C. Alvarado called from the big. With the flop of 3 7 5 , Pham led out with a 120K bet and Alvarado made the call. The turn came 7 and Pham fired 165K. J.C. ditched the hand.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:30 PM
Here we go. Blinds are up to 12K/24K with a 3K ante. Which is not on my blind schedule. So I guess we are now on level 17.5.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:27 PM
Linda Johnson is touting to the audience Vince Van Patten's just released poker-murder mystery novel "The Picasso Flop". I haven't read it yet, but you have to admit it takes a lot of guts to put the word FLOP in the title of your first book.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:13 PM
J.C. Tran 2.5M
David Pham - 1.3M
J.C. Alvarado - 1.0M
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:12 PM
We are on a ten-minute break.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:11 PM
J.C. Alvarado (JCA) raised to 50K and J.C. Tran (JCT) raised to 190K, which JCA called. The flop came 5 4 A . JCT bet 220K and JCA folded.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:09 PM
I am astonished at how aggressive these three are being today. With the stack sizes and the blind levels, one would expect an occasional all-in with a great hand or draw. But we are seeing an all-in every four or five hands, which is just crazy. Are these guys double-parked or something?
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:07 PM
On a 5 7 2 flop, Pham bet 70K and Alvarado called. On the 3 turn, David checked and J.C. bet 150K. Pham check-raised all-in and Alvarado immediately folded.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:03 PM
So J.C. Alvarado actually had less than a million at the beginning of that last hand. Thus his double up gave him just over 1.5 million.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 06:01 PM
And just as soon as I say that, on a flop of Q J 9 , J.C. Alvarado bet, David Pham raised, and Alvarado moved all-in for 600K on top. Pham ponders and makes the call. Pham had K Q for top pair good kicker, and J.C. Alvarado had 9 2 for bottom pair and the flush draw. The showstopper turn came the K , completing Alvarado's flush but giving Pham four outs to make the full house. But the 6 river shipped the 1.5 million plus plot to J.C. Alvarado.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:57 PM
As each of these three final players have over a million in chips, and the big blind is just 16K, this at least has the potential of being a lengthy finish.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:55 PM
And the very next hand, those two got involved again. David raised to 56K and Tran called. On the A J 9 flop, Tran check-called a 62K bet. With the 6 turn, Tran checked, Pham bet 130K and Tran let it go.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:52 PM
J.C. Tran just won a big pot off David Pham. With the board reading 5 3 4 8 4 , Tran bet 230K on the river and Pham folded. Tran showed pocket eights for the full house and Pham mucked.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:47 PM
Mark Seif raised to 48K and J.C. Tran re-raised to 218K from the button. Mark contemplated and had a little dialogue with Tran. Finally, he asked the audience, "What should I do?" The audience gave him a range of advice and Seif decided to slide all his chips to the center, to the crowd's delight. Tran immediately called. Seif had A 6 and J.C. Tran had 9 9 . Out came a flop of 6 J Q , pairing Seif's six. The 8 turn left Seif with just five outs. But the K was not one of them. Mark Seif finishes in 4th place and takes home $159,478.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:39 PM
Mark Seif raised to 55K and David Pham called. The flop came J T 3 . Pham checked, Seif moved all-in and Pham folded.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:37 PM
David Pham raised to 52K and J.C. Alvarado called. The flop came 7 2 6 and David bet 75K. Alvarado announced raise and pushed 265K into the middle. Pham called. Both players checked the 6 turn. On the K river, Pham bet out 450K and Alvarado folded.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:34 PM
A chip snapshot of our four remaining players:
J.C. Tran - 1.8M
David Pham - 1.5M
J.C. Alvarado - 1.1M
Mark Seif - 310K
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:30 PM
John Hom moved all-in and David Pham called him from the blinds. Hom showed K T and Pham had Q Q . The board dropped 2 A T 3 6 and Hom did not receive enough help to overcome those ladies. John Hom finishes in 5th place, earning $136,695.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:27 PM
I can't be the only one surprised at that big hand. Danny Wong had sufficient chips to play cautious poker, so there was no need for him to call down all his chips with ace-queen unsuited. He must have figured that Tran was making a move with the bigger stack, but he should have figured that Tran would not be risking 2/3 of his chips on a move.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:22 PM
J.C. Tran raised to 45K and Danny Wong re-raised to 156K. J.C. Tran moved in and Wong called. Tran had Q Q and Wong had A Q . The flop came an amazing 6 6 6, giving Tran a boat. Wong needed an ace to make a bigger full or the case 6 to make his ace kicker play. But the J turn and 7 river gave the pot to Tran. Danny Wong has been eliminated in 6th place, earning $113,913.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:18 PM
J.C. Alvarado and Mark Seif each won small pots.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:14 PM
Linda Johnson announced that J.C. Tran won the first pot and J.C. said, "And I'm going to win the last pot too."
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:13 PM
Here on the very first hand, John Hom raised to 45K, which is 25% of his chips. The flop came J 9 T . Tran checked, David bet 90K, John folded, and J.C. check-raised to 340K. Pham folded and J.C. takes the pot, showing his K-Q for the flopped nuts!
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:09 PM
Shuffle up and deal!
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:08 PM
The player introductions have been completed and the participants are seated. Surely at a WPT final table, poker players are dressed their finest, and this is no exception. Blue jeans, ironed (but untucked) shirts, and no shorts or ratty T-shirts!
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 05:05 PM
Linda Johnson just announced that we will be starting with 8K/16K blinds and a 2K ante, so we rolled back one level. That will give John Hom and Mark Seif a little more breathing room early.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 04:59 PM
Danny Wong flew some of his friends in today, so he will have a cheering section sitting behind him.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 04:56 PM
Linda Johnson is doing the lead-in and will do the player introductions shortly.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 04:42 PM
The final table set, with its fancy lights and cameras everywhere, including, of course, the hole card cameras, can create a lot of stress to an amateur or inexperienced player. I don't expect that to be as much of a factor tonight, however, as all six of our combatants have significant tournament experience.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 04:39 PM
Mark Seif, with just 325K, is not in much better shape. To add to his woes, he has the three biggest stacks sitting to his left, so any raise he makes will be vulnerable to a big reraise from the blinds. His best chance at this title is to take a chance to double up realtively early and then have the chips to still play some poker when the blinds go up further.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 04:31 PM
Though it has not been officially confirmed yet, I believe that we will be starting this final table at the same blind level we left off from yesterday: 10K/20K with a 3K ante. That means that at a six-handed table, players will have to contribute 48K into the pot for each round, That puts John Hom, with 159K, at a mission critical level of just over three rounds of blinds and antes. Undoubtedly, he will be pushing all-in preflop within the first half dozen hands.
Wednesday, 28th of March 2007 04:09 PM
We are about an hour away from getting started. Right now, Linda Johnson is regaling the crowd of WPT Boot Camp participants with the history of the WPT and some of the "behind the scenes" info. Also, of course, she is telling raunchy jokes.
Yesterday, as the cards were being dealt at the end of a long day of play, J.C. Tran announced to the six other remaining players: "OK, I'm going to bust someone on this hand right here."
The prophecy came true, with short-stacked Brent Bibby pushed all-in pre-flop with an ace-high. It was an ace-high that stayed as much, with Tran calling him down and picking up three sixes before the hand was through. Bibby was sent home with just under $100,000 for seventh place, and the final table was set.
Play resumes today at 5pm PST, with the final six players in the World Poker Tour's World Poker Challenge battling it out for a first place prize of $683,473.
J.C. tran will take the one seat as play kicks off today. Born in Vietnam and now living in Sacramento, this young player had already proven his smarts with a degree in Business Administration. Now, he's a professional player to be reckoned with as he follows his dream to be respected in both tournaments & live games.
In 2004, J.C. Tran placed 7th in the $10,000 World Poker Tour at LAPC, 5th in the $10,000 WPT World Poker Finals at Foxwoods and 2 final tables at his first WSOP.
His most recent, and biggest payday, came at the 2007 L.A. Poker Classic just a few weeks ago, where he came in second place and won more than $1 Million.
David "Dragon" Pham, heading to the final table with the chip lead, has two first-place finishes this month, alone. He'll be looking to make it a trifecta today.
Pham came to the U.S. at 17 years old, one of 145 people on a boat leaving Vietnam for a better life. Now one of the most successful players to date, it would appear he achieved what he was seeking.
Pham is the cousin and mentee of Men "The Master" Nguyen, whom he worked for in a cleaning business that Nguyen owned. Not one to forget his roots, Pham frequently donates to charities in Vietnam.
David has 149 career cashes and almost $5 Million in tournament winnings.
Juan starts the day second in chips, eager, I'm sure, for what will be his biggest payday yet.
Hailing from McAllen, TX, Juan experienced his first major event payday with an event during the 2006 WSOP-C in New Orleans.
He's been rising fast since then, most recently with a 15th place finish in the L.A. Poker Classic main event, good for more than $100,000.
Juan cashed in another event at the LAPC this year, as well, worth more than $72,000. His total career wins amount to more than $200,000, but I'm sure he'll be looking to double-up, triple-up, or even more today.
Danny is far from a household name, but he very well could become so, given his track record since he emerged on the scene last year.
Surprisingly, though, that wasn't Danny's biggest payday. Danny placed second in the 2007 Bellagio Cup main event (a $10,000 buy-in event) and took home more than half a million dollars.
If he plays his cards right, he could top that today. With 623,000 in chips, he's got more than enough ammunition to start gunning for the one-spot.
He's the short-stack today, with just 159,000 in chips, but I wouldn't count him out. Hom is a veteran of the game, has been making the rounds on the felt for more than a decade. John even has a World Series of Poker bracelet to his credit, in addition to three other major first-place finishes.
John has been relatively quiet on the scene as of late. Could this be his big comeback?
Dubbed "The Shark" for his super aggressive and cunning style of play, Mark worked as a Prosecutor for the DA's Office in Los Angeles before his career in poker started. His attention was first brought to the game of poker at the age of seven, years before making a name for himself by taking 4th in the World Poker Tour's 2002 Legends of Poker event.
Since then he's won two World Series of Poker Bracelets, the 2005 US Poker Championship in 7 Stud, taken several major titles, and earned his place among the superstars of the poker world.
Mark will be earning his biggest payday in almost two years today, regardless of his place. Congraulations, Mark! And, good luck!
Play resumes today at 5pm PST (7 CST), so be here as PokerPages brings you LIVE coverage! With three of the six players holding WSOP bracelets, and all having cashed in major events, this is sure to be an exciting final table.
Here's a recap of the chip counts heading into the final table, and what they'e playing for:
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