It’s every poker player’s dream: to master a major tournament and take home a seven-figure score. That dream came true for relatively unknown pro Kai Chang this week at World Poker Tour (WPT) Bay 101 Shooting Star’s 2013 event.
Not only did Chang win $1,138,350 for defeating a particularly tough and deep-stacked table, he was also awarded $25,000 entry into the WPT World Championship, to be held at Bellagio in Las Vegas from May 18-24. Nice work if you can get it.
Big Names Duke It Out
Seated at the final table with Chang were a field of deep-stacked poker warriors, including Paul Volpe, who ultimately took third for a $435, 610 payday. This has been a hell of a year for Volpe already, having taken home over $600,000 for second in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic only a little more than a week before, and finishing in the money in January’s PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2013 as well. Joe Nguyen took home second for $666, 740; he finished 29th in this same event last year for a $19,200 finish, so must have been quite pleased with this much better performance. Other top finishes were renowned poker pro Eric Seidel for $295, 590 in fourth; Chris Johnson in fifth place for $208, 910; and Joe Kuether in sixth for a $162, 240 prize.
Chang’s previous wins of note include a 2006 second-place finish in the $10,000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit event at Harrah’s Rincon, as well as a 40th place finish that same year in the WSOP Main Event. He bubbled the 2008 final table at the L.A. Poker Classic in 2008, getting nothing but some TV coverage out of it all.
The Action Builds
Chang entered the final table as fifth of sixth in chips on a universally deep-stacked table. Starting out with a healthy 83 big blinds, he grew to chip leader by the 42nd hand of the final table, and remained at or close to the front runner right up until his first place finish. A combination of all deep stacks and a very solid group of players led to no one even being eliminated until the 79th hand.
Things moved a bit faster once action got down to the heads-up match between Chang and Nguyen. It only took six hands for Chang to knock Nguyen out with a straight to Nguyen’s missed diamond flush draw.
The next WPT event will be in Venice, Italy on March 25 and will be televised.