The World Series of Poker tour is the most famous and most popular Poker tour in the entire world. During the last week of May it was yet again time for the first event of the season and this time it had a bit of a twist.
The 2012 WSOP Number 1 event was the Casino Employees No-Limit Hold Em. Even though this is far from the biggest or most prestigious event on the circuit, it is still a valid event and there was a beautiful gold bracelet handed out after the final hand was concluded.
The winner of the first WSOP event of the year was no other than Chiab “Chip” Saechao. For his inaugural win he pocketed just over $70,000, far from the big money that will be played for in some of the next few WSOP events.
732 different players had paid the $1,500 and started the tournament. When it was time for day 2 Saechao was the chip leader with just 46 players left. This meant that over 650 players had been eliminated on the first day alone, something that is quite uncommon in a field of this size.
Saechao was closely followed by James Routos throughout most of the tournament and with just 27 players left the two had gained a sizeable chip advantage on all the other remaining players. But after that something went wrong for Saechao and the other players started digging in to his stack. He just scraped by to reach the final table with 99,000 chips. This meant he was the second smallest stack of the final table. This was a huge turnaround from his early hours of the tournament where he was constantly dominating the play and pushing the smaller stacks around.
This lead to another amazing turnaround and it started just 15 minutes in to the final table. Saechao went all in against Georgi Ivanov and doubled up his stack to 190,000 in chips. This was the first step in an amazing turnaround that would make even the most experienced professionals tip their hats.
An hour in after the first big move came the second as he went heads-up against his former paring horse, James Routos. After great play throughout the entire hand, Saechao was able to win another 130,000 and build his stack to 320,000 in chips. At the same time, Routos lost position to Saechao and went down to just 190,000 in chips after that big loss.
There was a long awaited dip where he went down to just 200,000 but he quickly bounced back and doubled up several times. He eliminated Nicholas Vaca-Rondon with pocket aces and added the pot of 250,000 to his growing stack. At this point it seemed like no player would even get close to stopping Saechao and he was on the run of a lifetime.
Saechao finally knocked out Routos in third place which put him heads-up against Patricia Baker. He had a chip lead of around 1,000,000 in chips and it would only take him another 20 minutes to end the tournament. Saechao is a 35-year-old BlackJack dealer from California and this was his first ever live cash and his first ever WSOP Gold Bracelet. With the amazing run that he went on, going from second to last and winning it all, he was well worth it.
This marked the end of this season’s first WSOP event and they will now start showing up all over the US and the world. They are now open to the experienced professionals, ambitious amateurs and anyone willing to gamble and win.