Yang’s The Man in World Series Thriller
By Gerard Harris
Laos-born poker rookie Jerry Yang was considering quitting his day job today as he won the World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio, Las Vegas.

For his efforts, Yang won $8,250,000 and a place in poker history. Vietnamese-born Tuan Lam was runner-up, bagging just under $5 million. A globally-represented final table saw South African Raymond Rahme 3rd, England-based Russian Alex Kravchenko 4th, and Englishman Jon Kalmar in 5th.

Playing far the best poker at the table, Yang found himself heads-up against Vietnamese-born Tuan Lam and a 10/1 chip leader. Lam will probably rue some tight heads-up play as he arguably laid down too many hands, and when the chips were finally all in, it came down to a coin flip. Yang held a pair of 8s, the hand he’d knocked out British-based Alex Kravchenko with. Up against Lam’s AQ, Yang must have sensed that the pair would see him through again.

The flop came Q-9-5, helping Lam out with a pair. A turn of a 7 meant Yang needed a 6 or 8 to win. The magical 6 came on the river to make Yang’s straight and dreams come true.

Six consecutive WSOP main events have now been won by rookies. The 2007 main event saw 6,350 players fight it out over 12 gruelling days for the bracelet, the cash and the glory.

A humbled Jerry Yang said shortly afterwards: “I said yesterday that the bracelet would be a lovely thing, but the money was always important so I could get involved with the community. When I was down heavily on the final table, I got down on my knees in the bathroom and prayed to God that I could come back.”

A religious man, Yang has promised to donate 10% of his winnings (just shy of $1 million) to charity.

WSOP commissioner Jeffrey Pollack added: “It’s been one of the most international final tables and definitely one of the most exciting. Congratulations to Jerry Yang, a truly great winner.”

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