The latest World Series of Poker Europe bracelet winner is a very, very popular one. Paul Phua has, to some extent, revolutionised super high roller poker in the East with his Triton Poker Series events around the world attracting more and more great players during their growth over the last few years.

Phua’s reward coming in the shape of a small gold bracelet might seem insignificant compared to the millions of dollars he’s won at the felt. But to the Malaysian, it meant the world.

World Champion Busts Final First

With just nine of the 34 returning players on Day 2 reaching the final table, the race was on to win the near half-million-dollar top prize. The first player to lose his seat was the 2022 world champion Espen Jørstad, who left in ninth place for $45,242. Jørstad was all-in with pocket kings, only to see that he was up against Ben Heath’s pocket aces. The ten-high board sent Jørstad home right away and gave Heath a boost to his final table chances.

Out in eighth place was Finnish player Eelis Parssinen, who last week finished as runner-up in the latest Super MILLION$ event on GGPoker. Parssinen busted for a cash of $53,129 when his ace-five lost to Phua’s king-ten, a king on the flop meaning the Finn left the party and the eventual winner gained more traction at the table.

In what has already been a superb WSOP Europe festival so far, each new winner has been of a different nationality, as evidenced by the victories of Lubos Laska and Roman Verenko in #5 and #6. The next player to miss out on the opportunity to extend that run was the Hong Kong player Wayne Heung. He lost out in seventh place for a score worth $64,835 when he called Shaun Deeb’s shove for 3.6 million. It was a huge pot, and while Heung only had 1.1 million, he made the call with king-eight and was up against Deeb’s ace-queen, which found an ace on the flop to eventually eliminate Heung outside the top six.

Kid Poker Bad Beat by Phua

It was Ben Heath who lost out next. Heath shoved for 505,000 when short-stacked with ace-queen and Phua made the call with ace-nine. A seven-high flop was still fine for Heath’s chances of a double, but a nine on the turn changed all that and after an inconsequential king on the turn, Heath was out in sixth place for $82,104.

Julien Martini was left shaken and stirred when he busted in fifth place for $107,752. His shove for 6.1 million was a huge one, but his move with pocket jacks was called by Phua with pocket kings and the Malaysian won the subsequent pot when the dramatic board of Q-J-T-5-9 presented Martini with a flopped set only for Phua to river the nut straight.

Out in fourth place for $146,370 was Daniel Negreanu and while Phua had got it in with the best hand to eliminate Martini, he took care of Kid Poker’s chances in fortunate fashion. Negreanu was all-in with pocket fives under the gun, and Phua called with pocket fours from the big blind. Negreanu, chasing his first bracelet since 2013 despite incredible success on the tour in the last nine years, was heartbroken to see a four on the flop ruin his chances of ending that run, falling three places short of glory.

Phua Claims Career ‘Highlight’ Victory

“This is the highlight of my poker career. I’m lucky enough that money doesn’t matter.”

No sooner had one poker legend been skittled was another on the rail. Shaun Deeb moved all-in from the button with ace-three of spades only for Phua to call with pocket sevens and the flop of 7-6-5 almost set Deeb dead in the water. After the queen turn and deuce river, it was all over for Deeb, who cashed for $205,566 who missed out on the chance of equalising Negreanu’s record of six bracelet wins.

Heads-up, Phua had a crushing lead, with four times the stack of Gab Yong Kim from South Korea. Kim’s 6.7 million was some way behind Phua’s 26.7 million chips and that proved pivotal almost immediately. A short time later, Kim was all-in for 8.6 million with king-nine and Phua called with ace-three, eight-high board to the turn completely safe and the ace on the river an unnecessary but pleasant pair to seal the deal and send the South Korean home with $298,163.

After winning the top prize of $482,433 and his first-ever bracelet, Phua said: “It’s a very different kind of feeling. You don’t get to do this all the time. Not often. I didn’t expect to win because there are so many players around. But the structure at the end is very short which suits players like me.”

Complemented by many for his growth of poker in terms of super high roller, Phua was positive on the effects of his efforts.

“In terms of growing the game, we founded Triton,” he said. “I want to run more special tournaments, bring more sponsors in and get money so we can put it back into the game and benefit the players. This is the highlight of my poker career. I’m lucky enough that money doesn’t matter. I just try to play my best, and try to be competitive against pros. You know, we don’t get to study every day.”

Phua credited his friends for helping his self-improvement over the last number of years playing the highest levels of the game.

“As I play more, I think I get a little bit better and have a better chance,” he said. “I have a bunch of great friends you know. I would like to thank all of my supporters and friends. I think the older generations support me more because they like to see the older guys beat the young guys!”

Paul Phua has proven that age is no barrier to achieving your dreams in poker, the game we all love.

WSOP Europe Event #8 $25,000 NLHE High Roller Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Paul Phua Malaysia $482,433
2nd Gab Yong Kim South Korea $298,163
3rd Shaun Deeb United States $205,566
4th Daniel Negreanu Canada $146,370
5th Julien Martini France $107,752
6th Ben Heath United Kingdom $82,104
7th Wayne Heung Hong Kong $64,835
8th Eelis Parssinen Finland $53,129
9th Espen Jorstad Norway $45,242

 

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro GambleOnline.co about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virginia and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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