Last night, David Pham aka “The Dragon” captured his first World Series of Poker gold ring after overcoming a field of 705 entries at the WSOP Los Angeles Circuit Main Event at the Bicycle Hotel and Casino. This was Pham’s second big victory in a span of ten days sending his total live tournament earnings beyond US$10 Million. Pham earned US$216,790 and a seat worth US$10,000 to the invitational 2018 Global Casino Championship.
In WSOP.com “I’ve had a great last 10 days,” said Pham after his win. “I’m feeling great and I played very comfortable. Even now, up in my mind, I know I’m going to be right there. I’m feeling great for so long. I don’t rush my mind to win and I know that there are a lot of good, young players. Now, there are so many tough, young players and I feel like I’m up there with them.”
Prior to this victory, Pham was clearly up there. He rose above the enormous 984 field of the 2018 Wynn Spring Classic US$1600 No Limit Hold’em Championship in Las Vegas. He shipped in the lion’s share US$240,254 out of the hefty US$1.4 Million prize pool.
Another success for the Viet Kieu community in the live scene
At 51 years of age, Pham is one of the most respected poker pros having begun his career over two decades ago. Vietnamese-born naturalized American, he, like many other Viet Kieu, emigrated to the United States to begin a new life. While in America, he learned how to play poker from his cousin Men “The Master” Nguyen, and entered the Las Vegas scene in his mid-20s.
Through the years, Pham has built a very thick portfolio colored with consistent deep runs since 1998. He earned his first WSOP bracelet back in 2001 at the $2,000 S.H.O.E. event, won a second one in 2006 at the US$2,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout event, and gained his third last year at the US$1,500 No Limit Hold’em event.
Having seen the poker landscape change dramatically, Pham knows that to continue succeeding, he too needed to evolve. In WSOP.com he stated,
“I’ve been adjusting my game a lot,” said Pham. “A lot of people may not know. They think that David bluffs a lot, plays a lot of hands, but I adjust and change gears. I’ve been updating with all of the young guys. I have to figure out how to get to win again because there are a lot of good players. So, I change gears and mess with them a little bit. Not that I play tight, but I’m very sure that I’m tighter than I was 15 years ago.”
Pham is one of the most iconic figures of the Viet Kieu community that has been incredibly successful on the live poker circuit. At the WSOP alone, Men Nguyen’s 7 bracelets, Scotty Nguyen’s 5 bracelets, and Pham’s 3 bracelets, bring in a combined 15 gold straps.
In total live earnings, the numbers are astounding. Pham and Men are at US$10.5M with Scotty at nearly US$12M. All together, that’s roughly US33M earned. Despite flying under a different flag, these legendary figures illustrate how strong and successful Vietnamese players are in the live scene.
Final Table payouts
1st David Pham – $216,790
2nd Tom Braband – $134,145
3rd: Owen Crowe – $98,390
4th Nick Palma – $73,170
5th Kristy Arnett – $55,150
6th Adam Miller – $42,120
7th Adam Swan – $32,590
8th Martin Carnero – $25,550
9th Kevin Gimble – $20,285
Article by Triccia David