David Chiu is the latest WPT World Champion after he came from behind to beat Gus Hansen at the Bellagio. Chiu collected $3.38 million for his victory. If you don't know Chiu is a red FT pro from California, and he's a 4-time WSOP bracelet winner.
Check out BJ Nemeth's stellar final table recap.
In addition, here are the hand-for-hand updates of the final table (also with the recap).
And in case you were wondering who made the final table, here are some bios...
WPT World Championship: Final Table Bios
By BJ Nemeth
John Roveto, Sr.
2,720,000 in chips
John "Kicker" Roveto might have an unusual nickname for a poker player, but it works well for a guy who was placekicker for the NFL Chicago Bears from 1981-1983. So while the pressure of intense competition at the highest levels is nothing new to Roveto, this will be his first time playing poker up close in front of the TV cameras.
Roveto has a solid list of tournament cashes dating back to 2004, including six WSOP cashes and more than $400,000 in career earnings. He has only cashed in one previous WPT event, finishing 11th at the WPT Borgata Poker Classic earlier this year, earning $64,000. He will eclipse that figure today, as he is already guaranteed to win at least $263,000, with a shot at $3.3 million.
From my own hometown of Duluth, Georgia, Roveto has Atlanta poker pro Josh Arieh on his side, and Arieh will be in the stands rooting for Roveto today. Roveto is engaged and has three children, with another on the way.
8,570,000 in chips
Gus Hansen is one of the most accomplished players on the World Poker Tour. Perhaps the most accomplished.
Hansen (nickname: "The Great Dane") won the first-ever WPT event nearly six years ago, and became the first player with two WPT titles later in that first season -- making him one of only five players to win multiple WPT titles in a single season. In fact, those two victories made him the first-ever WPT Poker-Made Millionaire.
Hansen added another WPT title in Season II, making him the only player in history with three WPT titles. This is Hansen's seventh WPT final table, putting him in a tie for second in that category, behind Phil Ivey. Hansen has accumulated more than $2.3 million in career WPT earnings.
The biggest score of Hansen's career came when he won nearly $1.2 million in the 2007 Aussie Millions, a number he can improve today with even a second-place finish. Hansen has more than $5.41 million in worldwide tournament earnings, but he has had surprisingly little success in the World Series of Poker -- he has just two cashes in the WSOP, with another in the WSOP Europe (though all three cashes were in the championship event).
If that's not enough, Gus Hansen is the only poker player in history to be named to People's 50 Sexiest Men Alive list, an honor he earned in 2004.
Hansen is known for his loose style, where he is willing to see a flop with any two cards. This makes it difficult for other players to put him on a range of hands, making him a very risky opponent.
Gus Hansen definitely has the experience and tenacity to win this event, not to mention the chip lead. If Hansen were to win tonight, he would not only be the first player in history with four WPT titles, but he would pass Daniel Negreanu to take the top spot on the WPT all-time money list with more than $5.76 million.
6,050,000 in chips
David Chiu's poker career is nearly the opposite of Gus Hansen's -- most of Chiu's success has come outside of the World Poker Tour. While he has seven WPT cashes (earning $206,000), Chiu has reached just one WPT final table, finishing third in the Season I WPT Invitational.
Chiu has been one of the career leaders at the World Series of Poker since 1981, picking up 37 cashes, 15 final tables, and 4 WSOP bracelets. In his career, he has earned more than $2.8 million. However, as successful as he has been over the years, think about this -- if he wins this WPT World Championship, he will more than double his career earnings in one night.
Chiu was born in China and raised in the United States, and before he was a poker player he was a restaurant owner. Chiu is partially deaf, having lost 35% of his hearing at an early age. While some might see this as a setback, Chiu credits this with heightening his other senses, improving his ability to read other players at the poker table.
David Chiu is a tough, experienced player, and with the third-most chips entering the final table, a threat to win the title.
1,950,000 in chips
Nhan "Tommy" Le may not be a familiar name from the World Poker Tour, but poker success runs in his family -- he is the younger brother of WPT winner Nam Le. He is also close friends with Season III WPT World Champion Tuan Le, to the point where they (along with Nam) claim to be brothers. (Though as far as we can determine, no family connection exists, other than the shared last name.)
This is Le's first cash on the World Poker Tour, though he has three WSOP cashes, including a deep 79th place finish in last summer's WSOP Main Event, earning $106,000.
Nicknamed "Tommy Legend," the 26-year-old Le once proclaimed himself to be the "Phil Ivey of Home Games," a claim that his brother Nam was willing to endorse. In addition to Nam, Le also draws from the experience of Steve Sung and Season V Player of the Year J.C. Tran, who have been sweating him throughout the tournament. Steve Sung, who made two WPT final tables this season, actually picked Le to win this event back on Day 1.
6,670,000 in chips
It was only a year ago that Shane "Shaniac" Schleger called Cory Carroll the "greatest player you've never heard of." Shortly after that claim, Carroll won a WSOP Circuit championship and finished second at the WPT Mirage Poker Showdown. Now that he's reached the final table of the WPT World Championship, it's safe to say that everyone in poker should know the name Cory Carroll.
Carroll is just 25 years old, and got his start after wandering into a poker room about five years ago. This young Canadian went on to develop his poker skills online, where he's known as "UGOTPZD." Carroll is willing to see a lot of flops with a wide range of hands; combine that with the fact that he is second in chips, and he is the most likely candidate to mix it up with Gus Hansen at this final table. Carroll is probably a much bigger threat than Hansen realizes.
While Jonathan Little has already clinched the WPT Season VI Player of the Year award, it's interesting to note that with a first or second place finish here, Carroll will finish the season in second place on the POY leaderboard. Any finish of fourth place or higher will give him more than $1 million in career WPT earnings, which would make Carroll the latest WPT Poker-Made Millionaire.
1,305,000 in chips
Born and raised in Connecticut, Jeff King was a poker dealer for four years before making the transition to professional poker player, and he has earned more than $723,000 in his career.
The biggest score of King's career was a victory in a WSOP Circuit Championship in 2006, where he earned $345,000. King just missed another WSOP Circuit Championship final table two months later, finishing 11th. King has two prior cashes on the World Poker Tour, and three in the World Series of Poker. He made one WSOP final table in $5,000 Omaha Hi-Lo, where he finished seventh.
This won't be King's first time playing at a televised final table; he finished seventh in the 2006 U.S. Poker Championship in Atlantic City. While he has experience playing poker under the bright lights, this time the stakes are much, much higher. As the short stack, King said he is hoping to double up early to give himself a fighting chance for the title.
Like Tommy Le, Jeff King will have several experienced players backing him up -- former WPT winners Erick Lindgren, Gavin Smith, and Bill Edler are all expected to be on hand to cheer him to victory.
Editor's Note: According to BJ... "I mentioned that Josh Arieh would be there supporting John Roveto, and that Bill Edler would be there supporting Jeff King. But I never saw either of them at the actual final table. (They were listed as guests on the WPT bio sheets.) Erick Lindgren and Gavin Smith were there to sweat both Jeff King and David Chiu, and Daniel Negreanu showed up at some point and sat with them."
Thanks to BJ Nemeth for the stellar final table bios, coverage, and report. And congrats goes out to David Chiu!
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