Nail salon-owner Hung Le has never been much of a poker player, but that didn’t stop the 53-year-old from snagging the title in his first-ever World Series of Poker tournament. Le won the $888,888 first-place prize in a special eight-handed event ($888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold’em), after playing aggressively to make up for his lack of experience.
“It’s the only way I can beat that guy, he’s too good for me,” Le said of runner-up Michael Lech.
To win his first WSOP title, Le was up against greats like Loni Harwood (two-time WSOP bracelet winner) and Dimitar Danchev (2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champion). The final table was a rapid affair with the first five eliminations taking place in just 46 hands.
Danchev survived the mass-exodus, but ultimately was sent home in third-place after flopping a flush on an A♧, 8♧, 5♧, 2♤, 8♡ board. While his 9-high flush seemed to be the ticket, Lech managed a higher hand with his K♧, 7♧. Danchev won just shy of $300K as second runner-up.
Lech, a player with over $800,000 in online earnings, held three-times the number of chips as Le when heads-up play started, but the father of five was not discouraged. He quickly doubled-up when he four-bet shoved on a Q♧, 3♧. Lech called with A♤, 10♧ but wound up on the losing end of a K♢, 8♢, 6♤, 4♧, 3♡ board.
On what would be the last hand, the 101st of the final table, Le bet-called with a pair of twos on a board of A♢, 10♧, 4♢, 8♢. Lech’s Q♧, J♧ didn’t find a match and he went away with $401,888.
Le, a Vietnamese immigrant, described his family as lower middle-class.
“We have a nail salon, but not a big one. My wife and my two kids work there. This will help a lot,” he said of his pay day. “What happened for me today is what’s good about this game. Anybody can beat anybody. Anybody can have a chance, just like me.”
Final table results:
(Photo credit: World Series of Poker)
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